Monday, November 26, 2018

Bah Humbug

I hate Christmas. There, I said it.

I. Hate. Christmas.

I know, you love Christmas. The masses of you who had your trees up the day after Thanksgiving; lights twinkling away for passersby on the street. You love to shop for just the perfect thing. You play your Christmas music with such joy. All you want is to share your joy of the season with others.

Don't try it with me.

Christmas is nothing but triggers and panic and shame.

I understand, as a Christian, I should find this a celebratory time.

Nope. Nope. Doesn't quite work that way.

Oh, I can hear it now… I'm missing the point. I'm too self-centered. If I can't think of someone other than myself at this time of year, what good am I?

"It's not about you, Marisa."

I know. Truly.

I have 2 good Christmas memories. One was my 8th year, and yes, it was the gifts I received… not simply because I loved them but mostly because they'd been painstakingly handmade by Mum & Dad. The idea that handmade items are special because of the love in their creation is something I've believed my whole life. They were tangible expressions of something I craved to the exhaustion of everyone around me. Playing with raggedy ann was as good as the rare hug. The wood of the doll cradle reminded me that my hard working Dad had love enough to take the time and effort to make something for me. The cradle kept me company when he'd be away for a month or more.

The other good memory is the only time the kids and I ever surprised Charlie. That's a story for another day.

Not a lot of Christmas cheer for 49 years of living.

Too much of the holiday is cloaked in a suffocating blanket of shame. Not enough. Not grateful enough, not good enough, not considerate enough, not quiet enough, not reverent enough, crappy gifts, too needy of attention, and somehow not enough and too damned much all at the same time.

I was never able to give anyone around me the joy I wanted them to feel because it's hard to give something you don't have.

Never giving what was wanted. And I don't just mean gifts.

And let's not forget the sheer number of times I ruined something by just being me.

Never enough. Too much. Entirely unable to find a neutral zone between the two.

Honestly thought I could give the kids enough good memories they'd cover over those of my childhood.

I can be so naive.

Pretty sure they're just as fucked up by it all as I am.

I'm sorry will never be enough.

There are fleeting moments, usually in a song, where I feel for a moment or two that joy that's otherwise so lacking. But then the song ends… or becomes an ear worm that entirely sucks the spark of joy right out of existence.

Yes, I'm a Grinch. My heart is 2 sizes too small at Christmas.

Sure, maybe I should let myself off the hook. It's also possible it's barbed and I wouldn't survive the extraction.

Better not chance it.

Thinking a little less emotionally, there are other good memories. Less Christmas Day moments but rather events of the season. Family moments with Charlie and the kids and grandkids.
Still, the visceral reaction to Christmas remains unchanged.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Begin again... Again


Went to the All Saints Day mass tonight. It's the first time I've been to Mass since the end of September, just before everything fell to pieces.

Father Joseph wrapped me in a rocking back and forth, happy bear hug and reminded me I'm loved. Not going to lie, I can't remember the last time someone in a position of church leadership suggested I was loved with an attitude that matched the words.

After mass, he reminded me to call if I ever have need. I haven't known him long enough for him to have an understanding of my very complicated relationship with pastors and church leaders in general… but he knows enough to know I don't let people in. I'm sure he saw the flash of fear in my eyes at the offer.

Told him I'm learning to reach out again and will learn to pick up the phone too.

For now, the words of support are enough and I'm grateful for the gift.


I truly miss sitting at a traditional keyboard, headset in and rocking out to Classic Rock while I write. Writing on my phone is tremendously awkward but I can use voice to text. That's going to take getting used to.

I did try it last year and managed maybe two or three Tumblr posts that way before I stopped trying.

Today marks my second day of journaling this way and I like the idea of not having rules for it. There are no expectations other than to write.

I'll transfer things to the blog as I'm up to it. There will be no pressure. No shoulds. No expectation. Fortunately, it probably has no actual followers anymore and I can drop the pressure of trying to impress with my words. It can be enough to get it out of the cat 5 storm in my head.

I don't know, a lot of my blogging days were encouraged by those who read and commented. The interaction and the encouragement helped me to continue on. There was a small village in that blogging community and within that village I had a tribe.

That tribe is still there. Some on Twitter, some on Facebook, some on Instagram but they are still out there. We've just sort of scattered to different villages.

It may be that longing for things to be as they were is part of what's gotten in the way of writing now. While in the hospital and in talking with my new therapist and friends I'm finding that simply speaking what's in my heart is helping. I don't need to recreate the same village, or always rely on the same tribe.

Maybe over time it will be possible to add new family to the tribe that exists. I have seen that happen a lot on Facebook with l long time diary friends getting to know lifelong, offline friends and family. Watching those relationships grow is a privilege and a joy.

I don't want to be a leader. I hate the idea of leading. When I was in the position of leadership as the admin for the diary site it didn't take long to spin into another major depressive episode. Leading worship always ended the same way. Same as lead admin of a blogging site. Even in radio, the pressure of being an… example to others always spun me out. The idea of being nothing and a burden and more trouble than I'm worth would push me to self sabotage and falling apart.

I don't exactly know why or what specifically triggers it but until I understand it learn to break patterns, being in a leadership position is not what I want.

That said, my role as Mom, to anyone who wants or needs one, and Grandma and Survivor and minor Twitter influencer continues to show that I lead whether I want to or not.

Writing has kept me going most of my life. When I started writing stories and keeping a journal at 14, filling those pages with everything that was happening in my head helped to keep my feet on the ground. Helped me hold onto reality.

The last 4 years since I completely stopped writing at all beyond tweets, it has become habit to not express anything. Since Charlie’s passing, I don't talk to anybody.

Not talking to someone about the stuff swirling around in my head. If I'm honest, I didn't talk to Charlie much about things in his last couple of years. We knew he was dying, though we pretended not to and no one wanted to burden him further. Really, it's no wonder the cheese slipped completely off my cracker.

Talking to my phone is a new thing. I've used voice to text before but to log things, chronicle things. To speak to this phone as if it is my diary is a weird thing. But all new things seem strange and different until we get used to them. I think I can get used to this.


Reading over my earlier post, I honestly don't remember it being today. One of the frustrating things… the absolute most frustrating thing right now is feeling like I'm not entirely here.

It's a combination of changing medications, physical and emotional exhaustion, and trying to give the Crew space to be again.

It's more than that. I have worked so hard over the last few years to blunt anything I don't consider to be a light-hearted emotion. You can't live like that. I don't know where the expectation comes from other than always knowing that, for most people… specific people... I feel too deeply, express too much. I'm too open, too blunt, too raw, too honest, too loud, too silly, too irreverent, too visible, too needy... Too. Much.

Shutting myself down makes me more acceptable. So I believe... but it comes at a cost that is more than I can afford anymore.

When all the humans in the household are away for any length of time during the day, the seven dogs do whatever it is they do now we've mostly convinced them not to eat the house. When we get home though, more than 400 lb of dog tries to burst through the front door at once to barrel into all of us and demand our attention.

When I no longer have the strength to pretend everything is okay, to keep all those “too much” emotions hidden away and denied, they come tearing through my skull like 500 lb of dog ready to trample me.

It's no wonder I'm confused.


Sitting down with Father Joseph tomorrow. Might even talk with him about more than theology.