Have a good holiday everyone. So many thanks for reading along, commenting, or being a fellow blogger. All happiness and love to you.
I got my tree up yesterday as you can see. I’m pretty happy with it. I do love a Christmas tree, despite my struggles with the season. The lights in the branches do remind me of stars in the woods, as they are meant to, and that feels calming and good.
I’m feeling OK. I decided not to attend the big family Christmas which seems to be a good decision for me. I never enjoy them and going pulls me right down into a bunch of childhood stuff, added to some weird current interpersonal dynamics. Too much sorrow denied. Or something.
Yesterday I invited a friend over for a quick dinner and then the ‘midnight mass’ service held at 7 pm. There was basically a blizzard going on when it was time to leave for the church but we bravely persevered. For me, the service was lovely – mostly readings and a lot of carols. I like to sing out as much as I can, even though they’re pitched maybe a little high for my comfort. I don’t know if it was my singing, or what, but my friend did not enjoy the service, so I was a bit sad about that. However, overall, it was fine. I don’t get the lasting damage from friends that I do from family.
Today I went to my 12 step Christmas dinner. It was OK. I had offered to bring green beans, coffee and cream, which I duly delivered. There was a meeting in the afternoon, then dinner. The meeting had the holiday theme of gratefulness – we went around speaking about what we were grateful for. Not a bad practice at all. For some reason I did feel very awkward and out of place though – you know that feeling of regret – wait, I don’t know these people, not sure I like them much, what am I doing here in a church basement instead of with people I love. So at the meeting my mood took a nosedive, and I just had to sit and tolerate the anxiety of having made a wrong choice to attend.
After there was no one I felt drawn to talk to and vice versa. Awkward, as there was time to kill before dinner was served. I ended up mucking about a bit with helping in the kitchen, heating the dish I’d brought. At least I had something to do.
Once dinner got going, I started to feel better. I lucked into sitting with some women who were nice and chatty, so once I’d had a few conversations and some pretty decent food I started to feel better. The dinner wasn’t this wonderful experience for me, contrary to what others had been saying about it. And yet, it was fine. No strange dynamics, and some community spirit. A meal shared with others.
I think my difficulty comes from the social anxiety I go through that makes it hard for me to socialize. Then I act awkward, and don’t make a good impression. Not that these folks are judgemental, but everyone judges all the time at the level of – do I want to engage with this person or not? Are they worth my time? Then my small talk gets kind of forced, so conversation with me feels awkward, and the whole thing can get very awkward. I think on top of the usual stress of it being Christmas, this social anxiety made it difficult.
One funny thing happened. A young Chinese student came in halfway through the meeting. He shared at the very end. I’m pretty sure he had no idea this was a 12 step meeting. He said he’d just arrived in the country the previous week, and he’d been wondering about Christmas so had come to a church, and thanked us for being kind and showing him Christmas.
Everyone in the meeting assumes he’s an ACA, and of course are welcoming. He goes on to participate in the dinner after. I wonder if he ever realized that churches don’t really have discussion meetings and then turkey dinner for anyone who cares to drop by – that this was a particular group event. He spoke some English but not a whole lot so likely he never realized this.
I thought it was kind of funny. Here he is, brand new to the country and alone, wandering around, and suddenly boom, he’s in the middle of Christmas dinner with kind companions in this new country. Really, that’s what Christmas should be like. Dinners to be shared by all who need one in a spirit of acceptance.