Have I ever said how much I HATE Christmas? I fucking hate it so much. It feels like I am in a cage with bars made of tinsel and baubles and meaningless obligations. I am having an actual suicidal meltdown over my inability to put the Christmas tree up because the trunk won’t go in the base we have and it keeps falling over. I’ve had to leave it for now, till someone can help me on Wednesday, but what a fucking joke that I’m reduced to such a state by something so utterly pointless. I just wanted to get something done. I’ve made it to the end of the really busy and hectic time at work so as my immune system turns down the hyperdrive I know I will get a cold, and it is so hard being the sole adult responsible for creating Christmas for a child – I don’t have any family to step in and help if I get sick or ease the load a little. I do hardly anything for Christmas, but short of not celebrating it at all I think this state I get in is kind of unavoidable because Christmas is just one big trauma trigger for me. Feeling completely overwhelmed is not caused by how much I have to do, it is caused by being invaded by the presence of a time that as a child was deeply stressful and traumatic. I know that, but why can I not set all that aside now I know what these feelings are caused by and just get on with it?
I so wanted things to be different this year. I wanted putting up the tree to be a pleasant experience for Nina. I deliberately waited till last week was out the way. I spent yesterday tidying and cleaning and grounding myself after Friday’s horror show and actually felt really quite peaceful by the evening, although still incredibly disturbed that so many people are cheering the fast rise in fascism in my country. The house felt ready to bring in extra things and we had the whole day to get the Christmas tree and decorate it and get everything looking pretty and hoover up the mess of needles and tinsel so I thought there would be no stress at all today. Wrong. My heart was racing really early on, even just thinking about going to the garden centre. When we got there, 45 minutes after opening time, it was already complete carnage there and hard to park and move around and find anything. I get triggered by the mindless consumption of pointless stuff at this time of year for obvious reasons (i.e. our consumption habits are driving the planet into a death spiral), but 2 days after the UK voted for a far-right government whose election campaign was sponsored by fossil fuel companies and who will do absolutely zero to mitigate and adapt to ecological breakdown, it was just too much to take.
We eventually got home with a tree and I made lunch (because even at Christmas when there is extra stuff that needs doing the relentless need to feed us both and clear up our dishes continues) and then tried to put the tree up but couldn’t because the trunk was too narrow for the stand. It was honestly so fucking frustrating. The sun was shining and instead of being outside somewhere peaceful and pretty I was stuck inside wrestling with a tree, needing help, but only having a 12 year old who was obviously nervous that I was about to lose my shit. I genuinely fucking hate myself for not being able to deal with stuff like that and do practical things like make wedges to make it fit. I really wanted to get it all done today. I wanted to make it nice for Nina – most of her friends have had decorations up for weeks. We haven’t got anything fun planned for Christmas. I hate all of it.
The only thing I’ve achieved today is putting up some fairy lights and cleaning out the rabbit hutch. Even though I am barely buying presents this year and am giving a big donation to the Trussell Trust instead, it still feels as though there is masses to do to get ready for Christmas. I have to go into town tomorrow before therapy to get some bits for Nina and I would honestly rather saw my own arm off. I can see how this time of year triggers so much in me for so many reasons. I already have too much to do and then have to add even more in when I am exhausted and overwhelmed. We have barely any family and so I feel so much pressure to make this time nice for Nina all by myself. And I hate that I shouted today and said f*** a lot about the lights and the tree. I want to be so much nicer and so much calmer than I am. I sometimes wonder if it would be nicer for Nina if I just said that we are not doing it at all anymore?
And I am shocked this year that it still reduces me to this when I have scaled back so much in recent years, after cutting contact with my mum and feeling more able to live in line with my values about not engaging in pointless consumption and consumerism. I am sending about 5 cards, I am posting presents only to my sister and her partner, I’m not cooking a meal for anyone important. In the grand scheme of things there is so little to do but it still feels like I am suffocating. I can feel this huge scream inside me and I just want to be living a different life where I can totally disengage with most of what this time of year brings and celebrate winter solstice on a beach with a small tribe of like-minded people. That life feels utterly out of reach though and the one I am living I hate. I don’t want a family because I cannot imagine a family that doesn’t cause stress and upset, but I wish I had an experience of having a family where that wasn’t the case and where having a family made life better (most of the time) instead of worse.