Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday. It’s historically been a pretty tough time for me, even though I’ve worked on Christmas day just about every year since I was 21. It’s really just another day, and I know that probably doesn’t sit well with a lot of people, but to each his own, right? I’m afforded an opinion, thanks to the great U.S. of A.
My roommate put up a Christmas tree a few weeks ago. This secretly made me happy. The smells and sights of Christmas take me back to being a kid, and immediately remind me of my mom. She was the one who ‘made Christmas’ for the family. I can almost hear the music box in my head as I type this. This will be our 5th Christmas without her, and the void is still there. I could put up a million Christmas trees, and buy a thousand presents to put underneath them, and the hole wouldn’t fill up. I hate Christmas.
Losing a loved one is never easy, no matter what kind of relationship you have with them. Losing my mom was the best/worst thing that ever happened to me. Before you think I’m the most horrible person in the world, just hear me out.
I was 29 when my mom died. I was a mess, and had no clue what direction I was headed. I was living in a ski town, working ski patrol in the winter, and 4 jobs in the off season. I was continuously searching for acceptance from men, putting myself in some of the most destructive relationships of my lifetime. I didn’t know who I was, or what I wanted to be. I thought I was an ‘adult’, but when she passed away I realized I was still a child. I still had a lot of growing up to do.
From 2010-2013 I lived in the house I was raised in with my father, brother, and nephew. We all had to adjust to life without her. Christmas in 2010 was hard. In fact, I don’t actually remember it at all. I don’t remember a lot from the first few months after she passed away, because I spent most of it chemically sedated and emotionally absent. Did we even have a tree? Hell, I have no idea.
I buried myself in my work. I was working as an EMT on the ambulance, while putting myself through paramedic school. I didn’t really do anything else, but of course, I didn’t have time to do anything else while I was in school. I managed to get myself in another emotionally draining relationship, because I needed to find someone to love me back. He did for a little while, but it crumbled to pieces as fast as it started.
When I made the decision to spread my proverbial wings, and fly out of the nest (again), I chose Asheville. I felt like 32 was gonna be my year, and Asheville would be my city. I thought I knew who I was… but life still had a few lessons to teach me. 2013 proved to be just as hard as 2010. I loved, lost, and managed to find myself balled up in the corner, crying for my mommy. I wanted to go back in time. I turned 33 in the midst of an emotional fog, and was certain I’d never be the same again.
Eventually, with a lot of help from various places, I gained the emotional and physical strength to move forward. I had been in the 2nd most destructive place in my life, and quickly realized I had to put myself back together on my own. Mom couldn’t help me anymore. But what I learned…what I learned was life changing.
I am a 34 year-old, independent, mentally tough, amazing woman. I know what I want in life, and I will be damned if you’re gonna stop me from achieving it. I’ve realized the world doesn’t owe me anything, so I can’t stop hustling. I have an amazing group of acquaintances, and a solid pack of close friends. I’ve learned how to take care of others without losing parts of myself. I realize I’m important, too. I’m worthy. I’m strong. I will not let you break me down. I make my own rules, and I will not bend them for anyone. I give when I can, and I’ve learned to accept when you want to help me. I now realize everyone has a reason for doing what they do, and it can sometimes hurt others without meaning to. I know everyone is fighting their own battle, and I try to be sympathetic to that. I will not wait for you, though, because I’m on MY journey now. I’m ok with sleeping alone in my bed, because let’s face it…IT’S SO MUCH BETTER. I enjoy my alone time, because I’m not afraid of being alone anymore. I’ve learned how to love myself, by myself, and embrace this earth and all that’s in it…good or bad.
2015 will be my year. Wait for it. I’m about to blow the lid off this bitch. (Thanks mom).