Someone asked me the other day when exactly did I begin to hate Christmas?
I couldn’t quite place the precise date when the cheery, bubbly, naive child stopped believing in the magic
Five, seven, ten?
Who’s to say?
It happened all at once, the snow globe blown out of proportion and super-sized colored lightbulbs scorch and burn
I try but the sadness, maudlin and sorrow I am born
Lives in these bones, where marrow sits and blood oxygen flows
The neighborhood streets I stroll at night twinkle warmly while vanilla, clove and chocolate aroma fills the lungs I breathe deep
Are they happy I wonder? Are they okay? Are they loved?
I am at times
It’s not all Maloja Snake dense grey mist and menacing cloud banks creeping and winding under the skin
I know this to be true beyond the sleigh bells and frivolous gifts I’ll tuck away in some drawer for a later date soon forgotten
Later dates rarely come or never right on time
The sadness and tears well up in my eyes before I can manage a pretend smile
Half my heart belongs on the other side you see, and that I cannot fix
Time is moving too rapidly, I want to smash the clock
I greedily want to hurry past Christmas Day and the sad memories missing the magic pieces I can’t reclaim even seconds gone by
I am not afraid of death, not really
I welcome the quieting freedom and serenity of my orbs, the peace she’ll bring
Living with a serious mental illness there is no room for false niceties, unrealistic dreams, Santa Claus frosted cookies and cold milk in a crystal glass left on an end table
Who drinks the milk anyway, does it get tossed?
I die each time I lose my mind, bits and pieces gone forever, and missing memories I shan’t recover
The spirit gets discouraged, wants to quit, to scream fuck it
What exactly are you hoping for when the future is not a guarantee?
Being alive scares the shit out of me, it’s the goiter in my throat and sugar overload tummy ache
I am terrified of being alone
I am terrified of losing my Christmas people and the only ones I have needed
I am terrified peering through the white light wreathes, red ribbon bow glass panes filled with pretty, fresh linen tablecloth settings, red poinsettias, little ones smiling and dancing in plaid flannel PJs
I am terrified of shiny new-new families while I grow old
I hate Christmas
There, I said it
I hate Christmas because it’s the in your face reminder of the incredible luck I have been blessed with and the over-abundant love and over-bearing souls
A mother who cannot stay here forever, with me, a brother who challenges my every word and makes me fight hard, harder
For them, I am more than nobody
I am worthy
I’ve always been worth it no matter the mad hatter, nuttier than a fruit-bread, fruit-loaf, fruitcake (gross), or some idiot’s ignorant punchline I bear
There’s a tiny, rundown white house up the street where an elderly man lives.
His name is Ed, he doesn’t have any lights or decorations, or any visitors cars parked outside his door
Ed fell last winter, it was 10 degrees and I stayed with him, helped get him back into his car and to safety
He stopped me recently
I’d forgotten all about it and said, “hey, are you that Cioffa girl who helped last winter?”
I nodded and smiled, “no big deal.”
I am that Cioffa girl I thought to myself smiling proud
I don’t think Ed has anyone, and he really is HOME ALONE on Christmas.
When I’m presented with difficult, challenging, scary and uncomfortable situations which is often,
I always ask what would my father do?
I didn’t try to fight or hold back the river of tears because missing him and the crucial piece of my heart he holds, is misery.
I hate Christmas because nothing stays the same, and life moves forward exactly as it should
I cry, weep and let it spill onto the pillowcase as I close my weary eyes
I can see his beautiful smile, feel his goodness and understand he is here with me despite my doubts
Encompassing me in a safety bubble of the most spectacular pretty, plentiful colorful Christmas magic
“Go on you silly girl, you have everything
Bring Ed some cookies, your mother might get mad
But, it’s only pretend mad”
And that’s what we do in my home on the Eve of Christmas
We pretend smile and suddenly a baby’s giggles are infectious, and tiny flannel feet pitter-patter makes life less heavy and more manageable
Makes the magic real
I love the twinkle and sparkle of the lights, I will keep the starlight and the afterglow
As the reminder the magic lives in the light-hearted
To believe in the memories because they are timeless
No one can take away or live the miracles, they are yours good and bad
The miracle of Christmas is the the star stuff dust you are already
Christmas, I hate you a little more and a little less
This is my Christmas wish to the brokenhearted
I hope your slumber is serene and the day’s beating heart comes tender, sweet and steady
I hope the joy finds its way inside your heart, hearth and home