Friday, 26 December 2014

The Christmas Spirit

Christmas spirit was lacking around these here parts for a long time. At first I thought that it was because I'd been so ill in Marrakech (I was off work for the week after returning home because I was still a super sick person) so I forced myself out once I was feeling steady on my legs and went to buy a tree.

I would love a real tree but I'm also short on space, as well as cash, so I parted with £15 of my hard earned cash and handed it over to Tesco in exchange for a rather lovely specimen.

I dutifully decorated it and plugged in the fairy lights. I lit the Christmas scented candle. I brought out my Christmas mugs. I sent out cards. I wrapped presents. I even put tinsel around the gerbilarium.

But it wouldn't materialise for me.

(I even joined in Char's Blogger Secret Santa in the hope that I would soon start to feel that Christmassy tingle all the way to my fingers and my toes. I packaged everything up (inadvertently being very trendy with my brown paper and baker's twine) and sent it off before I went to Marrakech so I hit Char's posting deadline of 8th December.

The package I sent off is pictured below. My parcel is still MIA at the time of writing.)

Eventually I realised that it wasn't ever going to make an appearance.

I was just too sad.

I have mostly been fine since the break-up and have done a pretty good job at holding my shit together. But sometimes everything falls apart and then I run through the usual cycle - getting mad at myself for feeling sad, telling myself to get over it, telling myself that there are people with real problems, etc etc before eventually reaching a place where I say to myself, "You know what? It's only been 3 months. You're allowed to still feel a little bit shitty, especially at Christmas."

Christmas is a funny one really. There is so much pressure for it to be perfect and happy. There's no room for feeling a bit off. You have to spend it with people and you have to love every single second of it and isn't it brilliant and marvellous?

The closer Christmas got and the more shrill people got asking me if I was feeling festive, the more I started a slowly slide into complete panic mode. I'm not truly, deep down, happy at the moment. I absolutely have moments of awesomeness and brilliance, but in my core, I am so sad and so lonely and that just started to get magnified.

I reverted back to the weeks after the break-up when I would come in from a day of being completely normal at work and just sit and cry for no reason. I had another near meltdown in Tesco. I left drinks with work friends early because I kept having to go to the toilet because I was convinced I was going to break down in tears.

I could not keep my shit together any longer.

I didn't want to spend Christmas with anyone, I didn't want to see anyone. I just really really really wanted to be on my own.

But at Christmas you can't say that to anyone so I plastered a smile on my face, took a deep breath and plunged headfirst into a day of festiveness and happiness with family.

I opened presents. Awesome presents actually. Maybe it was just because I felt so crappy about the day that I was so overjoyed with anything that happened that was vaguely nice? Maybe it was because my family felt a little bit sorry for me this Christmas? Maybe Father Christmas took pity on me and figured I deserved a break.

I'm not one for 'haul' posts *cringes* but the above photo shows just how well my family know me. (How jealous are you of my Famous Five Annual? VERY.) I feel like the Tetris light is a sign that I need to pull my finger out and get on with the Tetris blanket though...

I ate food, I drank champagne, I toasted Christmas, I watched TV, I played family games, I laughed around the table. I did all the Christmas things and I got through the past couple of days, even though my body did what it tends to do when confronted with a difficult emotional time and want to sleep. All the time. Luckily that's socially acceptable at Christmas.

Less socially acceptable was my decision to come back to my flat on Boxing Day late afternoon to spend an evening alone. That decision did not go down well with either sister or mother but given that I'm about to take Mum to Hull and won't return until Monday I decided I was allowed some time to myself.

It's not about sitting at home and moping and feeling sorry for myself you know. It's not as if I'm sat here crying to myself about how my life got completely annihilated a few months ago. It's just that when I'm on my own I can sit here and feel relaxed because I don't have to pretend that I'm fine when I'm not. And I feel pretty sure that there were quite a few of us out there who felt like that this Christmas so high five to us for getting through it.


And because I don't want to be whiny you may now enjoy some pictures of the animals at Christmas...

Note Blinky "joining in" at Christmas a.k.a. sitting as far away from everyone as possible and with her back to the room. 


  1. Jess, I remember the break up with my ex boyfriend happened at the end of a November and I was a mess over Christmas, I remember the constant feeling of sadness and the pressure to be cheerful when the break up happened out of nowhere. It is ok to feel like you do. I never know if you get my comments or not but please know if I can help in any way, like sending you spontaneous postcards or anything, just let me know, just know you are cared about and it is ok not to feel festive.

    by the way, I AM so jealous of that annual it is untrue!BUT I'm reading Claudine at At Claires right now, having found my childhood copy on my sister's shelf. x

  2. Love the teapot! It is rubbish and sometimes the Joy! Joy! Joy! Of Christmas only serves to emphasis the surrounding sadness. It's tough, sometimes, but you'll come back up. I look forward to more of your words in 2015 and hope that it holds many bloggable (and unbloggable) moments of fun for you.

  3. Loving the Hull mug and festive photos of dogs are always a hit with me. I did exactly what I wanted for Christmas this year and stayed in my own house and didn't rush around trying to see family. Sometimes we know what is best and time alone isn't always a bad thing.

  4. I would have loved some time alone this Christmas to be not ok. But I don't live a life that allows that. People don't want you to not be ok but if you don't have time alone to be not ok you can't be ok. I feel I've not been able to recharge the fake smile.
    Sending hugs and hoping next year is better for us all x

  5. Christmas is such a difficult time - for more people than we realise for one reason or another. My theory is that everyone is so busy putting a brave face on and being extra cheery, that everyone else feels that other people are so bloody happy and *they* have to make more of an effort to be festive ... and it becomes a vicious circle?

    I remember after my November breakup a few years ago, I decided to go to visit my friend in London the weekend before Christmas - big mistake! I just about held myself together all through drunken Christmas parties, Oxford Street and Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park - it was only when she was saying goodbye and said, "Have a good Christmas!" that I burst into tears - I think she regretted it before the words had even left her mouth because I blatantly wasn't going to! Anyway, my point is that I forced myself to be festive and it was a huge mistake and you've got the right idea by giving yourself some space to just decompress for a while.

    Onwards and upwards, it'll soon be a new year full of promise and all that, loads to look forward to xx

    P.S. I totally saw that Tetris lamp somewhere on the internet and thought of you straight away - so glad someone else did too!

  6. Darn it, I wish I knew that you could get 'ull mugs and Famous Five annuals. Hmm I shall have to investigate. Leaving the UK and being hundreds, thousands of miles away from what I always knew as Christmas, it changed everything about how I felt about it. But then I think, maybe it's just because I grew up, I worked in retail and that killed off some more of the love for the season. I guess I still want Christmas to have that super magical quality when you're a kid and I get sad that it doesn't feel that way any more. Now it feels more like homesickness and shedding tears a little too much more than I like to mention, and in fact I feel like I can't really mention it to people because it's not what people want to hear. So I keep it a little to myself and try and carry on with a smile, or a wannabee smile.

    To be honest, I spent most of Christmas cross stitching, binge watching stuff on netflix lol.

  7. You absolutely have the right to feel shitty. I remember the feelings you talk about here only too well, I just wanted to be alone at Christmas, the forced happiness was just too much. You did the right thing in taking some time out - there is only so long you can keep up the pretence. You've been doing so well since that Tuesday, you're allowed to still be hurting, to still be working through it. 13 years is a long time, you can't be expected to recover over night.
    Sending best wishes and kind thoughts your way x

  8. Ps. Talking about my last single Christmas, not the one just gone. Just clarifying as it would sound really odd otherwise!

  9. I'm sorry you are feeling this way. It is completey normal though. 13 years is a long time plus christmas is extra stressy anyway. Take your time and allow yourself time to cry.
    On the up side you had lovely presents. My Little Lady had the Famous Five annual too from one of my aunties. I can't wait to read it *ahem* to it to her......obviously ;)


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