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.