So, we are to nurture ourselves.
Nurtured people are effective people, the author says.
I am almost ashamed to write this, but there are no presents under the Christmas tree for me, nor will there be. We’ve decided not to exchange gifts this year. The focus should be on the kids, he reminds me. I feel guilty for feeling an emptiness when I look at Christmas tree each morning.
This will be the first Christmas I do not receive a gift.
The author suggests that nurturing may include buying ourselves gifts. And I get that that is important. But it’s Christmas time, a time when people are encouraged to express their feelings for others through gift giving. And so, Christmas seems extra lonely this year.
I’ve been asked for my address but no Christmas cards have arrived. And now he and I are not exchanging gifts.
He will be gifted many things by his family and children. I sometimes wonder if he understands the loneliness I feel from the spotlight he’s under. “It is what it is,” he likes to say. And yet that seems like a curt dismissal of any chance at discussing how I feel.
But if given a chance, would I? Probably not.
You see, I am tired of being called a jealous person. A controlling person. A crazy woman, evil and manipulative. And if I were to find my voice and say, “Why not me, too?” I’m terrified of what the response may be. I’m tired of feeling stupid, and what’s more stupid than an adult feeling bad about not receiving a Christmas present?
Last night, after a very long and difficult day, I told him that I could not wait for Christmas to be over. And that’s true. I enjoy the decorations, the change in seasons, and the festivities, but this Christmas just isn’t the same. It’s lonely.
As he looks forward to spending two days with his children and having Christmas with them here at our home, then taking his kids to Virginia to see his family the following weekend, I’m wondering where my place is. My children are 3,000 miles away. I will not see them for Christmas. I will not get to see them open the presents I sent them weeks ago.
The last Christmas morning I spent with them, I was very sick–deliriously so–so that while I had the wherewithal to go sit on the couch and watch them open gifts, I cannot say I remember a single thing about that last holiday together. The next day, I spent in the immediate care with him. A week later, my now ex-husband learned of my affair. And my life as I knew it came crashing down in bits and pieces soon after.
I do not know how to nurture myself at Christmas time. And perhaps that’s my own hang-up–I do not think I should have to. Not this time of year. Just this one day, can someone else nurture me?
But I suppose that in order to grow, I need to realize that even now, even in this loneliness, I am the only one responsible for me. I either succumb to it, or I find a way to ease the feelings of isolation, hurt, and longing.
It’s been said that every man sleeps alone. Perhaps we celebrate Christmas alone, too. It’s not so much whether you’re surrounded by family or friends. It’s the experience of the season and if and how you do that is entirely up to you.