"transformation is the business [and beauty] of winter."
Katherine May, Wintering
Here's a not-so-secret-secret: you aren't missing out by not doing ___________.
Especially if your doing so is the result of stepping away from an often preferred, more joy-filled season, in order to make space for one that requires rooted intention and often painful transitions.
What one season may promise, another seems to threaten.
As it turns out, and as you may have guessed by the topic's upbringing, 'tis isn't the season of promise for me (though I really wish it were).
In early August, a what "should" be feeling of excitement of the holidays started to wear on me as more of a dreadful dawning.
Like a cold shift was coming and there wasn't a sign of a fire place to keep warm by.
And while the statement "you aren't missing out" can be carried throughout the year, the focus in the next few moments will be centered around the holidays.
A time that is typically spent with others, when smiles are bright, the food is festive and the songs are merry.
Insert Kimber Clarification Here:
This isn't a bitch fit. This isn't to bust on people who are celebrating in full force.
Ya'll do what you need and want to do.
This is to affirm and redirect anyone who isn't (or wasn't) in the joyous season the calendar and shops show we should be in.
This also isn't me giving permission to anyone to take the steps needed - you don't need me or anyone to give any "okay" or thumbs up emoji.
It's rather a reminder.
One tied up with the words both + and, rather than an attempt to validate a space with "but".
We can want the glee.
We can await for the promise of seasonal pleasures in recipes and sing-songs.
We can listen for the hope spoken of this time of year.
We want to allow room for what simply isn't.
To not seek instant gratification as the solution to fill that void with something that can be bought for $10.
To leave an empty space voluntarily and work on accepting what comes with it.
There's a chance that a sense of failure could fall on us if it so happens we don't partake in popular festivities or "feel the feels" of the season.
You could be faced with a remark like:
Who cares what happened, who you lost, who you're not, where you're not, what you don't have: you should _______. -
To quote Dwight Schrute: False.
If you don't feel the feels, if you choose not to do "all the things":
You are not broken.
You are not irrelevant.
You are not spiteful.
You are not weak.
You are not bad.
You are not wrong.
How you celebrate or not is up to you.
Not up to tradition (though we love ourselves a good one).
Not up to marketing.
Not up to your judgmental neighbors.
I can't speak for everyone, so I'll do my best to continue sharing my heart in the capacity I'm able.
Maybe someone passed.
Maybe your close-knit circle of friends or family are small or non-existent (whether voluntarily so or not).
Maybe the thought of tinsel and feasts makes your eyes twitch.
Maybe you believe the way to feel good is to cover up any hurts with "bravery" and to just "get over it".
Whatever the circumstance, might I suggest we be cautious with the tendency to over think, dwell on or sit with the pain to a point of intentionally numbing ourselves or disassociating with what we do have in front of us --
To not rush past it all because the calendar, others' expectations or the decorative stores suggest you should. To not push it away because the feelings are "ugly" and therefore may seem invalid.
Though this season won't be filled with feasts, family gatherings, peppermint or pumpkin scents, winter decorum or mounds of gifts tied in string and wrapped in bows, it is a season where:
Smiles inhabit the same spaces as tears.
Laughter accompanies the doubt.
The warmth of loved ones is near in the chill cast by those who are not.
It's not going to be all holly and jolly, and it's also not going to be entirely dark and gloomy.
And not as dim for however long it seems right now.
You are here.
You are brave.
You are relevant - even when you don't line up with what you see happening around you.
Lets circle back to the FOMO thing before you go.
One of time's greatest thieves is the time you spend pondering if you've missed out on something better because you chose your present moment.
Especially when the present is dim and the desire outside our reach is glowing lights with promise of fulfillment.
Is it wrong to hope for better in the midst of the unpleasant?
But (yes I'm using but here), we're missing out on what is meant for us when we spend our energy thinking of where we could be instead of on where we are and how to process, connect and accept.
So how do I think we can be present in a season that defines joy and fullness in a way that we can't live out?
We can allow the gentle yet unnerving presence of pace when we feel the holidays push for more.
We can turn down the noise when the seasons' greetings get loud.
We can unsubscribe from the e-mails.
We can be mentally prepared when going to decked out stores, conversations or gatherings.
We can surround ourselves with those who know and love on us better then we know how to do ourselves, sometimes.
We can let go of the pressures to have more, do more or be more than we are able.
If 'tis isn't the season, you don't need permission for it not to be.
If 'tis isn't the season, you are no less of a person.
If 'tis isn't the season, the world will be here when your current season turns.
Right now it so happens to be a different season than anticipated; less pursued and a little colder.
I'm so proud of you for stepping into something that can feel so isolating, with the unspoken intention to come out the other side a little bit stronger, and a whole lot closer to knowing yourself better.
Swaying to acoustic tunes with tired eyes,