YOU can agree or disagree or agree to disagree with me, but there's a strange loneliness the holiday season incites that no one really talks about. Maybe it's the lights against the dark of night—the ones that look like little tears mockingly winking at you in their glistening little patterns. Perhaps it's the days themselves—where the moments of sunlight are actually so much shorter than they are the rest of the year, and the nights and darkness stretch on for a lifetime. Maybe it’s the rush of the holidays—hectic and chaotic moments that tumble over the other where people trip over their own busyness, occasionally stumbling into little pockets of quiet where one can’t help but feel empty.
Admit it—when you look around and see all the holiday spirit, there's a strange feeling in your gut that rumbles upward and leads to a pang somewhere in the middle of your chest—a few inches away from the region of the ribcage where science says your heart sits, unsettled.
It's curious how the months fly by so painstakingly slow throughout the year—somehow contradicting its very movements—and lead up to this certain "season to be jolly," when jolliness prances about in blatant opposition of how you actually feel. Tired. Cold. Alone.
Oh the holidays. The season to be jolly. Fa. La. La. Dee. Dah. I wonder who started it all. What person decided that the coldest and longest nights of the year should be ones of Yuletide celebration, Christmas cheer—a season to be jolly? He or she is probably either a genius or a total fool.
How can we run around finishing all the holiday paperwork, buying and wrapping all these holiday gifts, stuffing our faces with holiday eats—and not feel, somewhere deep in our souls, the eerie creeping of holiday gloom? It’s really weird, but I always wonder. Where does it come from? Does anyone else feel it? Am I alone in my loneliness?
Or, perhaps, I would like to explore the idea that maybe December really does bring about some sort of emotional retrogade and someone unwritten in history who felt it too decided that, yes, we must create some sort of facade of cheer and celebration. Get warmth from the cold by running about working. Stave loneliness away by surrounding yourself with loved ones. Cheer each other up by giving each other gifts. Fill that emptiness by stuffing yourself with a feast. Do everything that should make you happy—or, at least, pretend.
Pretend until we start believing that we are, in fact, jolly indeed. / Contributed article