Tim, who has become our resident guest post author, explains why he has always hated Christmas, New Year and some other days.
I have always hated Christmas and the New Year…
I also hate my birthday.
I hate some other days, too.
Let me try to explain why.
When I was a child, before I was a teenager – indeed, up to and including my thirteenth birthday, all in my life was, at least outwardly, rosy. I had the wonder of childhood, was mostly unmolested by the demons of puberty, I had a safe home (though I had what I imagined were the usual rows with my parents) and I felt happy when both festivals arrived. I was given presents, some quite wonderful, others mundane. All was right with my juvenile world. Well, probably, anyway.
Hmm, so that word ‘Always’ is a lie, then. Or, at least, not a deliberate lie so much as a failure to state the problem correctly.
You need a bit of background. It’s a bit self serving, but it may help you to understand me a little better.
Around eight weeks after my thirteenth birthday I was in a brand new school, all boys, a school paid for by my parents. I have an August birthday, so I have always been the very youngest in my year group. I was small, insignificant, the lowest of the low, finding my way around by making mistakes and being punished. This was 1965, a year like so many others, still with second world war attitudes, ideas and ethics; “Eat your greens” was one of those, despite their being boiled to within an inch of their life.
But I digress.
I was insecure, not sporty – the school adored and celebrated sporty boys – quite tiny, and not a small bit scaredy-cat. Oh, and puberty was playing a cruel joke on me, for I fell truly, madly, deeply in romantic love with another boy; actually a very ordinary boy, nine months and a smidgen older than I was. I mention this now for two reasons:
- This romantic attachment is germane to the story.
- Those of you who have some sort of moral objection to homosexuality may now stop reading until you have grown up a very great deal. Perhaps you need to talk to a counsellor, but you probably won’t hear what they say.
I was besotted with the brat. We were friends, he and I, which sort of helped, or helped a bit.
Where my parents stated that they loved me, clearly enough we were not a tactile family, and there was never any overt affection. My problem was that puberty had shown me I was. We didn’t say ‘gay’ back then, we said ‘Queer’ or ‘Poof’ or ‘Pervert’ or worse. So, I was ‘One of those‘. We said the nasty slurs in Capital Letters; I recall saying them too. I did not wish to be different, and I despised myself for it.
But that is not why I hate the festivals that others love, and nor is this a treatise about my unwished for and unwilling homosexuality. Even so, that state is relevant. Because of it, and my attitude to myself and in not a small amount because of society’s attitudes at the time, I made some weird choices that were logical to teenage me.
I shall compress what I did next. Every Christmas, every Valentine’s day, every his birthday, but not every my birthday – I sent him a card. In the anonymous Valentine’s cards I expressed my love, the signed ones, no. Innocent, stupid teenage-angst stuff.
I expect it’s dawning on you that (we’ll call him John, for that is his name, and is common enough not to identify him) John was unaware of my adoration. None of my puppy-dog adoration was returned, nor acknowledged. I was busy getting a PhD in unrequited love; lust, too, truth to tell.
“Do get on!” I hear you as I write this.
It’s ridiculously simple. Most things are.
Every Birthday, his and mine, every Christmas, every Valentine’s day, despite my wishing with all my heart for a sign, ideally that he also loved me (unlikely!), but that he did not, would not, could not, nothing came. Despite his importance to me, I was of no importance to him.
Wishing, and doing so every year, actually since 1965, but doing nothing to make the wish reality ensured that I hurt myself badly and harmed my enjoyment of my own birthday, of Christmas, and of New Year.
That’s how many years of wishing fruitlessly?
Which brings me to you.
I’ve spent a lifetime realising that wishing for something, however hard I wished, without doing something about it, has been the act of a very silly person. I had this discovery thrust upon me by good friends. I was not entirely grateful at the time. I worked on it and worked it out in the end. I have caused my own harm, and it has been substantial emotional harm.
Now I know what the problem is, I find it is too late to get any form of closure. John, for his own reasons, chooses not to communicate with me. I fear I may have caused that when I was a teenager, but it’s his set of decisions that have him where he is, just as it’s my set of decisions that have me where I am. If he’s in pain, I can’t solve that for him, in the same way that he cannot solve my pain for me.
I still hate those anniversaries.
But today I know why.
I hate them less nowadays, and next time they come around I will hate them less still. I am realising that I am in charge; mainly, of my own life, my own feelings.
Ah yes, where do you fit into this weird tale?
Well, do you have certain anniversaries that you hate, are afraid of, hide away from?
If you want to stop their having so much power over you, tell us a little about them in the comments. It will absolutely not ‘cure’ the problem, but, what it will do, is to start to help you to heal them. Every time you let someone know about them – they have a little less power over you, or, really, you remove some of the power you have given them over you.
So, maybe not this year, maybe not next year, but soon, you will be able to face those anniversaries on a more level ground. One day you will find you don’t hate them at all.
And if you think that’s a load of trite balderdash, then I dare you to prove it wrong by doing it!
But, what if it works?
Yup, you’ll have to find something else to depress you.
People sometimes ask why I contribute to Bob Brotchie’s site as a guest contributor. The answer is because I have been helped by other people, some directly, others by their writing stuff that I read. I listen to advice. I weigh it up, and I accept or reject it with a good heart once I am sure I understand it. But the most important thing for me, deep inside, is to pay help forward.
I was quite a bit better this Christmas, this New Year, the last ‘John’s Birthday’, my last birthday. Now I know why, now I’m certain, I wanted to pay that forward in case thinking about it helps you.