It’s that time of year.
The jingle bells jing
The sleigh bells ring
the choir sings,
It’s the most wonderful time of the year,
the hap-hap-happiest season of all.
Except when it isn’t.
For many this is the season that the grey clouds roll in or as I like to describe it,
the grey companion stops by for a visit.
I haven’t seen her yet this year but I sense a chill in the air.
She is close.
So I prepare.
This year, I have claimed December as my own.
My December, I am calling it.
Full of the practices that I need to be whole.
Art, writing, reading aloud
Questions, ponderings, and wonderings.
Digging deep, I am clearing out a storm shelter of sorts
A place to ride out the waves that are building in the distance
If I am lucky, they will pass right over me.
Then again, if I am lucky, I will have another chance to dance with the grey companion.
What’s that you say?
How is that I can call it lucky to face another struggle with depression?
The grey companion is part of me. She is me. If I wish her away, I lose part of myself that I’ve always known. She is familiar and each visit she teaches me so much about myself. Familiar feels like home. I welcome familiar.
2014 has been the year of losing.
I lost my mom.
My mother-in-law lost her independence thus we lost her home when it sold this past summer.
It was essentially confirmed that I’ve lost my relationship with my step-mother when she sold my father’s home without telling us. No chance to say goodbye, to have a final visit. My own home doesn’t even feel familiar right now.
It feels like I have lost home and all sense of who I am within those homes. I’ve lost the roles that I play. For all intents and purposes, I am not someone’s daughter any more. All of this loss has shifted who I am in the world. I feel a bit unfamiliar to myself. It has been more than unsettling.
Something familiar to navigate doesn’t seem daunting at all. I’d welcome that. As I would with any visitor, I am preparing, getting ready.
That means this month is focused on self care, on nourishing and nurturing my body, mind, and soul. It means that I am somewhat unavailable to my family. Holiday celebrations haven’t been canceled and I am not opting out. I just have released myself from the pressure of performing and I am feeling no guilt about that.
No Guilt December includes hours at the table with my art journal, eating off paper plates, and naps in the nest of pillows on my bed. It means taking just one of my children to see a movie, not showing up to planned events, delegating tasks that I would normally do. I am taking this month to let the meals be simple, to schedule a fitness guide session with the Y, and I think I will make an appointment for a massage.
During December I will not try to solve problems. I won’t be the fixer. I will gift myself the time and space to properly grieve my mother’s passing. Let the anger and sadness boil over and just let it be. I won’t worry about not being there for others. No guilt.
I am ending 2014 in the way I want 2015 and beyond to be. I won’t apologize for how selfish it seems. That is a warped view. What others define as self care and self preservation, I have seen as self-centric. It is time for that to stop. I am purging that thought this month by proclaiming no guilt.
“Feel no guilt. Getting married and giving birth does not mean that you have sold your life away to perfectly healthy people who can get their own damn socks.” ― Jennifer Crusie
Cynthia Lee is on a quest to reclaim her soul, to dig her bones up from the earth, to sing life into the skeleton woman. On the cusp of Cronehood, she is redefining herself through the process of intuitive art and writing. Follow her into the wild at JustCynthia.com