With the winter break approaching rapidly, we are unable to escape the looming arrival of the holiday season. For some, such festivities are enticing, promising warmth and a sense of belonging as a light in the harsh and cold Canadian winter. The scent of pine wafting through hallways bathed under golden lights, the hurried anticipation of a thousand overheating bodies under down jackets crammed together in line before Christmas Eve. The energy of the season is truly incomparable to that of any other, a common feeling of ease runs through the veins of all as they are finally allowed to rest.
Of course, no fantastical moment of happiness is all pure in its form, many feel very differently during the holiday season. The waning sound of Christmas jingles through the streets may in fact cause some great distress. The truth is, not everyone holds the same special memories of the holidays that are fed to us like fast food through the media. And to those people I say: it’s ok.
It’s ok that your memories are not all those of joy, just like it was ok to not know what to say in class when the teacher asked other children how great their Christmas’s were. In fact, it’s valid to not participate in any festivities hailing from any culture, religion, or societal consumerist pressure that you may feel you must adhere to.
Your feelings of unease are justified if the memories you have are bathed in darkness instead of LEDs and the glow of a hearth. Walking through the streets during the holidays when you feel low can make you feel like you’re in the midst of some grand movie being filmed where the set is focused on the happiness of all others and never yourself.
On New Year’s Eve, the loneliness can be deafening, intoxicating even. In a room full of people with hearts beating, screaming the countdown while it streams through a flatscreen, you still feel alone. The drink in your glass becoming less of a commodity and more of a necessity. And those streets again, although now lined with the drunken hazy nights of a thousand ecstatic bodies no longer feel as empty as they once did the night of Christmas Eve.
Know that you are not alone. Many out there are familiar with the holiday blues. Above all comparison, remember to be kind to yourself. Know your limits and surround yourself with people that can respect them. In the presence of a thousand contemptuous bodies, one may never feel any companionship. In the presence of one loving soul, one may find their way home. Be kind to yourself this holiday season and remember that you can be your own safe place.
By Maia Fukuyama