Post Holiday Me: Unplugged

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holidayI sat down to write, and all my brain could muster was, “what could you even write about?”
I could write about how the holidays are over and, thanks to antidepressants, this has been my best post-holiday season yet. I put away the tree, stockings, and sentimental annual ornaments this year with nary a sad stomach pang to be found. This is huge for me.

I could write about how sometimes anxiety feels heavy, omnipresent, like a storm cloud. My worries are as real to me as the barometric pressure plummeting before the rain. What makes me anxious? Mass violence, crowds, malls, movie theaters, schools, church. Child abuse. Anyone hurting my girls. Somedays, I can see the storm clouds from a new vantage point, like when you’re far away, and the sky is divided—calm and clear where you stand and then boldly black and dark beyond you. I don’t feel so heavy, then. I feel like I could take my girls to the movies. I feel like even in sadness; God is good and present and holding us.

I could write about how I’m pretty sure I drink too much. Or did. Then I stopped. Then I did again during the holidays, but not because I wanted to. Now I’ve stopped again. I see new wrinkles on my face. It seems the big sick touches everyone. I struggled with fertility. I threw away my Teflon pans. I scan any treat from my mother-in-law for artificial dyes and discreetly throw it away as quickly as possible. I started one million and three supplements, but after extensive research, I can confirm that I have no idea what I’m taking. I threw away our candles. Then I threw away the oil diffusers. Now I cut oranges and sprinkle bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon sticks for stovetop potpourri.

In my heart of hearts, I long for another baby. But then, some nights, I am not sure I am giving enough of myself to either girl I have. How do I ever give them enough? Enough hugs, enough active listening, enough eye contact, enough patience, enough good night snuggles that aren’t rushed and fraying at the edges with tomorrow’s worries. How will I ever be enough for them? …Or enough for me?

I don’t know the first thing about marriage, except that I’m in it. I’m committed. And every year, I know less. Except you keep showing up. It’s confusing because you have these individual dreams, but suddenly you’re a team, and there are compromises. Oops, not compromises, ‘agreements,’ our counselor told us. But sometimes you’re left making agreements with someone you’re not even sure you like very much because they haven’t loaded the dishwasher since 2019. But you know you’re not perfect either. I mean, look at you. You drink too much and practically sweat visible beads of anxiety.

Will you ever find the self-discipline to write your novel? You know that one dream, outside of kids, that keeps you up at night. Will you ever reach your potential? Will you ever be enough for you? This life—so small and ordinary, but also breathtakingly magic—how can you not bathe in the ‘enoughness’ of it? You’re positively drowning in more than enough for any one soul.

So, yeah, what could I possibly write about? What could I share? Not this frank disclosure of the background track in my head all day. But then again, maybe it’s your background track too. Or maybe there’s at least a note or a line you recognize from your own track. Maybe there’s an incredible chorus to be shared when we all bare our own individual haunting tune.

Here’s what I can confirm: writing this now, I am lighter in spite of these dark winter days.

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