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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Survival Guide to your Heartbroken Holidays
I woke up early. Had I even slept? My parents were here to share the holiday my family, including our three young children.
After opening presents and trying to smile nice for the camera, I can only recall that I somehow lost my mind.
I became obsessed with finding the Other Woman (OW) and letting her know that she had ruined my Christmas. I got into my husband's car and began driving to her part of town. I didn't know her address, only an intersection. So I cruised. And sobbed. And cruised and sobbed.
Eventually, I gave up and came home. Where I sobbed some more.
My husband and parents had been, of course, frantic.
My kids were confused.
And I? Well, I was sobbing. And reeling from the shock of my life.
So I'm hardly in any position to be offering up advice on how to handle the holidays...when your heart is breaking.
Except that I can at least offer up lessons. You know those things we learn from extreme suffering:
Lesson #1: Give up on traditions. Maybe the holidays in your house involve an elaborate gingerbread decorating event, followed by a family skate and hot chocolate. If you can pull it off, go for it. But many BWC members remember that any attempt to do "what we always did" simply magnified the one BIG difference this time around. Perhaps it's time to create some new traditions, like make voo-doo daddy dolls. Or beat the daddy-shaped piñata. Maybe a gingerbread home-wrecker? Seriously, this might be the year to implement the holiday movie marathon (Black Christmas, perhaps?). Give it some serious thought – and only commit to events and activities that you can handle. Give yourself the gift of peace.
Lesson #2: Peace is not to be found at the bottom of the punch bowl. Trust me on that one. A happy drunk can make merry. A sloppy bitter drunk just makes Mary, Larry and Harry cringe. (And remember, too, if you're hardly eating a thing, have lost weight and aren't sleeping, alcohol will hit you hard.)
Lesson #3: Look forward, not back. Sure it's tradition to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the one to come. But nostalgia is often dishonest.
Take stock of where you are right now – even if that happens to be in a smelly bathrobe rummaging through the drawers for a sleep aid. This is NOT where you'll be in a year. It might not even be where you'll be in a month (fingers crossed). So face forward and march into your future – whatever it is – with a trust in yourself that you will handle this the best you can.