I woke up on Christmas Eve and spent most of the day fighting – with myself. Each time I felt myself start to get sad I thought, “No, just fight through it,” and I’d shake it off, refusing to break down.
But then 8 PM rolled around and after the tiniest incident triggered an emotional outburst that left me crying on my mom’s bathroom floor, I decided to hightail it home. I’d lost the fight.
I crawled into bed to hide under the covers and there I stayed until Christmas came and went. I didn’t exchange gifts. I didn’t see my family. Instead, I slept, I cried and I thought (because where would my depression be without that dreaded thinking?)
And I read. I practically devoured Immaculée Ilibagiza’s Left to Tell. I wanted to jump into somebody else’s pain to forget about my own. But it wasn’t just the atrocities committed during the Rwandan genocide that filled those pages; it was also about Immaculée’s amazing ability to hold onto her faith and forgive those who had betrayed and murdered her family.
Now if she could forgive the seemingly unforgivable, why was I having such a difficult time forgiving myself? Why wasn’t I able to let go of what happened?
Yesterday, I got dressed and ready to join the rest of civilization. I marched right over to church in the hopes that I could sit in silence in The House That God Built, but it was closed.
(Btw, isn’t church supposed to be a 24/7 institution?? What if I was having an existential crisis?! Then again, God could've been punishing me for being a no-show at Jesus’ bday party.)
So I walked to the park and sat there for an hour thinking of everything and nothing in particular. A nice man actually stopped to talk to me for a bit and told me things would be ok. (Yes, I looked that sad – in every sense of the word.) I started tearing up all over again when he said, “God bless you” and walked away.
But Christmas spirit wasn’t completely lost on me. Two weeks ago, my sis and I made plans to take our parents to see Christmas: The Musical (more popularly known as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular). So yesterday we headed down to see the show, which was great, made me wish I were a 6-foot-tall high-kicking tap dancer and made me smile for a while.
But it also made me feel a bit guilty for missing it all the day before.