Around the Thanksgiving/Christmas time of year, everyone puts on their “oh my gosh I don’t want the relatives to see how much of a mess my life is” face. Or is it just me? Anyways, everyone gets insanely happy and filled with holiday spirit–and you know, I can understand that. I love this time of year myself. But the thing about the holidays, at least how I’ve seen it, is that it’s a time where society looks down on you if you’re not a hundred percent happy with life. “YOU’RE SAD? YOU’RE NOT THANKFUL.” It feels frustrating. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, I try to force myself to be happy all the time. It feels guilty to be anything but full of joy. I’m a privileged suburban kid who can’t fit all the Thanksgiving on her plate at one time.
So at the start of November (that’s about when everyone starts getting holiday-crazy), I try to force myself to be happy all the time. It must look pathetic to any outsider, the things I do to attempt to accomplish this.
“No. Feel. Happy. Feel. Happy.”
“No dessert until you get happy.”
“You’re listening to this sappy dance music on repeat until it makes you happy.”
Then everyone’s like “oh, you’re just not thinking about the things you’re thankful for. Be more grateful, Abigail.” I am grateful. Honestly, I acknowledge that I don’t have a reason to feel sad any of the time, and I’m probably better off than most of the people in the world. I am grateful. It’s frustrating how little people actually understand.
I end up feeling bitter toward people who seem overly cheery. When I feel sad, everyone around me seems like a spinning blur of smiles and love and roses. It’s like they’re all mocking me. Then I start wishing that those people could take all their happiness somewhere else, but then I realize that’s selfish of me.
These are the three responses I’ve been getting:
- “Stay strong! It gets better! It’s going to be okay! I love you! God loves you! Everyone loves you!”
- “Well, just make yourself happy then.”
- “You’re choosing sadness. Shame on you. Condemnation. You want attention and pity.”
Not exactly worded like that, but that’s how it feels being received. Is there anybody, anybody at all, who can just stop and at least make an effort to understand me?
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Merry beginning-of-Christmas. I promise I’ll write something more grateful and cheery tomorrow. I try.