нow was your Cнrιѕтмαѕ?
The words echoed into my ears even before they left my co-workers mouth.
I instinctively have enough experience with avoidance and deflection to get a jump on her question.
By appearing busy and having enough ‘questions’ and data of my own; I was able to layer my question on top of hers seemingly without a noticeable pause.
I understand that I could just answer like everyone else does, with the obligatory, “Fine, thanks how was yours?”
However, being the Infp personality type that I am, mixed in with the now
Mom of a substance use disorder adult child -that I must keep hidden in order to avoid the sigma of judgement- I just can’t seem to gloss over small talk with fake clichë answers.
It doesn’t help that I work in a culture of very religious young adults who mostly all meet the criteria for (our) societal expectation of school, college, church missions, marraige, & service; leaving zero time for sinning, let alone drug use.
I’m not saying everyone else has perfect lives, I’m not that naive. I know they don’t, but in my world of constant daily strife and worry, it’s so incredibly hard to think any differently.
When I hear their stories of how their weekends went, I have to inwardly laugh at the comparison of my akward -seemingly co- dependant- obsession with whether my son is alive one more day.
“I went on a fun first date, I really like him, but I’m trying not to show it, ya know?”
“Oh really? Well I spent all night Saturday worrying that my 34 yr old son had overdosed by sticking a needle in his cyst- filled arm, while being homeless with no where to go.”
Do you see my hesitation in engaging in ANY personal small talk? It’s like a Friday night sitcom that’s so true it isn’t even funny.
I mean the average person wouldn’t get it, let alone a twenty- something giddy, college and love focused zoobie. Yes that’s what we used to call the locals who were hard core religious worshippers.
I’m NOT bashing my religion. I still draw great comfort in my relationship with my higher power. I just don’t go to church and temple and abstain from ALL alcohol etc. The demographic I work with are very limited in their views and tolerance if you will.
So I go about my day, in a sortof secrecy. Truthfully, almost no one, except my bosses, know anything about my personal life.
I’ve always been a little quiet in that regard. Loyal, private, not engaging in office gossip. But the last 2 years have pushed me further into that lonely hole. The space that a select few – growing by the day, I think- unwillingly are members of.
So, Christmas. What does one do for Christmas, when everyone is actively planning family parties and gifts to each other?
You do what you can to feel a sense of normalcy. You try to not let the other kids feel slighted. You fake it until you make it and by making it I mean to FIND something, anything to be grateful for.
I have started to realize how detrimental to my health and even my appearance, my constant worrying is causing. Recently I actually started combing my hair and find the oh so familiar knot- yes KNOT!!! In the same spot. I realized that I ALWAYS end up putting my hair in a braid because I don’t have the endorphins/ dopamine / whatever you want to call it to give a damn.
To think I haven’t even combed completely through my hair in who knows how long, is very telling.
Gʀᴇᴀᴛғᴜʟʟɴᴇꜱꜱ ꜱʜᴀᴛᴛᴇʀꜱ ᴇxᴘᴇᴄᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴꜱ.
My new years resolution is to find something every day, every hour if I have to, to be grateful for. And when someone asks me how my holidays went, I’m going to smile and say, “Better than I deserve,” just like Dave Ramsey does.