I am celebrating my last Christmas Eve with the people I love, for the next day I have to go away, never to return. I’m not for certain why I must leave, but in this dream that doesn’t seem to be my chief concern. What is important to me is being able to get to all of the significant people in my life and say goodbye to them, with only a few short hours to do so. They say that life happens when you’re making plans, so of course in my dream things start to fall apart and I become derailed from what I have to set out to do. I am running out of time. No more I love yous, no more goodbyes. I start to panic. All I really want is to see my Mother. Then all of a sudden…
I wake up, sweating profusely, anxious and filled with dread.
I mentioned this to a friend of mine while holiday shopping the other day. He pointed out that dreams are seldom literal. Most of the time they’re only your mind’s way of processing all of the little shit floating around in your head. Of course I know this, but still, it was unsettling.
I have come to the conclusion that this dream of mine is most likely one of those jacked up mind metaphors representing a bigger issue I have in my life. If I had to put money on it, that issue would be change.
And nothing shows off just how much things have changed in life than a good old-fashioned holiday get together.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the holidays are responsible for my hang up. I must confess I happen to love Christmas and all that it involves. How I love decorating and shopping. Even more I love the idea of tradition. I have spent many Christmas Eve’s and mornings with my “other” family, close friends that are such an important part of my life. Every year my best friend’s mother still pretends she’s Santa Claus and spends all night putting together stockings and presents for all of us “kids”. She’s crazy as hell, but I love her to death. I then spend Christmas Day with my parents, where we do the food thing, presents, and of course, more of the food thing. It’s just a fun filled 24 hours. I love being around these people. There’s just something about holiday togetherness that exudes love and goodwill for me.
Given all of that, why does this metaphor for not liking change have me so riled up, and why does it threaten to overshadow an otherwise festive time for me? I think I know the answer to that as well.
With every passing year, it gets harder and harder to keep the dream alive, so to speak. I mean, realistically, how long can a tradition really last? Everyone is or has started to move on. One day we will all be affected by time and space, which unfortunately can limit ones options. The older we get, the farther we drift away from what we used to have and be. Nothing lasts forever, right? And I’m sorry, but sometimes that concept just sucks. I miss not having my best friends near me on a regular basis, before we all got too busy or moved away. I miss not seeing my Mom and Dad everyday. Granted they only live fifteen minutes away, but that’s usually time already obligated to something else.
Yet, I have this dangling carrot. For one day, Christmas, I get all of these things I want, unencumbered. But that’s the catch, you see. You only get one day. And you find yourself thinking, “remember back when we could do this and that, before our lives CHANGED?” It’s depressing.
So yes. I have big issues with change, though it is inevitable. I just want more time to say and do the things I feel I have left to say and do. I want more time with the people in my life. Don’t we all?
This Christmas, in spite of these insecurities, I’m going to try really hard to let my heart be light again. I refuse to fall under the spell of negative thinking. I don’t want to waste my time longing for how things used to be. I would rather focus on the importance of today and that feeling of peace and love that this time of year is supposed to be about.
I resolve to make the most of this upcoming holiday season. I’m going to spend as much time as I can telling the people that populate this crazy, bleached blonde existence of mine how much I love them and how important they are to me. Though they may not be physically near me come next Christmas, they will always be a part of me. And no amount of time or space will ever change that.
Essential Download: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
Artisit: Judy Garland
Available On: Meet Me In St. Louis
Originally published in the December 2005 issue of The Empty Closet, New York State’s Oldest Continuously-Published GLBT Newspaper, published since 1973 by the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley.