Tis’ the season for all things family, stress, and pie galore.
We lean into the cooler weather by unearthing our coats from the depths of our closets. We find ourselves brace for the awkward that is interacting with those we reserve communication just for the holidays. Tradition begs for our attention, which can also have a ripple effect into our skeletons neatly tucked away in our metaphorical closets.
The holidays reliably shift the narrative that floats throughout the therapy room. Old scars from past difficult experiences become irritated. Stress festers as the calling to give both vulnerably and materialistically slowly creeps upon us. Old conflictual interaction patterns begin to tug at our memories, and we find ourselves bracing for impact.
Fun fact, I hate conflict. I am wholeheartedly a lover not a fighter, despite what my feisty disposition may convey. Becoming a therapist only deepened my loathing for uncomfortable interactions, as I can empathize with many different versions of a story.
Many was the key word there. I am still very much human after all.
I have my own skeletons to tend to around this time of year. The heaviness behind the thump of my heart in my chest at the thought of them confirms their presence. They usually start peaking out from behind their hiding places at the first sightings of carved pumpkins and spooky Halloween movies. By this point, they’re wandering aimlessly within the crevasses of my thoughts. Sigh, pesky buggers.
Perhaps the holidays are oddly heavy because of the nostalgia the crisp cold air brings. We are reminded of our own unique ‘Neverlands’; the worlds that once existed but have since faded away. Memories of warmth and connection seep into the dark corners that are collecting cobwebs in our hearts. Stubbornly cemented narratives are highlighted, a lack of closure is aroused, and it’s just damn uncomfortable.
Sometimes, people lean into narratives that support fragile egos, threatened by the thoughts of embracing accountability.
Sometimes, our loved ones leave this world without a proper or well-timed farewell.
Sometimes, we face obstacles that seem unsurpassable because it takes all parties to wrestle through conflict.
So, as we lean into the thick of the holiday season, and find ourselves eating way too much pie, I want to leave you with some tid-bits to take with you:
It’s OK if your narrative does not match another. We cannot control the stories that others choose to tell themselves. Just because you play a ‘bad guy’ part in someone else’s story does not deem you a monster.
Always be kinder than we feel.
Accountability is an elixir for healing connections and conflictual interactions.
Don’t forget to nurture your soul as ‘Neverland’ tugs at your heart this festive holiday season and you yearn for the times your heart is grieving.
And last but not least, eat the damn pie.