I've been listening to Christmas music for a solid month now, and I've come to one very important realization: there are only actually about six Christmas songs and all of the good ones were written before 1962 (except for "Christmas Eve in Sarajevo," but that's okay because that one just replaced the super rape-y "Baby It's Cold Outside" so it's an even swap). And my all time favorite song is "O Holy Night." To be fair, "O Holy Night" doesn't really hold up the same way "Carol of the Bells" does, but it has one solitary, beautiful line in it that helps it secure the number one spot: "A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices/For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."
"The weary world rejoices."
Y'all, let me tell you. I am weary this year.
2017 has, without a doubt, not been my year. Rehashing the myriad of ways people and circumstances have clobbered me this year isn't really the point, so let's just suffice it to say that I won't be sorry to see the back of 2017 in a week. I am tired all the way to my bones. Too often this year I was in survival mode--I was in "just get through this day" mode. I survived, but with far less grace and dignity than I would've liked. I suppose we can't have everything.
And also--I don't think it's a coincidence that this douche of a year coincided with Trump's first year in office. That guy ruins everything.
I woke up Christmas Eve after a fitful night sleep, eyes a little red from crying, chest tight, stomach knotted. It wasn't how I would have chosen to start my holiday. But as the year draws to a close, I'm forced to look around, accept that this is where I am, and start focusing on where I want to go. I'm weary and a little broken, but I'm ready to pick up the pieces and move forward. I've been spinning in place for too long. I've put off doing things that are hard, but that I know are right. I tried too hard to mend things that couldn't be mended, to please people who simply can never be pleased, and to live up to expectations that weren't my own. I've tried too hard to be who someone else wanted me to be, as a result, I failed both myself and them. 2017 definitely has brought me to my knees.
And that's what Christmas reminds me of--that's why I celebrate--because sometimes we need a reminder that we can be tired and still find joy. I'm not religious, so the reason for the season around here is family; hope in darkness; rejoicing in weariness. It's a lesson worth learning for me this year. Even in our darkest moments, there is light. There is hope that life can start all over again. That we can be better, stronger, and more resilient. It hasn't been an easy year, but it hasn't won. I'm still here, maybe a little bruised and battered, but whole and looking forward.
Some day I hope I can look back at 2017 and appreciate some of the good that happened because even in my current mindset, I see so much beauty. I spent a week in Birmingham with one of my all-time favorite students and watched her rise to tenth in the nation. I spent two weeks in Italy with my husband. I reconnected with friends that I'd missed too much. I survived.
I'm still here.
I'm weary, but I'm ready.