I can hardly believe it is December and that I haven’t written since September. 2017 a year of beginnings has gone by so quickly and yet I feel so much change. Today I brought home my Christmas tree for this season and excitedly decorated it. This is my second big tree that’s all mine. Decorating the Christmas tree has been a favorite holiday activity of mine since I was little. There were times when it brought angst or anxiety, but I come back to it as a favorite because of the connections. As kids, this was a night my whole family would come together – my sister and brother and I each had special ornaments we would hang, there was yummy food, and either holiday music or a movie on in the background. We were connected as a family on this night. As our family aged and changed, I found that I was the one that most cared about this tradition. Until recently, it was painful because I was so attached to the way it was instead of being present in the way it is. I felt sad that my siblings weren’t around or made the time when I still went home to decorate with Mom and Dad. Last year I took a leap and got my first full-sized one. Part of me kept telling myself I needed to wait until I had someone to share the holiday with, that just me wasn’t enough of a reason to get a big tree. I learned that I was withholding a connection with myself. Last year was majorly uncomfortable, but this year there was more ease to it. And as I basked in the sensations of decorating I noticed the connections with many of the ornaments on my tree. Some are from when I was a kid, some old from when my parents were kids, some my Grandpa made, some from a friend (by far my favorite is an Ebola virus ornament a friend made me – yes she’s weird and I love it!), some gifts, and a handful I bought myself like a glitter triceratops – I mean who doesn’t want one of those? The connections are all to the stories behind each ornament, and putting them up every year I reconnect with the people in those stories; and I can also see how I am in myself and how I have changed. Now decorating my Christmas tree is taking on a new meaning of connecting and reflecting and presence. I feel myself, my tribe, and Spirit – my tree has brought me back to the sacred Spirit of the holidays.
There was a time when I thought we’d be forever. When we were in the beginning. Shiny. New. We were the moon and the stars and neither of us could do wrong. Then, like most love stories, the glow faded, and the fog of routine set in. We bumped into one another’s bad habits, tripping on triggers. At first we laughed as we learned more of each other, wrapping ourselves safely in the fog. The safety grew so comfortable that I showed you to the room that held the cellar door to my dungeon. I showed you because my soul knew you were the key to unlocking this door to my underworld. Your tall masculine power penetrated my walls and the alchemy of us fit the lock that had always been stuck before. Click my dungeon opened with the smell of cold musty air. Slowly I descended the ladder, and you stayed at the door shining a light. I felt scared and lost and tried pulling our love tether to get you to follow. You refused, firmly planting your feet and staying at the door. I shouted up to you to describe these pains in my soul. You couldn’t listen. You heard me, but you didn’t listen to me. So I returned to old habits – fixing you – telling you to face your demons. Yet, I did this through more shouts from below fore once I descended, I didn’t know how to climb out.
You grew weary of the shouts and asked for them to stop. For our fights to be less frequent. You began to build your walls back up, higher and higher, occasionally knocking a brick into my dungeon. I tried to hold them for a time, but I had to set them down. Sometimes you peaked out from your wall, but seeing me shrouded in darkness and slipped back behind it.Then. You simply sealed the bricks of your wall to ensure your fear of abandonment boulder stayed firmly in place. And, you left.
First I cried at the pain of our love tether snapping, then I snarled at you for leaving. I briefly climbed out of my dungeon to see if you’d come back. You didn’t and I didn’t want you to. I took a lantern and went back down the stairs to explore the dusty corners of my midnight dungeon. This time with intention. I found a woman in one of the back corners, wearing a burlap sack, shackled to the wall, stuck in tar, and moaning apologies. It took time to see her. Even more to get to know her and gain her trust. I’ve taken several trips between my dungeon and the rest of my inner house, and made the stairs easier to move on, and showed this dark woman that I will come visit and listen to her. That she is apart of me and I will voice her pain. She’s not shackled to the wall anymore, and I know I don’t have live in this dungeon with her, only to visit as needed.
As I ascended the stairs and looked at some of our remnants, cleaning up the pieces of the walls that you left. I found a mirror amongst the debris. I looked at the reflection with a gasp. You left. Just like I left myself. Hated myself. Judged myself. You even said the words – the things in your dungeon could take you away from me – oh that hurt so bad. And now I see. You reflected back to me the part of me I refused to accept. You were my dark mirror. And so I sat – mirror in hand and cried. I finally said the words I needed to hear most – ‘I forgive myself for the misunderstanding that my darkness meant there was something wrong with me.’
Now, bit by bit, the sticky black tar pit that lay in the depths of my soul can swirl into Divine light. You are not here anymore. We are not forever, yet the alchemical magic of us will forever affect me. And I am grateful.