The end of the year is a time for reflection. Writers tend to compile a list of books read and share some of the highlights and favorites. I hope to do that in a week or so. For now I want to focus on something different, something I don’t talk about often in my personal life but end up sharing a bit in my writer life for the sake of awareness and de-stigmatization: my mental health.
For the past few years I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety, going on and off medication. I’m currently in an okay place. Not perfect but I’m managing with the help of magnesium and inositol and I plan to discuss my anxiety at my next doctor visit.
Why mention this now? The answer is partly in the above: I don’t know how long I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety. I’m sure it’s been a year, or two. But it could be three.
I also have no clue when things turned around.
I want to say it was some time this year, but I’m not sure. It could have been this summer. Or was it last? Perhaps the fact that I can’t answer this question means I’m struggling more than I think. I don’t know. When I look back beyond the past few months they grow fuzzy. Time is speeding by, my growing son reminds me of this daily, and the days blend together. The when and the where and the how long gets lost somewhere along the way.
Good things have happened this year. I think. I had to look up dates to verify that my latest book contract came this year. And I am currently in the editing cave working hard on getting this novel ready for publication! Which is great and wonderful and extremely daunting. That’s the highs and lows of writing. And I’m able to handle it. The joy of my words is not robbed from me, and I’m even able to work a little on the parts of writing that is hardest on my mental health: the marketing side.
Without time stamps I can’t tell you for sure what’s happened this year vs last, with the exception of the last few months and more noteworthy moments. It’s been a long year. And the political environment doesn’t help, and I know it’s been a very long year for many of us, amidst any joys and sorrows.
I’m grateful to be feeling better. Not perfect, not yet, but better. Recovery while life continues, the world is on fire, the family needs you, jobs, ambitions, everything, is increasingly difficult.
I want to take a few moments during the holidays to breathe and enjoy my family. But as always, the holidays breeze past in a flash. Chanukah is over, Christmas is almost here, and there is still so much left to be done in 2018. Before I know it the New Year will be here and I’ll be back to trying to figure out what things happened when, as time continues to speed past and everything blurs together.
This did not begin on such a melancholy note, and yet it appears to be the way things grew. And I’m okay with that. This time of year has so much pressure to be happy and enjoy, but everything happens on top of our daily requirements and all that joy is squeezed between moments of panic and chaos. And still those moments are precious. I haven’t been up to baking lately, not that I ever was much of a baker to begin with. But I’ve told my son we should make cookies on Friday and I’m keeping it in my mind so I can be prepared to do so with him.
Baby steps. Small moments. Time will continue to fly past. Life demands won’t quit. Mental health may be lurking in the shadows, trying to let bygones be bygones.
What’s the saying? Life is what happens when you were busy making other plans. I think that is definitely true.
I do hope this year has been good to you, my readers. And I hope to get the timeline of my life aligned once again. I do know my creative juices are flowing and I have four books desperate for my attention, and two others that deserve it. So, yes, next year is almost here. And I think it will be a good one. I think, I’m not positive but I think, I will be starting it out on a healthier mental state. And that is reason to celebrate.
Over the weekend my husband and I watched The Christmas Chronicles. Husband had started it earlier and thought it to be a typical cliché Christmas movie, but Kurt Russell added a nice new spin to it. So we settled down to watch.
And I eventually stopped watching after the movie inadvertently (or intentionally) insulted me.
Let’s start with the basics here, because just about every Christmas movie ever is guilty of this: the outside view of the street on Christmas Eve. Every single house will be decorated for the holiday, sans the one house where the Christmas spirit is lacking. While I’m sure there are neighborhoods similar to this, let’s call out the elephant in the room:
Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas!
On a normal street there is bound to be a house or two that doesn’t celebrate, or only puts up a reef, or will be going to family so doesn’t bother putting up decorations. But, this is a Christmas movie, so we go for the full on cheer, and by default disrespect every non Christmas celebrating person out there.
But, this is normal, we’ve come to accept this from Christmas movies (not holiday, let’s be perfectly clear because no other holidays exist, unless you’re watching Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, so holiday movies doesn’t apply). So let’s jump to the next issue:
Christmas must be saved or everyone will suffer!
Here’s a wild thought, how about saving Christmas for those that celebrate it? Because while I may celebrate Christmas with my husband as an adult, Santa never made a dent on my holiday celebrations as a child. (Except for that feeling of being small and insignificant because my holiday didn’t matter.) My parents purchased my Chanukah gifts, end of story.
Back to this movie. At one point, while the kids are starting to work together with Santa to save the day, he mentions how bad things happen when Christmas is ruined. For example, the dark ages.
Hold up a moment! Let’s ignore the fact that we’re blaming the dark ages on Santa having a bad day. We’re now saying that no other religions matter. That no one who doesn’t celebrate Christmas matters.
I will be the first to admit that the majority of people, at least in my country, celebrate Christmas. But there are people like me that celebrate Chanukah. There are people who celebrate Kwanza, or the Chinese New Year, or nothing at all. Or even another holiday that I’m not immediately thinking of, and my apologies for excluding you as I know it sucks to be excluded. These Christmas movies forget about us. Ignore us. And in the case of The Christmas Chronicles—insult our existence.
Just once I’d like to see a movie incorporate us into their cheer. Heck, Santa’s having a bad day, why not have a bunch of non-Christmas celebrators save the day? Because the rest of you are already celebrating or rushing around for last minutes gifts and treats. We’re the ones with not much to do.
This is why every year I say I’m going to write a Chanukah story. This is why this year I happen to have a solid concept outlined and even though I won’t have the chance to work on it for a few months, I’m going to work on it. And if I wrote screenplays, you can bet I’d be working on one of those. But I also know that regardless of the validity of my complaints, my ability to sell this novel will be challenging. Because the majority celebrates Christmas, to the point where they don’t see those of us who don’t. To the point where heaven forbid we say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
I digress. This movie insulted me and I started playing with my phone rather than watching, because the end all of Christmas dominating our world left the taste of bile in my mouth. To be clear, the movie did seem like a cute, cliché, typical Christmas movie, and Kurt Russell did seem to have a fun time in this role. But the wording, the acknowledgement, needed a lot of work.
I exist. And even though I now celebrate both, even though my kid celebrates both, he still is taken aback by how little Chanukah is represented.
Write your Christmas books and movies, please don’t stop. But keep in mind the rest of us and maybe toss us a little holiday cheer while you are at it. Because while you all are ringing bells and caroling and hanging lights, we sit in the dark corner feeling small, ignored and forgotten.
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