NOW we can all start celebrating Christmas!

Originally posted on November 29, 2009 at 7:15 PM

Last night I decorated inside, and today Kyle and I put up lights outside. It really took me back to my childhood, with my dad cursing grumpily about the strands that were fine until he’d already wrapped them around the column or whatever and then go out. Find the loose bulb! And of course, you have to match up the male and female ends of the strands ahead of time if you don’t go in order, assuring at least one “redo” per project. Ah, the holiday spirit.

A lot of people spend an inordinate amount of time trying to be happy. They read self-help books, do things that are supposed to make them happy, seek out particular people, jobs, etc. They take medicines, go to shrinks, try to puzzle out what’s wrong. Why aren’t they happy? Call me crazy, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not being happy. I mean, if you’re never happy, that’s a different story that probably does need treatment of some kind, but just because you’re not predominantly happy doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It just means the world demands an unrealistic degree of happiness.

There’s a lot to be happy and sad about for me these days. I’m incredibly stressed, and I still feel overwhelmed by grief sometimes. But I also have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot that does make me happy. Sometimes it’s hard bouncing back and forth, but I’ve decided that I’d rather do that than ignore them both and be numb all of the time. Numb’s okay too, by the way. Sometimes. Like when your wedding is three weeks away, you miss your dad, and you have too much to do to look forward to fun all of the time. Numb is good.

But putting up lights made me happy in a melancholy way. I (maybe due to being a poet?) have a knack for enjoying “negative” emotions as well. I can find a certain type of joy in being sad. Bittersweet, perhaps, to have fond memories of my dad, but that’s better than all bad ones. Or no memories at all. So when Kyle dropped a fairly shocking string of obscenities when he realized he’d flipped a strand and stapled it up, I could only smile. I was cursing under my breath, too, at the stupid metal stakes along the sidewalk, and hadn’t realized how funny it was until he did it too. I mean, it’s not really Christmas until someone drops the F-bomb.

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