Monday, January 01, 2007

Holidays are over

Hooray. And bah, humbug.

If I may say it bluntly, I truly hate the holiday season. And not because I'm one of these "keep the Christ in Christmas"- or "Jesus is the reason for the season"-types who gets disgusted with all the consumerism, etc.

No ... it's simply that the holiday season is depressing. It's the time of the year when the loneliness truly HITS me. I'm not close to my birth family (though I haven't been disowned or anything like that). I do not have a family of my own and have no prospect of that changing ever. Other people generally have both, nearly everybody has one.

Now, you might say that "it's a time of happiness" and how everybody's in high spirits and whatnot. That's exactly the problem. It's a happiness surrounding things from which I'm fundamentally alienated. It's like being a lactose-intolerant person at a cheese feast. A blind man at a film festival. A deaf man at a symphony. Looking at the world through jail bars.

So it's fundamentally a depressing time of year, and (I acknowledge) compounded by my personality. I am not gregarious by nature, do not like to impose myself on people and despise mandatory displays of unfelt comity toward strangers (hate the Sign of Peace ... check; avoid parishes where they do the opening handshake ... double check). So if I'm blue, my attitude is usually "don't try to cheer me up; I don't want your pity." I'll just curl up in a ball at home instead.

And that's my good reaction. One recent December, I twice bought male prostitutes (one of them on New Year's Eve, no less). In the middle of the next January, I spent several hours in the hospital emergency room with what turned out to be anal gonorrhea. To be honest, if I weren't handcuffed by porn filters, I'd probably be doing that right now.


Dad29 said... have a number of faithful readers who are, if not family, ...perhaps "virtual" friends.

Merry Christmas, belatedly. And Happy New Year!

rleehistory said...

Your response to the holiday season and your general temperament are so similar to mine that my first reaction on reading this was to begin to fall in love. And then I remembered that I don't do that anymore. Well, at least not in the sense that I used to. And let's put aside for the moment that I have never set eyes on you or heard the sound of your voice. I don't care how convinced I am, either intellectually or on the basis of more than twenty years painful personal experience, that the church's teaching is true, I will always want to fall in love with a man. Which leads me to what might at first sound like an odd question: when you are an introvert and an egghead, how you do know the difference between a real committment to chastity and a rationalization of the fact that you are too shy, and your interests too rarefied, to find a compatible partner? I sometimes wonder if I am really a devout Christian, or just too old and too tired.

Dale said...

You have my prayers, CM. Hope you're feeling better now that we're back on the treadmill of ordinary time.

The Sheepcat said...

It came as rather a relief to me to discover the Catholic tradition of Advent as a penitential season (I'd previously known Advent as, at most, a time for lighting the special candles), because only rarely have I really been in much of a mood for Christmas celebration during the time leading up to Christmas.

I'm not fundamentally shy, but there are times when I find it hard to reach out. So I guess, CM, I'll just join dad29 in assuring you you're not alone.

Peace! And joy too,

Nemo Dat said...

CM, you really hit home with this post. While the holidays have usually been tinged with melancholy for me as well, this year was really hard. As I get older, my siblings and friends have all acquired kids and spouses, while I am stuck in neutral. I end up having dinners with the old folks and taking the grandma to mass. Talk about depressing. I guess there is not much consolation in saying that you're not so different from many other SSA folks who have the same loneliness to deal with - everyone must deal with it in his own way, but deal with it we must. For me, the vacuum of loneliness is like a bottomless pit which I have tried to fill with sex, food and drugs. None of those things work and have left me worse off than before, as I think your story relates. Ultimately I think that addressing the loneliness must be about filling up that bottomless pit with the infinite love of God. Easy to wax on about, but much harder to do. I am not speaking from a place of knowledge, but of longing. Be of good cheer. The holidays are over for one more season. I hope next year we can both learn to find a deeper fulfillment of that longing.