I bring you this Christmas ANNIEGRAM to send you tidings of joy, mistletoe magic, and festive feel-good vibes for your day going forward.
I hope today, wherever you are and whether you are with your immediate family or alone, that you are enveloped by a sense of love and peace that goes beyond any circumstance or reality. Consider yourself soul-embraced by me, very firmly and for an awkward amount of time, from far away.
There’s something that’s been heavily on my mind this holiday season, and although it feels a bit strange to write about it on Christmas Day--it still feels timely. (Plus, to say this year has been “unconventional” would be a prettttty big understatement).
So here I am, on this day of Yule, to talk about that seasonally appropriate topic: Christ’s Birth oops I mean Caroling oh wait no I mean Coping.
Cope (verb): (of a person) To deal effectively with something difficult.
“Cope” has been an active word buzzing around my brain in 2020, as I processed my own path of mingled isolation, grief, joy, and resilience and watched others do the same.
Some of my coping mechanisms have been:
Sleeping as long as I want to, often over-sleeping because of those “why bother?” vibes
Driving long distances to out of the way grocery stores for a sense of expansion and purpose
Curling into the fetal position and crying on my living room floor
Fast food. Lots of it.
Re-watching “Bones,” a show about murder that is oddly formulaic and thus comforting
Medication and therapy
Gardening and canning stuff
Letting myself sob
Re-reading cheesy books
Making postcard art
Sugary treats at any time of day, whenever I want or feel like it
Temporarily abandoning veganism, BECAUSE CHEESE
Figuring out people who will let me be with them and then trying to figure out how to make it work to be with them.
Did I mention crying?
Something I find fascinating about coping mechanisms is that they are often maligned and shamed.
We tell ourselves we “should” be doing better than eating jalapeno poppers three times a week. We “should” be starting that new award-winning novel instead of re-reading the comforting young adult trilogy for the 3rd time. We “should” watch an educational documentary instead of bingeing all seasons of Gray’s Anatomy or whatever.
Where is the respect due to these mechanisms, the ones that are literally keeping us afloat? These tools keep the warm animal of our bodies somewhat comforted in dark and difficult times--and yet we judge them so harshly? Why aren’t often able to merely accept the specific tools that we honed to keep us sane?
SPOILER: Because there is a dangerous, soul-stifling mentality of “Better” that exists in America even during a deadly pandemic, because we must be ever vigilant to our own lack so that capitalism thrives, because to allow yourself rest is to give in to the social-scrutiny of a laziness or a self-indulgence…
Blah blah blah blah BAH HUMBUG!
Coping is natural, coping mechanisms are healthy and necessary, and you’re using them to keep yourself here on this mortal plane. So, well done. You’re doing the best you can. You’re still here.
Heading into 2021, I’m going to do an entire series on coping. Because I think coping is great. I want to talk about the coping mechanisms that have helped me immensely, the ones that didn’t help me as much so I left them behind (and how I did it in a way that was full of self-love instead of judgment). I want to hear from you about ways that YOU’RE coping. Maybe I’ll even do some guest posts or interviews with people to heat THEIR methods for surviving in these surreal times.
For today, I just want to say: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
And give yourself ALL the permission to drink all the eggnog you want.
Love you more than Santa,