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Merry Moodmas. Saturday December 20, 2014

And so the season is upon us.

I love the sound of my children filling the advent box with sweets (one for the box, three for the mouth) then working out (bickering) whose turn it is to go first, putting up outside lights, the ritual of dressing the indoor tree with decorations that represent different times, ages and people, I love standing at the final choir concert, my smallest children's arms in mine, listening to my eldest sing harmonies that make my eyes prick with emotion (torrent of tears hidden up sleeve). I love Boxing Day when I can be a slob for my one day of the year. But I wish I could press pause there.

This season is not all Christmas card perfect. For many of us.

One of my children became very seriously ill at Christmas a number of years ago and the memory still has the power to cut deeply.

Last Christmas we had a funeral of a very close family member 2 days before Christmas and 365 days has not yet been enough to grow a scab on that graze.

For many of us who struggle with our mood, this season brings new challenges. Changes in routine can bring devastating results as the routine was what was keeping us on the straight and narrow. Time with family, particularly the extended one, can have us biting our tongues almost in two as we struggle to steer our course through the unexpected, the expected, the pressure of gifts unwanted, the pressure of providing, the excess, the relative you wish would stop drinking so much, the noise, the endless events and the realisation that the ones you wish were here, aren't. Some of us will be alone and wish we weren't. Some of us will not be alone and wish we were.

So how do we navigate? How do we steer ourselves through?

For each of us our challenges are different and so there is no magic wand of survival. However, just by investing a little time, to think of the time coming up, and asking ourselves what will jangle our delicate balance, we can invite in the magical state of awareness. This in turn brings us the opportunity to lay down little bricks of survival.

Invest in you.

Step back and plan your Christmas season.
Know what will not work for you.
Know what you will need to do in order to surf the waves.
Look through the season and decide how you wish to come out the other side.
Write it, draw it, record it, share it, or keep it private. Commit to it.

I am aiming to come through on my terms and reach the other side with anything higher than exhaustion. I will not be bullied into what others wish me to do and I will say no thank you and then say it again. This will make me unpopular. So be it. Because this year I wish to be me, and that will be a gift to myself.

It is also ok not to like mince pies. No judging here.

Love from The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.

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Di Murphey Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 5:12am

Dearest Room Above the Garage ~

Yes, yes, yes. Love your writing and your wit. And Aunt Chrysanthemum's annual pies are now my favorite Christmas story about trying to eat them and making myself ill when I was a younger version of me.

It is good to pass down stories to our families -- even ones where we grew stronger about what we wanted to eat!

I really adore this line: "Some of us will be alone and wish we weren't. Some of us will not be alone and wish we were."

Di Murphey

Sarah Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 6:50am

Also the line, " I wish to be me and that will be a gift to myself"
Thank you a thought provoking blog! Feeling comfortable in yourself is truly healing. As loneliness does not always mean being alone.

Hopeful One Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 8:18am

Darling RATG- Thank you for your thoughts and ideas which inspire in their own way. Me? I will try and limit my visits to 'The Past'(usually full of negative episodes and regrets) in this season of goodwill to as few as possible reminding myself that 'The Past' has told me all it knows and has nothing new to tell me.Remind myself 'don't look back or you will fall down the stairs' courtesy of Rudyard Kipling.

Anonymous Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 8:33am

Brilliant, RATG, this is so helpful, and will be to many of us who try our best to please everyone! Difficult time for me, first birthday and Christmas all rolled into one, of my lovely Mum who died this year. I'm already trying not to cry! But I may just do it anyway then pull myself together and get on with the Day!
I keep telling myself and friends, 'it's just Sunday lunch with Christmas crackers!' Now I have to convince myself and relax.
Slobbing out should start after the dinner...oh, and get everyone else to clear up! Perhaps we should start a new craze after Christmas lunch, everyone must change into their p.j.'s????

Julia Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 8:33am

Hi RATG. You write so beautifully. I am going to be myself too and and have decided that I will not give in to unnecessary demands this Christmas or criticism, light hearted or not, from my extended family. They are coming round today for a Christmas lunch (the turkey is in the oven and a vegetarian dish made) so here's hoping I don't keel under and it doesn't all go pear shaped. One of the things I always say to people who dread Christmas is that actually it's only one day and some people don't celebrate it so no-one should think of themselves as alone. In fact with 3 Christmas lunches to prepare before Boxing Day (and I don't like cooking!), my one wish is to be alone! Lovely to hear from you Ratg and let's be strong for each other and all of us.

Anonymous Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 8:39am

Thank you for a beautiful piece, full of meaning for me. Xxx

Anonymous Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 9:21am

Lovely blog! A pertinent reminder to focus on doing what needs to be done to navigate through what for many is a difficult time of year. I have my eyes firmly on how I want to emerge through this Christmas period. Thankyou, Rosie x

Anonymous Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 12:01pm

Me too; being myself as my own gift to myself - brilliant!
Well-written, wise, witty, well-timed blog RATG (still loving the name!) - thank-you. Frankie

Anonymous Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 12:03pm

Good luck with it all Julia; visualise it all going well ... it may give you the strength you need if it doesn't. Frankie xx

Mary Blackhurst Hill Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 2:28pm

Love, love, love your writing! And so apt!
My gift to myself, if I had the power, would be a day, all alone with just my PC, to write undisturbed for hours and hours and hours...
But that wouldn't be a great gift to my family, who love me.
So my gift to them is my attention, all day, without thinking all the time of writing the next scene; developing plot lines, creating backgrounds for the new characters who have just walked into my head... On Christmas day I will give them my undivided attention.
I'll wait for mothering Sunday to ask for that undisturbed day just for me!

Julia Sat, Dec 20th 2014 @ 5:02pm

Thank you Frankie. It all went quite well but I did have to withstand some criticism (about a silly thing as usual). Your visualisation worked actually. I read your nice comment before they all arrived. xx

Anonymous Sun, Dec 21st 2014 @ 12:49am

Aunt Chrysanthemums pies sounds fun...tell me more! Love ratg.

Anonymous Sun, Dec 21st 2014 @ 12:52am

Sarah, exactly that, lonely/alone.

Anonymous Sun, Dec 21st 2014 @ 12:54am

I love that quote! I need to keep that in the front of my head. Love ratg.

Anonymous Sun, Dec 21st 2014 @ 12:58am

I'm up for that new tradition!! I hope you feel you can cry if you want to...why not...better out that in. We put things on the tree to represent those we're missing. It's not grim, it's lovely finding just the right thing and not necessarily a Christmas bauble. Just something that means 'them'. Love ratg.

Anonymous Sun, Dec 21st 2014 @ 1:01am

Three?!!! I bowing, curtsying and giving awe type gestures! Love ratg x.

Anonymous Sun, Dec 21st 2014 @ 1:02am

My head swells with that lovely comment, love ratg x.

Anonymous Sun, Dec 21st 2014 @ 1:04am

Rosie you sound focussed, brilliant! Love ratg

Anonymous Sun, Dec 21st 2014 @ 1:07am

Hello Mary, thank you! Mother's Day is ages away...maybe half a day over the holidays? It sounds bliss, in my imagination you sit at a window with a gorgeous, frosty view, sipping hot tea and typing fast on a proper typewriter! Love ratg x.

Anonymous Sun, Dec 21st 2014 @ 1:11am

Sorry I was so late to reply. Thank you to everyone for commenting, it takes a bit of courage to do so and yet it's lovey for me and also helps others too by sharing and spreading our successes, our failures and all in between. Stay special. Love ratg x.

Silvia A Sun, Dec 21st 2014 @ 2:49pm

I echo Rose words. Thank you and Caroline for remembering me to took care and be attentive in order to be fine.

Anonymous Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 1:02pm

Sunday lunch with crackers - like it! What a brilliant idea. For one who has yet the hit the shops (it will all be done on xmas eve, what we can buy will be what we get the eat) that's a perfect attitude.
Thank you!

Anonymous Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 4:12pm

I really enjoyed your post. Lovely writing!

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