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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Surviving Christmas

Last night Pony let me eat his meat. Are you jealous?

He cooked a delicious steak dinner for an intimate group of friends, and his new house looked so festive and warm inside. I guess, compared to my spartan home, any home containing more than one piece of furniture looks festive.

In spite of his hard work and the beautiful setting, I arrived with a lump in my throat and the familiar feeling that I was being stabbed repeatedly in the chest. There are times when I'm able to fake happiness, but when my sadness manifests itself physically, as in the case of chest pains, I have a hard time choking back the tears. It didn't help that I drank a couple whiskeys with The Handsome Prince before arriving at Pony's. I guess I thought I could handle it, but maybe it is too soon for whiskey.

Recently I was asked why I fear people will stop loving me if I say what I want. I have to really give that some thought. I find that, even though this is my blog, I sometimes don't write about the way I'm feeling because I fear people will be bored or stop reading. (In spite of frequent reassurance that this is not the case)

Even now, when I've already lost him, I fear that Thor will read my words and stop loving me. I fear that I will become the punchline of a joke. I fear that you, a reader who has never commented or written me to say hello - a complete stranger - will stop liking Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. See, that same fear permeates everything - not just my relationships. I have to learn to speak without fear.

I am fortunate to have friends that understand. I fear, sometimes, that they will leave too. Sooner or later maybe I will push the limits of friendship, and they will walk away. That adds a certain pressure to my already depressed spirit. Like I have to hurry and get better and be funny again before they all give up on me.

Sometimes I will read something like Auburn Pisces wrote about me, and I will realize that there is unlimited love there for me. Yesterday she wrote this:

"People say that I’m the strong one. I’m often asked how I do it. How I hold it together. How is it I’m able to be strong for so many. Yet I stood before my friend and could feel his inability to breath right now. I could feel the coldness of the depths to which he has fallen and could feel his legs feverishly kicking beneath him, unwilling to succumb to the darkness.

It is you, Sweet Toddy, who is the strong one. You’re surviving it. Each and every day you open your eyes and experience one more day this existence has to offer you, you’re surviving it. Once you get to a place you’re not just surviving it but once again thriving in all this lifetime has to offer you is when you’ll know the balance in your life is back. Hang on, Toddy. You’re almost there.

Hot, please never think of yourself as weak. You have had a tough year, my darling friend. Everything will be okay."

It is Christmas, and this is a time that many of us are filled with sorrow when we want to be filled with joy.

For anyone who lost a love or a family member or a pet or a friend recently - whether your precious one left willingly or was taken away from you, maybe you will share my wish:

I know what I want for Christmas this year. Please let me have a moment of peace. Just one moment where I can look up at the night sky and know that I am going to survive the emotional and spiritual rubble that is pressing down on me.

Let me hear hope in the laugh of a child or in a warm touch from a friend. Let me get out of my head for a moment and see how big the world is and how small my own problems are in the eternal scheme of things.

Let me stare into a fire or the flame of a candle and know that I have what it takes inside to keep going. Don't let the darkness overtake me. Let me feel strong, just for a moment.

Let me eat delicious food and really taste it. Let me see colors and lights and bright tinsel instead of gray nothingness. Let me enjoy being awake instead of yearning for sleep.

And, if I must, let me feel that one moment of absolute sorrow. If the only way through this pain is to face it head on, then let me grieve for the love that I've lost, or maybe the love I've never found. Let me cry and mourn so that I can dance and sing again.

And at the end of Christmas Day, let me drop off to sleep smiling instead of worrying, giggling instead of crying, feeling safe instead of feeling alone.

If I could have this one gift, I would be so grateful. Please give me peace in my heart this Christmas.

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