I’m not a big fan of Christmas anymore for reasons that are obvious by now to people who know me, and each year the pain of the humbug in my heart seems to grow just as I think it should be fading.
This whole year was spectacularly shitty in various ways beginning perhaps symbolically with the concussion that knocked me onto my ass and out of my groove for long enough that I’m still struggling to find my place among my own patterns and plans again.
That incident, the endless barrage of heartbreaking news stories lately, and my inability to see the finish line of a creative project I sank my entire soul into are three of the strikes that have kicked my ass deeper into depression than I have been since the time I started hating christmas in the first place four years ago- December 15, 2011- when my son Orion Xavier Jamil Glick was born still.
Sometimes I feel my strength, and I’m on fire like a phoenix with big things to look forward to — and other times I feel no distance at all between the present moment and the pain of the day I spent in hell: a cheerfully holiday bedazzled maternity ward filled with the cries of healthy newborns and birthday songs mixing with Christmas carols. The day I decided I wanted to die… not because I hated life (although I did during those moments) but to be with my treasured beloved child who everyone was telling me was in “a better place”. I wanted to be in that place too, sleeping in heavenly peace like in that damn song I kept hearing that week.
That’s where the humbug in my heart comes from this time of year, only this year the depression has been heavy and thick and worse than ever. I did manage to get myself to the doctor recently to actually get treated for the toxic feelings that have been pulling me down dangerously low like quicksand. My heart is still broken, emptiness is still there, but for now the avalanche seems to have stopped so that I might be able to find my footing again.
But still… it’s fucking Christmas.
Lots of things died for me that day, and Christmas was one of them. I’m okay with that. I’m not Christian so I don’t feel obligated to celebrate the birth of anyone else’s son when mine didn’t make it. And I don’t think Christmas carols will ever again be anything but a trigger to my hospital PTSD.
And yet, I do love winter…. and twinkling lights…. and candles… and stars… and special days worth looking forward to.
Everyone else seems pretty jazzed and positive about this time of year in one way or another, so how do I keep from turning into a full time Grinch? How can I have a day to look forward to rather than a season to dread while still honoring the love and loss of my starchild?
Create a new holiday.
December is also when the constellation Orion returns to light up the night sky, just in time for his birthday.
December 15th, for me anyway, is now Najmasabbi.
Two Arabic words I mushed together in a way that I’m sure they don’t rightly belong, but it is its own word now.
Najma means star.
Sabbi means boy.
Decor should include three stars or three candles in a row representing the three bright stars of Orion’s belt: Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka.
Najmasabbi should be celebrated with (at least) three acts of kindness which the three stars or candles will also represent. Light your candles as your acts are completed.
Also, as my son was a great creation I never had the chance to “complete”, Najmasabbi is a good day to focus on reaching goals. Finish something. A book, a poem, your first 10k run…. Cross a finish line.
Will writing about a made-up day with a funny sounding name fix everything? Nope. My battle is ongoing, but for today I’m willing to keep fighting. For today I’ve got my 3 acts of kindness to look forward to and my trinity of candles to honor life and hope and growing strength.
Not an attack on Christmas of course, but a silly way for me to try to fit back into something that doesn’t fit me anymore.
and Happy Holidays to you.