KSP Challenge – The Wrong Question

Warning depressing & strong language.

I’ve been meaning to write this for some time (you know; computer problems, put it on the back burner).   The last week before the end of year party ( you know; when Alex & I were cast adrift so our fellow Writer’s Circle participants could have lives over the holiday period) Tabetha posed the following writing challenge (details are hazy it was weeks ago): 30 minutes to describe your feelings about Christmas in the form of your choice.  More about the results after my contribution.

19th of November and it’s Christmas prep time.  2 days of grace after Tash’s birthday & its on.

1st school cards , what are the normal people doing this year?  Will my child be the dork who brought cards when that is so Primary School, or the bitch that didn’t even bring cards?  Dyslexia, anxiety, etc means we can’t wait & see what others do.  It starts now or never!

Cards – whole class, just friends?

Teachers – presents or is that sucking up?

Yes presents – what the hell do they want?  Alright what the Hell won’t actually irritate them & what can I send to school with a clumsy, socially awkward adolescent that might survive in her bag long enough to reach the teacher in a usable form?  It will probably be over 40* so definitely not chocolate.

But there is always one clueless idiot that blunders in to get something so surprises are impossible to keep hidden.

What my anxiety level is high?  Is that why 4 family members slept through the only afternoon we all had together to set up the damn tree.

I can’t take this I just can’t take this.  Deadlines, social rules, all f#%*ing  unwritten of course.  I am so sick of…

So they finish school, on the 9th.  So the 8th is the deadline well the evening of the 7th for getting everything school related done.

What do we do about Santa?  The youngest doesn’t know but she’s thirteen & surrounded b some of the biggest bitches the school has ever known.  Telling the others went so well, small blip, spirit not physical.  Why am I so scared?

Oh that’s why!  She doesn’t take it well.  Crying, silence, internalizing the grief.  I don’t even know what got through & what didn’t.  I just know I’ve destroyed her world.

No time for that year 10 Exams, rehearsals, extra choir performances, caroling.  NDIA funding is running out & we have to get a review, but they won’t answer the phone.

Services will stop on the 9th, the 9th again, this is becoming my favourite day, unless a review takes place.

A few years ago I wrote a letter about our life, like family sent to me with my Christmas card.  I don’t keep in touch with family because its hard to go to family occasions when any of the 6 of us could faint at any moment from social anxiety.  But I still get cards from these people who on one level I love & on another don’t have an efffing clue about.  The last two years the Xmas letter sent me into such a depression tailspin that I didn’t send cards at all.

That was good!  But deliberately is rude & being rude makes me as anxious as writing the damn cards.

I know I’ll send a Christmas photo, no words.  But we need the Christmas stuff & the tree up, and all the family home at the same time.  2 days late but I’ve got the photo & it is beautiful.

x-sun-prep-038

Online photo processing, 10 days wait because of Christmas.  10 days or 10 working days?

With Australia Post changing all kinds of stuff how early do I need to send the cards?

Have I invited my Mother-in-law to all the end of year functions?  No!  Why?  Because I don’t know when they are effing on!

Besides Drama has changed the venue of the play & I can’t go.  I just can’t!  I have no idea what it will be like.  I hate fucking Christmas!

Christmas comes but once a year!  So if you blow it you have fucking blow it for another year.  Another year of further estrangement from the strangers that used to be people I loved.  Another year of lost childhood for kids that have spent their entire lives waiting for Mum & Dad to feel better and not be too sick to do any bloody thing they want to do.

Another year of guilt, self-hate, self loathing and defeat.

Christmas marks the ending of one failure & the beginning of a new challenge I will undoubtedly fail.

Bleak wasn’t it; I was surrounded by open mouths for a while.  Alex had Grandma read her piece for her while she hid in another room; we left her there for mine.  Alex read first & she’s going to let me post it.

One guy wrote a sad piece; get this; because he thought we were all going to write such happy pieces that he wanted to write something different.  One lady wrote a poem about Christmas that was funny & light about the hardships of Christmas, and one older guy wrote a really happy childhood story; set in; I think I remember; 1948, every other piece reflected the dark emotions of the holiday season.

Tabetha expressed her regret at the topic but as we all told her it was actually very cathartic.  I realised I don’t find writing cathartic, I only release the pent up emotion when that writing is read/heard and not taken badly.  The time between writing and audience response is an agonising period of anxiety.

Then on the way home I realised that for the first time I actually knew precisely was worrying me.  Armed with this knowledge I was better able to face Christmas.  As Mum, Gavin & I agreed; despite the hurdles the most calm Christmas ever!

Alex’s story.

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