Permission

You are allowed to not participate in Christmas. For real. To opt out. In all the ways. In the ways that matter to you.

You are allowed to say no to invites. To parties. To meals. To conversations. To events. To gatherings. To criticism. To meeting others expectations. To touching or being touched. To buying presents. To pretending to be happy if you are really sort of crushed and crashing inside.

You are allowed to go eat the French fries with extra salt you really want and turn the heat up in the car and drive with all the windows down until your voice is scratchy with screaming.

You are allowed to grieve and to go into hiding. To not put up lights or to put up lights and stare at them for hours on end, numb and nameless and disbelieving. To swallow and spit out. To curl up and claw out.

You are allowed to say yes and no and have both of those respected.

You are allowed to eat jelly sandwiches in bed and make more tea and not talk to anyone.

You are allowed to still be angry.

You are allowed to go lose yourself in good work. To feed people. To forget you once thought this day was for something sold to you as necessary that turned out to be not at all true for you. To build a house or to buy a coffee or to tie tinsel in your hair and say that you no longer believe in Jesus even if you still somehow love him.

You are allowed to hurt and be sad and to wish something were very different and to want what you want.

Do you hear me?

You are allowed to want to what you want. To be human.

You are allowed to remember. To forget. To close the vault door. To fall in love.

You are allowed to surprise yourself, to be unknown to yourself, to be both in awe and terrified of the mystery that is you.

You are allowed to hate your secret Santa gift and to drink too much and to deeply regret it and to not care about it. You are allowed to not get along with others. You are allowed to want to be liked.

You are allowed to wear fishnets in the cold winter and to still miss smoking and to wonder how everyone else changed after your own change meant not returning.

You are allowed to kiss for as long as you want and to not cry and to be a proud atheist who puts Christmas sweaters on small dogs and takes pictures and feels happiness.

We are not all having the same experience.

And, we are allowed what is ours.

I’m here with you, separate and also alongside, saying let’s make these days so spacious that we all get to find the space where we can love ourselves and stay human, together.

I’m with you.

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