Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas songs

Singing Christmas music is one of the biggest joys of my life at this time of the year.  Thank you to my music teachers, my Sunday school teachers, my mom who played the radio, and eventually the Madrigal singers that I've listened to for giving me the lyrics to a HUGE range of music types.  Now I listen to Pandora at the appropriate time of the year, which will always begin the day AFTER Thanksgiving- thank you very much. I really don't appreciate the season jumping that goes on.

I'd been enjoying my singing (by myself, as I am not positive that this voice should be heard- I don't think I suck at it, but I am not sure it is the best at all) and then the virus from hell hit, and within 3 days I had lost my voice for the most part, and hence there is no singing.  Unless I want to sing the bass parts, which does not fit into the whole scene that plays in my head, believe me.  You guys, this has been one nasty virus.  People don't want to have conversations with me (I think the sound of my voice makes their throat hurt) and if they do they ask if I am feeling any better at all, and if maybe I shouldn't go to the doctor.  Which are totally legit questions, actually.  The answer for all of us is, yes, today I feel better.  The quality of this cough has finally changed and now it is just going to be annoying.  Taking a half day off yesterday was the best thing I could have done for myself.  Le sigh.

Christmas music though, has it's issues.  First of all, some of it is freaking HARD to play on the piano.  Now that was a random  wild veering off topic, I know, but I do like to work through the Christmas music books that are sitting atop my piano right now.  2/3 of my children used to be able to play most of that music pretty well.  I can plink through some of it well, and some of it I want to be able to play so so bad, but NO.  AND there is no way I can play and sing at the same time, as the very unChristmas like words that come out of my mouth sometimes do not lend themselves to Christmas caroling.  So no voice = no sullying of lovely seasonal lyrics with nastiness.  :)

But the real problem I have with Christmas music is it's ability to make me feel sad.  First of all, not the religious Christmas music.  That has so much ingrained history in my upbringing, that all that does is make me want to sing, thanks to numerous Christmas programs at school and church.   Not the fun stuff like Frosty the Snowman and the 12 Days of Christmas, which again just make me want to sing.  No I am referring to other music that plays on Pandora or the radio, the kind that are sort of older sounding, the ones the are songs of loss or longing or other notes of longing that are hard to identify.  It sort of drives me insane.  A perfectly innocuous song begins and it's sung by someone in that nice sort of jazzy style, and then suddenly I am feeling sad and lonely and like I am missing something or someone.  It makes me want to crawl under a blanket with a glass of Baileys and hide.  

Christmas is a real emotional trigger for many of us.  I have worked through a lot of my Christmas issues, but they do lie a bit dormant and cause me issues sometimes. I get caught in feelings of not being good enough, not feeling loved enough.  This season that has  been heralded as a time of great joy and love and jolliness and all should be the best time of all.  Well, I tell you, though I do enjoy Christmas quite a bit, I really like Thanksgiving better- all that's expected of you is food and family.  There is no pressure to be perfect: to have the perfect presents, make your house look festive, keep changing the f***ing  Christmas lights all over the house as they go out, send letters in cards,  send things to the best people ever and feel that your gifts are woefully inadequate.  Then there is the immediate family and considering if you have treated them evenly, if they will be happy, is there anything else I can do to try and make anyone else's life a little bit easier....  I know we all go through this to an extent. No - give me Thanksgiving and all people want is the house to smell like turkey and dinner rolls.  Low pressure and high possibility of total satisfaction.  Christmas seems amazing on the outside, but has that deeply sad undercurrent that crops up occasionally.   I think childhood and the people that are gone from your life are the things that drive these feelings, but I do not want to dwell on it.  I'm done with that.

So, while I have been whining about feeling occasionally blue (thanks Elvis for singing Blue Christmas, you jerk) I've been holding one little thing in reserve here to tell you.  I do not dislike Christmas at all- there are so many fun parts to it, and of course presents.  Sorry  but I like to give and receive.  :)  It is part of my charm- HAHA!!  Anyway, I hear from people once a year who are very special to me.  I am so grateful for these Christmas cards and letters.  I got a letter this year from one of my college housemates, and it blew me out of the water.  This letter basically told me how special I was to her as we were going through our college years together and she saw me in ways I certainly did not see myself.  She saw me as a confident person at a time when I felt far from it, she saw me as a good dancer, which I never imagined myself to be, she told me how she felt about living with me at a time when she was having a very hard time with life.  I wish I would have known.  I loved being with her, but she had some deeply painful times she was going through and it was hard to know what she was thinking.  This letter blew me out of the water.  I never imagined myself to be that important to her, but boy was I apparently wrong. 

I think this year the thing I will do as I write out a few late Christmas cards is remember that the gift of myself is always the best gift.  The gift of listening, the gift of time, the gift of a smile that is just for one of the special people in your life is the best of all.  KNOWING that they are special to you just may be the best gift you could give or get the entire year.  Sometimes you just need to tell them outright and obviously how important they are to you, because they seriously might not know.  I did not know.  And I do now.  And I am going to pick up this gift and carry it with me as I go.

Enjoy these next few days - we all now the anticipation of an event is just as important as the actual one.  And while you are out there, find some joy and spread it around.

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