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December 25, 2005



Kristy sent me these beautiful little knitting-themed Christmas ornaments. She made them! And the best part ... she included a card detailing the kind of yarn used on each ornament.

My mom asked me if I was taking time off work, or just from writing in my online diary. "Just from writing," I said. "It's hard to write funny when I feel so bad."

It's night, and cold again, and dark and I have avoided writing this stuff down. But what is the point of having an online diary if you edit out the hard parts?

Holidays amplify emptiness. It's like that on Valentine's Day, when you suspect that everyone is getting lucky except you. Or Thanksgiving, other people packed around the table laughing eating drinking.

But I can feel this way even on a rainy night driving home from work and it's dark and the rain has kept everyone inside, behind closed windows and locked doors, and you wonder if all the curtains are drawn because behind them there is a hand on the soft place above the hip, an arm outstretched, someone holding onto someone, something, and you're alone in the car. Everyone gets held except you.

That's what this Christmas feels like.

And I didn't take any time off work. In fact, I was the lone person in our department yesterday, everything was quiet, even downtown seemed lonely and hollow. A firetruck, sirens on 6th street but no crowd, no curious onlookers.

After work, I went to a party for Faith's birthday. It was held at her sister Shannon's house in the Valley, and I got to meet some of Faith's friends and it was nice. I was afraid that the inside of me would seep out from under the precariously cheerful exterior and taint the evening. I adore Faith, and I'm so glad I met her and that we became friends, because she's one decidely happy thing in a year that had a lot of sadness in it. She was the one person who showed up on my doorstep the night I got divorced, and she is a very good friend. I'm so lucky I met her.

At the party we ate and talked and when the night ended and people went home, I hugged a woman I had talked to only a few times, maybe I was just in need of a hug? Or maybe I'm now one of those crazy women who hugs strangers?

It is Christmas Eve now, and it's late, the cats are asleep, the world is asleep. The weekend stretches out before me, mine for the contemplating. This is my first Christmas as a Divorced Woman. A Divorcee. Uncoupled.

I always lacked the power of self-reflection. I looked into his eyes to see myself, to find recognition. Now there is nowhere to be reflected. What I miss most: having someone see you when you put on lipstick, brush your hair, make the bed, smile. Wake up Christmas morning and laugh.

Being a whole person (now half of nothing) will have to be enough. I have to be enough for myself, because in this life it's all you can depend on. That's not such a bad thing, really. Is it? I spent all those years focusing on my husband and my marriage and now I have unbroken hours to figure out who I am, this adult who I am alone with. She's not that bad. She writes this kind of crap stuff when she's drinking.

I spend a lot of time alone these days. My real-life friends are tired of hearing about my divorce, me being sad, or being lost or angry or whatever I am at that moment. I know they're sick of it and really, why can't I just move on already? My parents just want me to be happy, so it's hard telling them I'm sad, it just makes them feel awful, too, and of course it can't be easy if your kid is feeling bad and you can't do anything about it. So I spend a lot of time alone.

It's manageable. The holidays make it echo, but they're small days in a long life. This is what I tell myself. Drink enough and you belive it.

The best part about Christmas -- ideally -- is that you spend it with people who are special to you. I'm spending it alone, so this year I'll have to be something to myself, someone worthy of getting to know. It was easier focusing all my attention on my husband, (ex-husband) (feels so weird to say that). Finding the perfect stocking stuffers, wrapping and hiding his presents. We'd sleep late on Christmas morning, and then open presents and eat breakfast and go to the multiplex in Burbank and watch movies all day.

I wonder if he's also looking backward, thinking about the ghosts of married Christmases past? I doubt it. I suspect he's blocked it all out, left the past behind as easily as he left me. But it doesn't matter. I have those nice memories, and that's enough. It's not about him, it's about a part of my life that was really nice on Christmas Day. That kind of happy lasts forever.

And there are a lifetime of Christmas days ahead of me, and who knows what they'll look like? I might move. Or make new friends, choose very wisely who I let into my life, maybe I'll write a book or join the Peace Corps or wear stilletto heels or anything. I do believe that you can make your own life, create each day, shape a future that looks and feels and tastes like something happy and satisfying.

There's so much in my life that is good and worthy of celebrating and I can build a good beginning starting right here, inside my little house. Tonight I walked from room to room, which took about 3.5 seconds my house being rather small, and there was a cat here, and there, and twelve mismatched socks, and a pile of books and yarn, and those beautiful ornaments sent to me by a complete stranger, and I think, there's good out there. You just have to take chances, and choose wisely, and find your reflection somewhere else, in your own eyes, in a glass of wine? Take it anywhere you can get it. Happy lasts forever.

Posted by laurie at December 25, 2005 12:09 AM