Seasonal Malady, M’Lady
Dont Let the title fool you, Im not sick I just like alliteration! No, ‘tis a malady of the air I speak of
Inevitably, over the Christmas period there will come a time when I feel icky and unclean
I know myself to be a reasonably intelligent, sensitive person. Yet even though I am educated and aware of how the media and marketing companies play us all like musical instruments in the run up till Christmas especially, in my bid to emulate what my mother created for me as a child (and then some) for my own children and fretting that I’m letting them down otherwise I inevitably get sucked in to the rampant spend fest and commercialism each and every year
Not as much as some granted, but enough to create the annual tradition whereby at some point my conscience and intelligent self grab me by the lapels and give me a little internal shake. And that’s about when I end up saying “O Hai”to Guilt. And Guilt duz not haZ cheezeburger!
Problem is if I try to change my ways too much I feel the Guilts and panic anyway. Damned if I do…
I took a brief jaunt into the local shopping epicentre this afternoon to pick up a couple of small inessential items that were niggling the back of my mind. I’ll be honest, the place has a tendency to make me feel icky a lot of the time anyway. There’s just something about it’s energy. I can only spend relatively short periods of time there these days and I can tell you that since the days where I found myself spending the vast majority of my time there (when Eldest was at primary school) have passed there’s been a humongous improvement in my mental well being that is beyond a doubt directly linked to the fact I’m no longer having to do that and instead live out my days predominately within the relatively peaceful suburb I actually signed up for when we moved here
Today, the epicentre was of course mobbed. S had ventured in early in the morning and had told me laughingly of the lengthy ques down the streets to the shops that had yet to even open. I laughed too and glossed over thw faint sense of revulsion that trembled somewhere inside me. It’s not like I don’t like shopping, after all!
I’d already anticipated the mobs and had mentally braced myself; flicking my internal switch to CHILL I drifted like a feather through the frenzied masses, collecting no more than the handful of items I’d intended and wafting through untouched.
No fortress is entirely impenetrable. Tiny little things got through. Minuscule observations and the immediate thought/reaction that accompanied them.
Still, Keeping Calm and Carrying On. Not my monkeys and all that.
Im stood at the bus stop waiting to go home ,I made it through! and the observations and thoughts catch up with me. I dislike the atmosphere. It feels sickly. Nobody and I mean nobody looks even remotely happy. Lots of people struggling, some with stress and some physically. Everyone looks pained and strained with furrowed brows and mouths turned down at the corners. Children are being dragged around from shop to shop in the rain. “You’re so RUDE!” A mother says into her child’s face crossly “asking for things when Christmas is two days away!”
I mean I get it, I truly do. But she condemns him so fiercely and he looks so meek in the face her wrath that I feel for him
”Rude? Really? That’s not what ‘rude’ is, Lady” I think to myself crossly
Move on. Be kind. She’s under strain. Recall all the times you were caught shouting at youngest and how shamed you felt when some stranger cast judgement upon your own head. You don’t know her or what she’s coping with. Not my monkeys…
All these little mantras whizz through my mind within seconds in a bid to filter it out
But still I feel for him
Stuff and stuff and stuff and stuff and windows and store fronts encouraging you to buy ever more stuff, convincing us we need it. Someone is clutching a red plastic bag from Marks and Spencer’s and out of the corner of my eye I catch their slogan for this year ,”Must Have”, framed by gold.
Theres that faint sense of revulsion again
To quote Ebenezer Scrooge, I’ve always been a “Keep Christmas (and most things quite frankly) in your way and let me keep it mine” type person. Just with much less bitterness and resentment than old Scrooge
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much a product of our society as the next person and whilst I’m not exceptionally materialistic I’d be lying if I claimed I didnt covet various stuff. There are of course many things that I personally like at this time of year. Pretty common place thamongst to be honest. Mulled wine, trees, lights, clementines and other particular food stuffs and vanilla scented candles (usually Yankee Vanilla Cupcake or Christmas Cookie). But “must”? Nope. Can’t think of anything anyone “must have”. Why “must” they? If they prefer not to? Or if they prefer something else? Oh, it’s such a cunningly simple thing that “Must Have”. So manipulative and effective at tickling our insecurities. Forget that shop window “sexy little knickers” scandal, the whole concept of of “Must Have” is grotesque.
There’s a bad kind of buzzy in the air; a frantic kind of negative energy. It all feels obscene and corrupted and sickly and I myself feel gross to be apart of it.
Its such a shame
I recall Christmas 2015, in a bid to fend off cabin fever I ventured into the epicentre then for the first time ever on Boxing Day out of a kind of curiosity. I might like shopping and clothes but I have never once felt compelled to go on a shopping spree on Boxing Day. For me, that day is for relaxing at home or doing something enjoyable. It’s for spending time with people. There’s so very many other days in the year I can shop! Non the less curiosity got the better of me that year and off I went.
It was horrible. The same atmosphere I experienced today. Corrupted. Sickly. The masses almost zombie like in a que outside of Next that stretched far down the street
I was back home again within twenty minutes, cuddled up with Youngest watching The Gruffalo and I felt so much better
You might have noticed that conclusions are not the strongest element to my writings. I struggle with them at the best of times and annoyingly I’ve been interrupted again and again when writing this post and have in fact been trying to finish it since yesterday. Honestly, it’s not really the tone I wanted to impart on Christmas Eve day however I’m determined to publish it now I’ve put so much time and effort into getting it done.
My head is fuzzy with the constant stopping/starting and I’m irritable distracted and ratty, which is not how I want to be today. So I’m begging your forgiveness on this occasion Reader, hoping that you’ve taken some small important thing away from this post today and that you’ll understand that I currently have Eldest telling me loudly about how the local bus routes change over the holidays and Youngest belting Jingle Bells out at top volume whilst shaking actual bells in my face and that I most definitely need to end it here, before I lose it
Wishing you all much love, warmth and joy this Christmas in whatever way you choose to keep it