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  • Mairin McCracken

The Huddle #34: Happy(ish) Holidays


I’m going to let you in on a little secret: your holidays do not have to be happy. In fact, the holidays are inherently kind of miserable- just listen to about 80 percent all the holiday songs and you’ll hear how sad and lonely everyone is! Elvis Presley is having a Blue Christmas, Britney Spears just wants her baby, that guy from Wham! still isn’t over his breakup, and Alan Jackson literally has a song called, “Please, Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas.” Yikes. 


So, if you’re having a hard time getting in the holiday spirit, you are not alone. I’m right there with you, and I’m here to remind you that you don’t have to be friggin’ Buddy the Elf this holiday season. 


Often times when I’m feeling less-than-fun emotions about something, my inclination is to put my feelings in a drawer titled “Later Mairin Problems”. I ain’t got time to feel, because feelings take time and vulnerability that will surely derail me. I make up a story in which I have to choose between dealing with my emotions and being a productive human. 


But that’s not the case. We contain multitudes, and we are fully capable of not just feeling multiple things at the same time, but also feeling something and doing another. It’s not hypocritical; it’s human.  


My fourth and fifth graders are really good at feeling their feelings- so good, actually, that when they get upset, it can be overwhelming. When one of my little monsters is crying, I usually tell them something like this: “I know you are in a lot of pain, and I wish I could take it away. I also know that you can (insert activity- pick up your pencil, go back to class, rejoin the game). You can feel your feelings, and you can move forward.” 


Today, I tried to take my own advice. Looking out at Ocean Beach while grappling with some new life changes, I allowed a tear to roll down my cheek. Then, without wiping my face or forcing myself to shake it off, I simply decided to take a step forward. And then another step. And another. And I remembered: I can do both. I can feel this, and I can keep going. I can do both. 


You can do both. You can feel sad and lonely right now, and  be present for your holiday get-togethers. You can have resentment toward your family and enjoy Christmas with (or without) them. You can hate your job and have a satisfying work day. You can love your partner and argue with them, you can miss your ex and move on. You can do both.  


So, this holiday season, I hope you feel joy, and I hope you feel loved, but most of all, I hope you remember that your emotions are valid, and no matter how many times you have to listen to your siblings quote A Christmas Story, you can keep moving forward. And last but not least, remember that no matter how happy or crappy your holidays are, at least no one gifted you a d*** in a box. 


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