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Merry F*cking Christmas

Christmas, that most wonderful f*cking time of the year. It didn’t always feel this way. There was a time when Christmas was merry and bright, swaddled in quivering pine-scented anticipation, basking in the comforting glow of family and food. But years of careless callousness ripped the wrapping of this presence, leaving a stinging trail of paper cuts on a shrinking heart.

After years of slowly edging away from the formidable emotional baggage piled higher each holiday season, the coffin lid firmly slammed in the face of festivities when her father refused to see her that Christmas. The sentence was delivered unexpectedly without preamble, his mind made up for him by the Wicked Witch of the East. She was bereft and holly jolly Christmases were dead.

She takes pains to slink her Grinchyness away into a cold cave in the mountains of her heart, shrinking the sphere of cynicism back from others’ joy. But ridicule finds her just the same; admonishments delivered with each greeting card. It means the dread creeps in with the first chord of carols in the air and locks around her larynx until the last crispy tree is dragged from the curb.

It’s bad enough to endure when it at least feels like Christmas. When treetops glisten and the weather outside is frightful, but her brain rejects the celebration in summer outright. Beach barbeques and surfin’ santas supplant the last vestiges of what she could continue to cherish, still silent nights and Jack Frost’s nip on her nose, and she fights the urge to flee.

They don’t understand, how could they? She simply must be awful. She’s clearly trying to ruin their fun. Such behaviour cannot be tolerated. She must be reprimanded and corrected for every transgression. In her joyless face, they only see obstinate judgement and a challenge to their traditions. They refuse to listen through her tears to the news she’s received. ‘Get over it,’ they say. People get breast cancer every day.

A drive in the country is just the thing to cast out the shadow in which she wallows, they decide. Nothing quite like wending along a car-sickened way, with agonising fear for a best friend’s life banging mercilessly in the brain, to raise the spirits. The blackened landscape outside her window feeds the dementors in her soul with fresh reminders of life’s fragility flashing by kilometer after kilometer. They chide her tears. How can anyone possibly cry on a bright sunny Christmas Eve day? Doubtless, she simply wants to ruin their fun.

Then the children arrive and the pressure mounts to do it for them. Fill their stockings, create wonder and delight, and fight every anti-consumerist inclination in your soul for their sake, they demand. It overwhelms her, makes her sick with anxiety. How can she fake holiday cheer when she wants to scream? Why can’t she make it stop? Maybe this year will be her turn to walk away.