December 11, 2013

why i wear green {and} red

my annual Christmas red-and-green-apparel tradition started again on december 1st.
i truly get more excited about the month of december than i do about my birthday.
Christmas joy is a specific brand of happiness that i am addicted to.

Christmas 2006 {i think}

i am going to be honest, though.
no matter what reasons i've given to people in the past for dressing in only red and green for 25 days, the truth is that i am being purely selfish. it's simply an added benefit that others seem to get a jolt of Christmas spirit because of my selfishness, but that isn't why i started and it's not why i continue my tradition.

Christmas 2011
i can't remember how long i've been doing this tradition --- it's been at least 8 years, but it may have started before that. {i don't have the best memory in general, so when i try to venture into memories of high school years it's just a haze of awfulness.}

the red and green tradition, at its core, is an attempt to increase my happiness level and distract myself from struggles that often come looking for me during the winter months.

i've discussed my eating disorder, self-harming, and depression here before so just to be clear: that is what i'm talking about. while the end of the year has my absolute favorite season {autumn} it can also hold some of the most challenging days of the year for those dealing with food and other emotional "issues." halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas, and new year's happen all within a 60 day period and the emotional roller-coaster associated with these holidays is set full-speed ahead.
*prepare to get motion sick*

my obsession with red and green clothes/accessories all month to celebrate Christmas was my conscious effort to focus on not wearing normal clothes but rather the colors that would keep my mind on the things that really mattered: Christ.

i was in college for so long and december was a mount-everest-sized hike in my stress level. "wearing Christmas" helped me keep things in perspective and not completely lose my mind.

Christmas 2005

did it always help me to stay away from negative behaviors and self-talk?

did it decrease those instances and lead to an increase in Christmas joy?

why am i bringing this up now?
i no longer participate in eating disorder or self-harming behaviors so i'm all good, right?

Christmas 2012
this year i turned 26 and lost my health insurance from my mother's employment.
i was blessed to have it this long.
while i attempt to get into grad school out here in the east coast, i don't have a full-time job and i'm trying to at least get a part-time job.... but i've been met with many roadblocks.

the combination of these circumstances have forced me to wean myself off my depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia medications.

now don't mistake me.
i am a huge supporter of pharmaceuticals.
{obviously, taken only when needed}
but heavens! medicine is a God-send in these modern days so why not use it???

however, seeing as now i'm in the waiting game for obamacare to help me out of my personal pickle, it's necessary for me to slowly go off my very highly-dosed meds.

i'm almost to the end of my supply and it has been quite an interesting experience.
since i've been on my certain medication "cocktail" for so many years, it's odd adjusting to the lack of chemical support for my emotional and physical needs.

i have had both fibromyalgia and depression/anxiety since i was a young child, so it is fair to say i don't really know what life is like without these conditions.

it is better, i think, having left my "old life" behind because everything here is new.
anytime a past memory comes into my mind i get to choose what to do with it and i know the healthy thing is to simply accept its lesson and let it go. it's easier to see the separation of reality when i am removed from what used to be intertwined in my disorders.

so far i have done pretty well.
there was a really bad day and a half when it was difficult to for me to separate the fog.
when the emotions in your heart are so strong, sometimes it doesn't matter that your head knows it is not reality ---- especially for such a feelings- and intuition-based person like me.

however, i have good support here.
no, it is amazingly superb support.

and though the occasional thought to resort to a behavior i used in a past life comes up, i know so many tools now to help me through.
more than that, i know who i am and whose i am. i know that the only way through this is by God's mercy and grace. i am awe-struck at how much He truly cares individually for each one of His children.
i know, without a single doubt in my heart or mind, that my body is able to handle this difficult transition so well because of a loving Father in Heaven.

now, there's a song from a movie that i haven't seen yet but it is sung by one of my very favorite artists and it has captured my heart.

i've been a fan of demi lovato's for years -- since the beginning of her disney career! her voice is amazing and her music isn't the same ol' stuff over and over again. she deals with real issues and authentic emotion.

ok.... being honest... i also appreciate that she's experienced similar struggles and that she started working on recovery when i was also trying to give it all my effort. maybe that's why i've always been able to find such meaning in her songs?

i don't know.

what i do know is that everyone struggles.
the trials we each experience are not the same and the circumstances aren't, either.
however, it's the feelings that matter.

our trials provoke emotions that allow us to empathize with others ---
they bring tolerance, love, and compassion towards people we may not have otherwise had the patience to try and understand.

of course, we have the choice to allow our experiences to make us bitter or we can let them change us into better human beings.
if we choose the latter, that means letting go...
of the heartache
the loneliness
the pain
all the sorrow

this song from disney's frozen has so many meanings for me
it's beautiful
and right now it's my motto/theme....

love love love love love!!!!

though it isn't a completely Christmasy reason that i dress up for the month of december, it is a sentimental custom. we all celebrate in our own ways.

this year i have fewer red and green clothes because of my move, but i'm so very grateful for my family who mailed me the packages of love that enabled me to hold on to my tradition.

it has become a part of who i am.
a part of my recovery.
a part of my joy.

happy holiday traditions to you!!!

and may you let all the other stuff go, at least for now :)