Cutting the cord.

I think I’ve cut some cord this week. It’s been extremely painful, both emotionally and physically. I think the cord was Christmas. I think that for most of my life Christmas has stood for pain, anxiety, and loss. My childhood Christmases had moments of glory, but most of them were build by two lonely and neglected little boys trying to create something beautiful. On Christmas Eve I’d take my little brother to whatever Disney movie was showing. We’d walk home in the twilight, stopping at the incinerator behind the pharmacy to warm ourselves, small snow falling. When I look at that place now I think how remarkable children are. It was a crummy lot tucked between the highway and some shops in a rough part of town, but we found our magic there.

But it was such hard work, and we were spinning a golden web over so much pain, holding at bay all the sorrow and trauma our lives had brought and continued to bring us. And so that’s what Christmas became for me. It was my job to spin a golden web, have everything just right, at whatever cost, against the fall of night.

This year night fell. It was ferocious, and I cut, or God cut, the cord. I’ve stocked my larder for guests and social events. No tree. No decorations. No boughs of holly. I’ve never felt like this. During the last week a tsunami of pain and guilt and sorrow have been unleashed. Normally I’ve bridged them with drugs and alcohol and sugar binges. Not this year. I’ve essentially been fasting for four days now. Just coming back to food with a little vegetable soup yesterday. I feel empty and tired and pleased and maybe, for the first time in my memory, free of some immense cultural and generational pain.

The fat lady hasn’t sung yet. There are still miles to go before I sleep, but I think I’m getting it.


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