By Lauren V. Macaraeg #LaurenMacDoodles
Do you sometimes feel crappy this Christmas season? Welcome to the club! I may have played the role of Santa Claus as a TV extra recently, but to be honest, I feel more like the Grinch lately.
It’s been a stressful, busy December for Mama Uni & me (especially for my mom. I’m just a salingket in her activities. But then again, even that role is already challenging). Yes, there have been many unexpected blessings & priceless moments (& cool Christmas gifts haha). I’m not being ungrateful. Some of my favorite holiday memories actually happened this 2017. But there have been many problems & tasks too. And I’m simply physically tired. The kid part of me loves the birthday of Jesus and always will. Yet the manang & tita part of me just wants Christmas & New Year to be over so I can rest. Yes, to be honest, the “rest” part of my #Live4Infinity #LifeProject has been hard to live out this December.
While I knelt down to pick up and throw away lettuce bits that drifted down to the floor as I was assembling nachos salad during one of my mom’s caterings, it dawned on me how different my Christmas was from that of my peers this 2017. While I sometimes sit down on stair steps in exhaustion after events or blink back my tears when we encounter frustrating challenges, most of my friends are attending glamorous parties and wearing sparkly ballgowns. It’s not that I’m not happy for them; I know they deserve to celebrate and to be recognized for their hard work for the rest of the year. It’s not that I want to swap places with them; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else this Christmas but by my mom’s side (and by our Cutie the Cat’s side too!). It was my conscious choice to minimize my usual social activities this holiday season with friends (although I will still try to attend my annual Christmas family reunions if my health permits). However, I feel disconnected from the rest of the world sometimes. I sometimes feel disconnected from the jolly atmosphere that has swept through the rest of Metro Manila.
Suddenly, during one of the rare times I scrolled through my newsfeed, one status update stood out from the flood of party posts. One friend was brave and honest enough to admit that she sometimes felt sad and lonely this Christmas season. I admire her courage. Her openness reminded me that I was probably not the only one to be bothered by Christmas blues this year. Some people even probably have it worse, because there were at least many days and moments which I genuinely enjoyed this December. Of course, I am aware that there are surveys that inform us that many people tend to get depressed during the holidays. Sometimes though, it is easy to forget such statistics when you live in the Philippines surrounded by fun-loving Filipinos.
Now that I remember, I just wanted to say this to all my family, friends and readers who may be feeling down this Christmas season:
1. “You are not alone.” Do you feel isolated because you feel depressed during a season where society practically forces us to be cheerful and gregarious? You are not a freak. There are more of us than you probably think. Many of us are ordinary people living our ordinary lives, but even famous celebrities and Kpop stars are not immune to depression either. Some may be open about it. Some may be shy to admit it because they don’t want to be party poopers during the holidays.
My point is not that we should be happy that other people are also sad. My point is that you are not as strange as you think. And that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Yes, even on Christmas.
2. “Wait. And hold on. It WILL get better.” I had a terrible day recently. As in really terrible. I wasn’t simply in a depressed mood; we really experienced something ugly. No need to share the details. I felt so bleak and glum that day. It was doubly hard because I was already feeling significantly better physically and mentally after I began my Live4Infinity Life Project. I felt discouraged. I asked the Lord how I would get completely well when problems kept coming in even when I’ve barely recovered from the past ones.
However, since it was not my first time to feel down, I also knew that I couldn’t trust my emotions of hopelessness. I reminded myself that life has gotten better before, even when I felt it never would. And I knew deep down that it would get better again this time around. So I held on even if I couldn’t cheer myself up like I usually do. You know what? It did get better. I’m alright again now. I even had a great time the other day during one of our rare days off this December. And while my body feels like crap right now, I still feel fairly cheerful even if we got home past 1 a.m. from a catering tonight/today.
Speaking of interesting times this December, here’s another one: My unexpected TV shoot as a Santa Claus extra for “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” 📺 📽🍰🎬 📺 The basis for my cranky Santa Lauren cartoon 😂 #LaurenMacDoodles #BTS #BehindTheScenes #KMJS 12.01.2017
If you feel that you have no hope, your emotions should be acknowledged by yourself and others. I acknowlege that your feelings count and that they shouldn’t just be dismissed lightly. It does suck to feel that way. I know because I’ve been there. It doesn’t mean though that there really is no hope for your future in reality.
So cry if you have to. Rant if you have to. But please hold on. Kapit lang.
3. “Jesus experienced it first.”
As I finished assembling the nachos salad in the background while the talented, dedicated choir members prepared for their Christmas cantata, I realized something: Jesus was also in the background, even on Christmas day. It might not seem that way to us modern people, who have grown up with baby Jesus as the star of the nativity scene every December. But in reality, when Jesus was born two thousand years ago, he was not in the thick of things at all. He spent his birthday in an obscure corner of an obscure place. Because He chose to.
During a catering for a good pastor’s outreach in a simple but large barangay covered court, which was a contrast to the modern, airconditioned buildings where my mom usually caters, I realized something: Jesus lived simply. Jesus lived in the real world. Jesus was not afraid to get dirty. He chose to be born in a manger, which has been romanticized as the years went by, but was probably a stinky, dirty place in reality. I bet the roomy barangay covered court was a palace compared to the manger. Now, I’m not a historian, but I do know a few basic things: In mangers, there are animals. And where there are animals, there is animal poop, as anyone with pets will know. If we think our lives are crappy, just remember that Jesus was probably exposed to literal crap on His very first day on earth. But He didn’t mind the stink because He wanted to be with us that much. His love is the kind of love that sees beyond crap. Beyond the crap in our physical surroundings. Beyond the crap in our wounded human hearts.
#LaurenMacDoodles #BTS #BehindTheScenes #Doodles ✐ 12.22.2017
While sitting on the stair steps of the mall with Mama Uni and Manay C the other night while we were waiting for our Uber, I realized something: The world looks larger when you look up from the bottom. I quietly gazed at the cloudy night sky and the tall buildings with twinkling lights. I felt contented as the evening breeze gently cooled off my sweaty face. It felt like Jesus was sitting right next to us.
If you feel like you’re not in the thick of things during the holiday whirlwind, you’re in very good company.
Whether you are feeling merry or crappy, I wish you a Christmas full of truth, healing and hope. That’s what’s it really about.
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:11)
#Live4Infinity #LifeProject by #LaurenMacDoodles #LaurenVMacaraeg: “HAVING A CRAPPY CHRISTMAS? JESUS EXPERIENCED IT FIRST.” #Immanuel #GodWithUs #Christmas #ChristmasBlues #Holidays #Philippines #FoodieFun 12.23.2017 🌟
#ProjectHEAL: #Openness #Honesty
#ProjectTIME: #Immanuel #GodWithUs #LaurenAndMamu #MamaUniAndMe #Cutie #CutieTheCat #Family #Friends #2017 🐱
#Healing #MentalHealthAwareness #MentalHealthPH #Depression #FaceOfDepression #AnxietyDisorder #SuicideAwareness #PhysicalHealth #Health #Wellness #Love #Family #Friends #AmazingGrace #LoveIsSpelledTIME #GodWithUs