I love Christmas. I’m a Christmas nut. Perhaps the result of growing up on a Christmas tree farm. I love the music and the movies and the pine cones on the mantle and the gingerbread cookies my four year old insisted using the cowboy hat cookie cutter for. Christmas Eve is a very special day for me. But it’s also one of the 365 days a year I have at least a passing thought about my trauma. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
One of my favorite Christmas movies is “It’s A Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart (who is from my hometown, by the way. I used to volunteer at the world famous Jimmy Stewart museum) as George Bailey. There’s a scene in the movie where greedy villain Potter gleefully shouts “Merry Christmas to you, in jail!” at George. (I’m not going into the context here but I’d encourage you to watch it if you’re curious)
So, I have a Christmas Eve tradition that those of you who haven’t known trauma might find a little… odd. Creepy maybe. Depressing perhaps. I like to shout,
Merry Christmas to you, Jeremy, in jail!
Jeremy’s the one who did trauma to me(read about it here if you like). I’m an anomaly in that my rapist actually went to prison. Not many do. It’s a merrier Christmas this year and the next 40 of them for the little girls he was planning to traumatize. So, I don’t see this tradition as odd or creepy or depressing at all.
Christmas is a season of hope. What was the birth of Jesus if not the creation of a whole new hope for us all? Hope that there is something more than this fallen world. And hope, I’ve learned through my PTSD, is the stuff of life. Without it, we’re not dead, but not really alive either (read about it here if you like). My hope was resored when I recovered from PTSD. I like to think sharing my recovery on here could give other survivors in the purgatory of PTSD have some hope too.
I’m a big believer in speaking your truth, in the toxicity of silence. The time I spent singing/screaming in a riot grrl band were some of my most empowered. Maybe it’s the autism in me, but screaming is liberating for me. When the problems of life seem unsolvable, I scream and it helps. For so many years I was told be quiet about what Jeremy did to me. I was told it would ruin my career. I was told it was my fault, that I was a slut and I mustn’t advertise this. I have seen the damage this did to me and so, I don’t just speak my truth in this season of hope. I scream it.
Joy to the world, you fucker. Joy to you, little girls. There is hope.