The Christmas of 2011 has to be the worst Christmas I have ever experienced. Everything about it was uncomfortable, I just didn’t know how to enjoy the holidays that year, although I desperately wanted to out of defiance if nothing else. I still couldn’t get past that feeling of wanting to be surrounded by friends one minute and wanting to be alone the next. I was beginning to really annoy myself.
Something really strange also happened to me during this Christmas, music lost its effect on me. Usually I can always be won over into the festive spirit the moment I hear ‘Santa Baby’ as the temptation to sing along is just too strong for me. However it wasn’t just Christmas music that had lost it’s fun for me, I wasn’t listening to any music. I remember driving home to Somerset for the weekend and the whole journey I sat in silence and just drove, so familiar with the journey that I didn’t even notice the countryside speeding by.
I was a little disgruntled about a request I put forward to my team leader at the time, I wanted to be able to work from home for the two days I was due in the office between Christmas and New Year, to be near my family when I needed them the most. I’d been there just over a month and I was self-sufficient and didn’t rely on anyone for too much support day-to-day so I thought there was every chance they would say yes. I didn’t want to go into details about my motivations, I didn’t want to go to pieces at work and I was likely to if I attempted to say what was going on out loud, so I just gave a lame request about the travel and wanting to spend the holiday with my family in Somerset. Needless to say, they said no and I was stuck going back and forth.
Christmas eve was one of the hardest days for me, for a number of years before it had been a fun time to spend with friends. Making the most of the party atmosphere before we all would spend Christmas day with our families. I’d been a bad friend to my girls from college over the past five years and spent more time with my gay family and making less and less time for them. So, it was difficult to ask them to be there for me when I needed them because I hadn’t been there myself for so long. I’d make it right over time, and I’d certainly never take them for granted again.
I wasn’t spending this Christmas Eve with my gay family. Instead I made plans with one of my old college girlfriends and her boyfriend to go out in town drinking. My parents were going to a church service with my brother and his fiancé, since they were due to get married at this church in a few short months. After that they would be going out into town themselves with their friends. So the house was empty most of the evening. I tried to keep my mind occupied but nothing worked. I went up and down the stairs just looking for something to keep me busy until I could meet up with my friends.
After a while it was like a switch just went off inside me and I was a wreck. I just stopped in my tracks halfway up the stairs and sunk to the floor and cried. It didn’t take long for sadness to turn into something a bit more productive, I refused to sit there and let misery have me so I called my mum, they should have been done at the church by now, I just asked where they were and if I could meet them, I just didn’t want to be on my own. Luckily they weren’t far away and the short walk to the pub afforded me just enough time to pull myself together so that I could pretend I was having a good time by the time I reached them.
I had a fair bit to drink that night but it didn’t seem to affect me. I wasn’t my usual laughing and joking self that night but I tried. I got through the evening and my friends made sure I got home Ok, it was really nice of them to share a taxi with me when I was heading in the complete opposite direction to them. These guys had been in my life so much longer than Lara, Heidi and Daryl ever had and there were there for me now even when I’d been an awful friend to them, it meant more than I could say and more than they probably even know to this day.
Christmas Day came and went and I was in a bit of a trance. Despite not feeling like I was drunk at all the night before I was feeling more than worse for wear the next day. I remember thinking ‘So this is what a hangover feels like…’ it was my first ever experience of one. When I look back now I feel really bad for Ryan and Gemma. My brother and his fiancé were hosting their first ever Christmas dinner, an honour usually reserved for our parents up to this day and there I was like a black cloud polluting the day.
It got worse when I realised that Ryan and Gemma and even my parents had wasted money buying Christmas presents for Lara. They weren’t under the tree and I’m pretty sure that where possible, they were given to someone more deserving, taken back or we enjoyed them together as a family. After Christmas dinner we all sat down to watch Sarah Millican’s DVD which was supposed to have been a present for her, I found myself laughing at the TV in spite of my black cloud and something of the day was salvaged after that and I attempted to eat my way through all the chocolates, pringles and jelly babies I could get my hands on.
Boxing day was an odd affair, I had always planned on spending it with my gay family. We were all supposed to head over to Daryl’s and have our Christmas together. I was stubbornly trying to hang onto my friends, I didn’t want Lara to win them in the break up so I tried to play nice and enjoy the evening as the four of us. I put my foot down about them not inviting Emma too since that really would be too much like salt in the wound. However much I tried though I wasn’t happy, instead of supporting me through it, they blamed me for creating an atmosphere and making things awkward.
I was stuck there with them all until I could get a lift home and it couldn’t come quick enough. I just couldn’t be in the same room as Lara and my friends didn’t seem to understand what I was going through. The way I needed them to be there and to be left alone at the same time, the way my moods shifted so easily over the smallest things, the anger and the hurt that was always there just bubbling under the surface… to me, it felt like they didn’t want to understand. They were too busy focussing on not taking sides to let me open up to them.
It was around this time that I made the plans with my rugby teammates and flipped out. I already told you about that in my last post and how that inspired Lara to contact the police and attempt to report me for harassment and the other events of that evening. However what was really irritating was knowing that she had reported me to the police yet I couldn’t defend myself against her allegations. I had to leave for London that night to do the two silly shifts between Christmas and New Year in London. So when the police went knocking on my door all they found were my parents, who then had the tough decision of whether to tell me while I was away in London or wait until I’d be back and the police would be knocking on the door again.
When I finally got the news, I didn’t take it well.