Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reflections of a Breakup XII: Full Circle

A little less than a year ago I penned the second of my journal entries "Reflections of a Breakup". It was last January, the day Jay and I took down our last Christmas tree. It was a sad day as we divided all of the ornaments and such we had collected together over the years. Today I've come full circle from that point in time. Today I put up my first Christmas tree.

I moved directly out of my parents' house into an apartment with Jay. I've never lived alone and I've never had my own Christmas tree. Throughout our relationship, Jay was always the one in charge of any décor. It was one of his roles. It was a problem once he left and I had to decorate the house pretty much from scratch, and I did okay with it, but the prospect of doing it all over again with Christmas was simply something I wanted to avoid. I contemplated not putting anything up at all, but as I began to see signs of Christmas lights and decorations all around me, I eventually decided I should do it.

When we dismantled last year's décor Jay ended up with the Christmas balls that give the tree its base look, and he got all of the lights, as well. I'm sure I told him to take them. I just forgot! So I pretty much had to start from only the very little I had for a tree.

I spent the afternoon in my local Target, spending an hour in their seasonal department. The choices of ornaments, lights, garland, etc. was overwhelming. I always have trouble making decisions, and choosing items for display in my home is even harder. I knew the colors I wanted for my tree: blue, with dashes of red, silver and white. After a lot of agonizing, I finally chose my decorations and lights and left the store with my new Christmas décor in search of a tree.

Growing up, we had always had an artificial tree, all nice and neat, no fuss, and no muss. Just place the colored wires of the branches into their matching holes in the 'trunk' and voila!, a perfectly shaped fake tree. Jay, on the other hand, always had real trees, and he brought that tradition into our home. I grew to love real trees over the years. The look and the smell of real trees make them authentic, imperfect and beautiful. A real Christmas tree was the only way for me to go. I headed to a local lot and picked out what would be my Christmas tree.

Upon my return home I put my head down and went to it. I quickly unloaded all of the bags from my car and ran to the basement to dig out the tree stand and any Christmas décor I had kept. For the next three hours or so I labored, first with the tree stand, then the tree, the lights, and all of my ornaments, new and old. I added candles, Santa's, snowmen, and reindeer here and there to round out the feel of Christmas in the house.

I ran out to the garage and grabbed an old box of ornaments belonging to my grandparents. My nana's been gone for a long time and my grandfather passed away last year. I lived with them for awhile in my younger days and they were both very special parts of my life. So I picked out a couple of gems and added them to my tree for good measure.

Looking back on my day, the entire process made me feel better about myself. Throughout my relationship, my self esteem often waned, my ego not getting enough propping up from my other half. I realize that when you're alone, though, you get the same thing because there's no one there to stroke that ego for you anyway. Sometimes you've got to do it yourself. Self image is nothing but attitude, and going through as simple a process as putting up a Christmas tree helped me to realize that I can do more than I give myself credit for. I stroked my own ego, and I've got my head held a little higher today. I did it all by myself, and I think the tree came out just great! What a difference a year makes!

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