Stuff Scarlet Says.... About the Holidays, & Empathy ❤️ 🎄
I wanted to start by saying THANK YOU to everyone who showed me such an outpouring of love in response to my last post. I have been struggling with my mental health lately, and reading everyone’s kind and heartfelt comments made me smile when I didn’t feel like smiling. So thank you. I am so happy my art and my words speak to you, and I want you all to know- I see you, I hear you, and I am so appreciative of your support and light in my life.
I’ll be going through and responding to people’s messages in my direct messages on IG as I can. ❤️
The holidays are officially upon us and I hope more than anything that everyone who reads this is safe, happy and healthy. However, I know the reality is that, especially this year, this is a difficult time for many people. If you are one of the lucky ones looking forward to the holidays with unadulterated child-like excitement, I am genuinely happy for you. But if you feel a little depressed this time of year- know that you are not alone!!! And we will get through this time of year one day at a time. Things will get better.
The holiday season, although meant to be a joyous time of year, can really separate the “haves” from the “have nots”- and that can be tough to take. This is a prevalent phenomena at all ages- whether you are a child wondering why your friends got nicer toys than you, or a parent struggling to provide any gifts at all while the well-to-do children excitedly unwrap expensive toys, cars, clothes, etc. Wealthy people tend to go “all-in” for the holidays, and that’s amazing- for them, and their families. I think the biggest issue here is that we have, through hundreds of years of tradition, implemented the belief that the amount of gifts directly correlates to how well behaved the child was all year long. (This holds true at least within the widely-celebrated modern Christmas lore involving Santa, which, in my experience, the majority of families adhere to in our country, even if they are not necessarily religious or of the Christian faith.) The economic gap in our country is extreme, and the effects are felt in every part of our lives. It’s easy to see how this could have an adverse affect on children who are less fortunate. Often, this is a problem that is overlooked or dismissed by those who can afford to do so. It’s easier not to be aware.
Also, I am not saying that wealthy people shouldn't be able to spend their money on their kids. They should be able to! Being aware of how many presents come from Santa. vs. from the parents themselves is a good first step in leveling the playing field somewhat for less fortunate kids and parents. Or, perhaps considering getting that expensive gift they want, but not specifically for Christmas/the holiday season. Kids have a tendency to compare presents more amongst friends when the gifts are being given at the same time. Parents should be able to spend whatever they want to on their child, of course, but the goal should be to do it in a way that doesn't make a less fortunate kid feel like crap.
As the holidays draw closer, if you are an adult and are not close with your family, the lack of closeness becomes increasingly obvious, as your family-oriented friends either plan a way to bend the COVID guidelines to see relatives, or decide to adhere to the guidelines, but genuinely feel as if not seeing their loved ones unwrap gifts on Christmas is the greatest tragedy of 2020. (And hey, maybe for them, it is.) And perhaps the most difficult- in the tragic case of losing a loved one, the holidays serve as an unavoidable milestone without them, and a painful reminder of that loss. And these are just a few examples of extra emotional weight people might be carrying. The list of reasons is as long and unique as the people who are going through it.
None of this is to say, bah -humbug. I love Christmas trees and sugar cookies and eggnog and I absolutely love showering my loved ones with gifts, no matter the occasion. I am so grateful for the friendship and love I have in my life.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. That being said, I think it’s always good to remind ourselves that just because a certain time of year is happy and joyous for some, does not mean it is for everyone. It could be quite the opposite.
Save a little room in your heart for your fellow human beings who need a little extra love and empathy right now. We all are fighting silent battles no one else knows about, so a little extra kindness goes a long way.