Sadness, but Happiness at the Same Time What does December mean to me?
December means sadness to me.
December means rain that feels like it lasts forever, pounding on the windows and creeping into your head, filling it with cold water and wistful dreams of summer.
It means tantalizingly cold temperatures that can never quite transform the miserable drops of cold water into frozen flakes of bliss. I spend hours staring out the window, fantasizing of sparkling white fields and frozen breath that looks like clouds of smoke and makes everything feel more alive, despite the skeleton trees naked with their majestic robes of red and gold crumpled beneath them.
It’s a mediocre month, the transition from November barely noticed by the chapped-lipped, pale-faced people who dress in swathes of dark clothing and trudge through colourful streets, adverts screaming and vendors yelling. The jingles of bizarrely cheerful radio carols are juxtaposed with the funeral bells of twice as many people as normal.
I spend weeks slumped at a wobbly wooden desk, claustrophobia permeating my brain as I sit in a classroom steaming with the condensed breath of teenagers who seem ten times louder than normal.
It’s the climax of the year that comes too early but far too late, leaving unfinished homework sitting in my bag over the holidays, to be remembered at the last minute.
Each year December means less to me, the magic of Christmas slowly dissipating to be replaced with a dread that I'll never escape the clutches of Winter. Everyone around me is desperately trying to cross the finish line of the year, flinging money away in the spirit of a holiday that barely has a thread of spirit left. It means endless payments for things that bring joy until the mind clamours to be satiated with something new. Payments to cold corporations with a glint in their eye, your money in their pocket and our heart in their fist.
December brings an agonising excitement that forces every cell in the body to flash reed and green, sparkling with glitter to cover the thoughts of how there is yet another endless year ahead. Toasts to the new year forget that they are the same reflections as last year, forgotten after the shininess of a fresh start begins to tarnish.
December is cold and dead.
But December can mean more.
Sometimes it brings a gleam of beauty that shines behind the film of nothingness.
Sometimes it means Knitted jumpers and movies with my sister, both of us drowning in blankets and hot chocolate and the warmth of each other's company.
Sometimes it means kindness. I give what I have to someone who has nothing, so they can have a bed or some food or a toy for their child.
December means flashes of real joy that flicker across the barren landscape of consumerism. It means my brother looking in awe at the Christmas lights, it means my father laughing at the Christmas cracker jokes, it means ice skating with friends on water that looks like glass and shimmers like diamonds.
It means the excitement of my family on Christmas morning, bubbling over to infect everyone in the house with smiles.
December has taught me that growing up means things are less magical, but only because I make them so.
I must find my own wonder in the world. That’s why I stood outside under the dark night sky, staring up at magnificent velvet sky, in awe at the hundreds of stars that seem millions of miles away but so close to me. I was struck by the ever changing but always the same nature of the winter sky, clear and cold but full of warmth.
Even though I knew that stars are simply balls of burning hydrogen distorted by the atmosphere, I still stood there like a small child, entranced by their otherworldly beauty.
Those stars were not magical, but I made them magical. That night I was struck by the thought that I can make December mean more than an impenetrable cold.
I gave December have a new meaning.
Now it means strands of hope that are dangled like lifelines in front of me. It’s a reminder that bleakness can bring fragments of beauty, scattered like the spilled starlight on the endless black sky I stand under, marvelling at the expanse of the universe.
For all the sadness December brings to me, it brings a hidden happiness. I have to dig under the icy frost to uncover these little flowers of hope and carry them through to the New Year, because for every soulless moment of winter there’s a glimpse of spring.
From the ashes of December rises the flames of the New Year that promises anything.
That’s why to me,
December is sadness,