Joyeux Noël!

Christmas is here! Let me drink, let me sing. The ring of Joyeux Noël elicits a smile to my face. The simple beauty of the word joie sends a fleet of champagne bubbles to my head, while Noël sings along to my unique and badly rendered version of dreams and miracles.

It is a holiday for celebration, a season of grace, a time to sing.

I, myself, am not a singer. My voice falls flat, like the fat opera singer in a red sequined dress who has tripped over her gown and landed on big old bosoms.

That’s me. Flat and graceless. Applause?

One year ago, my fall came from PTSD. The experience and trauma of childhood emotional abuse was triggered in full regalia. Without pulling apart the dress sequin by sequin, let me just say I was afraid-afraid of the audience, afraid of my past, afraid of my identity, and afraid of the future.

Over the course of this year, I worked to pick up the shards of self and put them together, to face my demons and shove them over the cliff. It has been a clumsy act, but…

Courage is a gift. I used it.

Hope is a gift. I used it.

Voice is a freedom. I used it.

Understanding is effort. I worked at it.

Compassion is a gift. I allowed it.

Forgiveness is a gift. I gave it.

Mercy is a grace. I’m really, really trying.

Love is abundant. I’ll take it. (Thank you.)

…Christmas lasted all year.

Today, I am grateful. Grateful to have the delivery of gifts when I needed them. Grateful to have a heart who still laughs and loves. Grateful for the people who were on my side and by my side throughout the torment. Grateful to move forward with confidence. Grateful I am me.

And I am grateful for you, my lovely audience.

I hope this Christmas season brightens you with peace, nourishes you with love, and inspires you to sing. The best gifts in life are free, like you, my friends. I raise a glass to each and every one of you. Joyeux Noël!