Ah, Christmas, how would I yearn for thee with all my heart.

I don’t know about everyone else but Christmas, in addition to what it means from a Catholic faith standpoint, is a special time of respite for me. Back when I was young I would cast aside all worries about school and feel free and unburdened from everything during the accustomed Christmas break.

The amazing relief of not having to wake up early and no homework or tests to worry about was just pure bliss. It was three or so weeks of me and my video games in a Christmas vacation that’d usually end mere hours before my birthday.

And don’t get me started on the food, oh man, the food…from the Hallacas that my mom and grandmother made, to the Pernil, my aunt’s salad, and the quintessential Pan de Jamon, all of it was worth waiting the whole year for. Those wonderful times are unfortunately, faint memories now, never to return. After all that I’ve been through in the past years, Christmas just hasn’t been what it used to be for me, no matter what I do, and no matter how hard I try.

Had this year had gone more in my favor and things gone according to my plans then I would certainly not be writing these words from the confines of my small bedroom and instead, would had written a completely different type of personal post, as it would’ve been the first Christmas that both my brother and I would’ve hypothetically spent on a different country. The first of many, in a hypothetical new life that after nearly four years of fighting, hasn’t materialized yet — because while 2021 gave me some good things, it also dealt me a series of resounding defeats and setbacks that I’m still trying to recover from.

But beyond the hypotheticals and the what ifs, one fact remains: both my brother and I will have to spend another Christmas alone, just the two of us. As much as I enjoy his silent company, this doesn’t get any easier for the two of us.

In a practical sense, this Christmas is a more ‘normal’ one than last year, much more normal than last year’s for sure. The circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic are something Venezuela as a whole has fully adapted to live with, much like the resignation of any political change in the country.

Life simply goes on as usual, and the spirit of Christmas has made itself present, punctual as ever. You can see it in almost every street, which are rather busy these days, and in the people, as they carry on with their regular lives in addition to any of their Christmas-related affairs. Everyone is trying to have a Christmas depending on their budget and livelihood conditions, just as it’s always been the case down here. The country is a mess, but that hasn’t deterred it’s people from seeking festive joy whenever possible.

Yet, despite the relatively normal Christmas atmosphere and the overall air of stagnant tranquility that we breathe these days, it doesn’t really feel like Christmas to me. I can’t seem to grasp the festive joys of Christmas this time around. I cannot see its full colors, I cannot fully appreciate the music nor taste the flavors of the season, and I can’t seem to get any kind of respite.

At first, I completely attributed it to the lingering but still present feelings derived from my latest (and worst) defeat with regards to obtaining a US visa, plus the uncertainty of what am I going to do, or where should I flee towards if I can’t get a US visa — after all, my efforts, successes, and failures not only will determine my future, but that of my brother’s as well.

The weight of my piled up mental burdens have significantly worn me down lately and I’ve begun to self-doubt myself like never before, something that, I must confess, terrifies me. I need to regain my balance and get back on my feet, but I keep stumbling over and over, which is why I selfishly decided to detach myself from as much things as possible and seek some respite, because if I can’t grasp the spirit of Christmas then I might as well try to get some rest and distract myself through the one thing I can do: video games.

Be that as it may, I didn’t go too far with that endeavor until I had to focus on a new problem, in the form of my brother’s fractured molar. As it stands, we’re awaiting for his next consultation and the results of the panoramic x-ray to see what’s the best course of action. I certainly am a deficient paternal figure, but I’m all he’s got, and he’s all I got, I’m doing everything in my power to ensure his well being first and foremost.

I’ve barely been able to focus during these past days, and I’ve been sleeping even less than usual. Nevertheless, I keep trying to grasp the spirit of Christmas, not through a material and consumerist sense, but through faith and prayer, because what else can I do these days but to pray. I’m trying to find some form of solace so that I can renew my hope amidst an ever growing despair, and what better way to start than through the assembling of our Nativity Scene

Last year was going to be the last time we’d assemble this particular set, but, much like 2020, 2019, and 2018, things just didn’t go my way with regards to legally migrating outta here.

If we had somewhere else to spend Christmas, believe me, I’d be prepping up right now, as we desperately need a change of scenery, even if it’s a brief one. Unfortunately, we don’t.

I still don’t know what am I going to do for our Christmas dinner, but I’ll certainly go for something modest for the two of us. I will get my brother a nice present, I already know what he wants. As for me, so long as he’s ok then all’s good to me — I just hope his fractured molar isn’t a dire case that requires a lengthy treatment, so far he hasn’t been in any pain, and the dentist said that’s good.

My mom really loved Christmas, she irradiated that cheerful and joyful feeling that comes with the season with such ease, even during the final months of her life. I hope to be able to do that one day, to regain all of Christmas’ colors, sounds, and tastes, to be able to fully celebrate it once more with a joy most pure and genuine — one day perhaps…

For now, I will focus on my brother’s untimely dental problem and then I’ll try to renew my strengths for 2021. I’ll keep praying and hope that perhaps, the miracle breakthrough I’ve been longing for happens in early 2022, now that’d be something.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, something else, or nothing at all, I sincerely wish that you have a wonderful time and get to spend it with your friends, family, and loved ones.

Thanks for reading these words, my apologies if they’re rather self indulgent. Merry Christmas, I love you all.