I don’t have them.

Neither old toy trains nor calluses.
Not where they would be helpful anyway.
The calluses, not the trains.

I don’t have the scarred heart which is made of steel and strength,
having undergone countless bombardments,
tests of mettle and flexibility
Which render this organ easily able to keep a steady beat
Even among days of dischord.

It’s been a week of attempting to excel
Or at very least maintain an equilibrium I don’t feel like upholding.

I don’t feel hard
I feel soft and squishy
but not in the way of sponges
where you can hold so much
while retaining your inherent shape
and structural integrity.

I feel like whipped cream that went one whirl past perfect
and has settled back into just being something that would ruin cake.

The thing is,
I don’t want to be hard
I just want to be consistent enough to feel like progress is being made.

It feels as though giving myself permission
to sluff it off
to backslide
to opt out
to capitulate to feeling a bit directionless
and eating unhelpful food because it’s easy and contains nostalgia
Doesn’t help the way it used to.
If it ever did.

I wondered if I should get a tree.
I wondered if I should decorate.
I wondered if I should take some of my savings
and buy presents for everyone I love that I’m far away from,
which, to be fair, is nearly everyone I know.
(Spoiler alert,
I didn’t
because I want to buy a house with an actual piano and space for a garden, and foster kittehs.
There, that’s your present.
You’re helping me save for a house.)

I wondered if I should try to engage with some familiar traditions.
I thought, I’ll make some stollen!
Because mum did every year.

But then I’m just alone and missing her,
eating an entire loaf of bread
when I could have just binged on the marzipan
(which is the only part I really like)
(which I might still do).

The reality is,
the familiar traditions don’t apply anymore because
everything is different.
And honestly, I’m not sure I’m ready to make new ones.

This is my first christmas since she died that I’m going to be alone
(to be fair it’s only been one).
That is by choice.
And I think it’s really important to engage with how this feels
To sit with the quiet realization
That it won’t be the same as it was.
And though it hurts
and while it’s really not okay,
because that’s the nature of squishy hearts,
It will be
Because that’s the nature of calluses.

Just ask any halfway decent guitarist.

But not a ukulele player,
those strings are so soft.

Today’s song is Old Toy Trains by Roger Miller, though I’m most familiar with Nana Mouskouri’s verson, which might be apparent by the way I sing this.
Shoutout to the Northern Lights Winter Solstice Walrus at my shoulder, thanks to Aoife and her awesome painting parties.