I don’t get to go home for the holidays… so I cried myself to sleep a couple nights ago.
This is the first holiday I don’t get to spend with my family, and it’s a big deal. I belong to one of those families who sits down and eats homemade pizza every Sunday. We gather around, talk about our lives and argue about politics. We have pizza, and soda, and usually ice-cream for desert. Sundays are a family day. Every Sunday, without fail. Breakfast is eggs, bacon, and cinnamon rolls with freshly squeezed orange juice from the tree in the backyard. Lunch is the traditional homemade chocolate milkshake, tuna sandwich and crinkle-cut chips. When I lived with my grandparents, I’d be there all day, and even when I didn’t live there, I might be there for lunch too, or only lunch on the rare occasion that I couldn’t make it to dinner.
Every holiday is the same way, whether it’s Thanksgiving, or Easter, or New Years. There’s a dinner going on at my grandparent’s house.
This year I missed Thanksgiving for the first time ever. Now I’m missing Christmas too.
This begins the weirdness.
I began to think about all of the people who don’t have this tradition in their lives. Who don’t get the magical holidays that I grew up with. Yes, there were and are still fights, but it’s family, and as much as they piss you off or you fight or even sometimes feel disconnected with them, you know they are there.
This year, that feeling was taken away from me. I don’t even have my own stockings or ornaments. All of that is at my mom’s house, and my 2nd stocking is at my grandparent’s. When I look around me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas, and even with all of the decoration around Los Angeles, I hadn’t even begun shopping until yesterday. It just didn’t feel real.
So back to other people, possibly even you reading this, I now understand what it’s like. I know how the Grinch feels, when he doesn’t want anyone else to have Christmas, because he doesn’t have it. The Bah-Humbug feeling that everything sucks, and something is missing. You begin to feel something is wrong. I began to feel something was wrong, but everyone else is fine and happy in the season, so I began to feel something is wrong with me.
Maybe this is why so many commit suicide around the holidays, because the societal rules which hang in the air mandate that those are bad, don’t get a Christmas. If someone is alone then on Christmas, without loved ones, or a reason to hang up stockings, inevitably the child inside begins to ask the question, “Was I bad?” Perhaps this helps, not to completely explain the higher crime rates with those who live in poverty, but as an added factor. Holidays, while meant to make members of society feel special, are also ways in which societal outsiders are punished, making them feel unworthy. Those who do not receive valentines are considered unloved. Those who do not spend Christmas with others are on Santa’s naughty list. People who do not receive a visit from the Easter Bunny are not considered special enough to receive a visit from a magical entity.
I began to distance myself from my loved ones, so depressed that I wasn’t going to be spending this time of year with them. How would I get a Christmas, if it wasn’t with them? And since I don’t get Christmas, had I been bad somehow? Did I do something wrong? I’m a 24 year old young woman, but suddenly I was a sad child, and it wasn’t until these questions popped into my head, that I began to put my finger on the real problem.
Yesterday I spoke with my mother, and we discussed how much it sucked not to be spending Christmas together. It’s my little sister’s second Christmas ever, so that makes it that much harder. We talked about how we were going to get our presents to each other, and what we were getting each person in the family. I spoke with my ex-foster daughter through email as well.
Then something magical happened, it began to feel like Christmas. A sucky half-assed Christmas, yes, but still Christmas, and I know that everything will be alright.
The moral of this really long story is, that yes, Christmas, sucks. Especially if you are far from home, and everyone you know is having fun, but pushing others away is not the answer. That’s how you get yourself in trouble. You may think that no one will understand, or want to listen to you complain about how your Christmas is crap, but they do. People care a lot more than you think.
And if all else fails, talk to me, because my Christmas sucks too.