Monday, November 23, 2015

Holiday Talk

The holidays used to be something I enjoyed. While that's still the case in some aspects (I like holiday music, no shame), my perception has also changed a lot.

When I was younger we always had Thanksgiving and X-Mas even dinner at my Aunt and Uncles (you better believe we have the, usually, seven fishes going. I mean, I grew up in an Italian Catholic house. What else do you expect?). After my parents divorced things slightly changed. Until my Sister and I were old enough to make our own choices on where to go; Christmas eve was spent with Mom, Christmas with Dad, and they rotated Thanksgiving and New Years eve each year. It was structure, and something that remained as such for a long time.

Then, as they often do, things changed. My Mom bought a house and started doing Thanksgiving and Christmas there (when up until a couple of years ago my Dad would come by to see my Sister and I); my Mom's older sister was diagnosed with dementia and eventually stopped joining us for Holiday meals; people got married and had other families to visit. All of this change was difficult for me because I am someone who likes tradition, but even more so I don't like change.

But now it's not the change in schedules and structure that has skewed my view of the holidays, it's because I am no longer a child. Holidays, even when my parents were together, have always been spent with my Mom's side of the family (though my Dad's side was also involved pre-divorce). As with most family the usual, "what have you been up to?" and "how's____going?" Aside from my sister, there's two first cousins on my Mom's side. I dread questions such as the one's above. Why?

My sister is engaged, has a baby, a career (which she's moved up in both location and position wise), and before moving to her current place was living in her apartment with her fiance for at least two years.

My cousin, D, is married, owns a house he's lived in a few years now, and a steady career.

My cousin, J (the youngest of us) has a steady career, dating someone, and just moved into his own place.

Me? Single, lost multiple jobs over the past year, and moved several times.

What am I supposed to say? "Well, I've been struggling a lot with my mental illness. I have a hard time with suicidal thoughts, can't seem to keep a job or a steady job. But hey, I'm in DBT and actually doing well with progress for someone in my position!"

My family is conservative (my Mom and lesbian aunt are the most liberal of them). They aren't exactly a, "talk openly about mental illness" type of family. I've sent them information on what I deal with, and no one really responds. My Mom and Sister do a bit more, but only because they know me better.

Yeah, see why I don't look forward to the holidays as much?

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