The Holidays for a Broken Family Girl
It feels like just yesterday I was exhaling from surviving Thanksgiving, but now the big dog of all holidays is here. Merry Christmas. We are officially in the full swing of this year’s holiday season. For most people, this is truly the most magical time of the year. Although I can agree that this time of the year has an unavoidable presence in everything that we do, in my life, the holiday season acts as a constant reminder of unhappiness forced in my face everywhere that I turn.
Disclaimer: this post may seem like it was written by the Grinch if you have no personal experience or understanding of the matter, but I’ll try to explain.
You may think it is impossible to not get excited for the holidays when all the TV commercials are promoting their Black Fridays deals, and every shopping center is packed with people of all ages scrambling to buy gifts for their love ones with Christmas music blasting from the speakers. But for me, just imagining this scene makes me want to curl up in bed alone to eat ice cream with the blinds closed and no communication with the outside world.
Everyday between Thanksgiving and Christmas makes me cringe with discomfort and leaves me holding my breath until the New Year is underway. Even though this is the time when everyone is supposed to be the most thankful, and spread the most love and cheer, the picture perfect image of the holidays is an untouchable nightmare that haunts the hopes and dreams of a broken family girl (or guy).
Every year, I find myself mentally preparing to overcome the negative thoughts that flood my mind during the holidays. No matter how bad I try to not care, the reality of what holidays are like for me and my “household”, haunts my thoughts. The happy, go-lucky, love-filled spirit of Christmas is deserted from my life, and the idealistic holiday from movies and sitcoms taunts me of exclusion. It hurts me to not be automatically happy, and excited to celebrate as the world would want me to be. Furthermore, it hurts that I let these dark feelings masks the true meanings behind Christmas and Thanksgiving and subsequently, miss out on the blessings the holidays bring with the presence of their history.
I’m sure you’re ready to ask me, what exactly is making me feel this way?
Well that’s a complicated answer. I’ve talked candidly before in a YouTube video about “Why I Hate Christmas.” A dramatic title to cover the basis of the storytime where my mother cancelled Christmas because my brother and I were disobedient that year. Since that Christmas, where I was 15 years old, the holiday spirit in our household died. Not only did we not exchange gifts, but we no longer decorated the house, or made Christmas dinner. In one year, my outlook on Christmas vastly changed. I used to love the holidays, and then suddenly, this time of the year became vacant, left to be filled with memories.
Moving forward, an even bigger change in our family shifted not only Christmas, but all the holidays in our household: my parents divorced. This happened while I was away for my first year of college. Leaving me in shambles during my first collegiate break, when I travelled back to Maryland to realize that I no longer had a home to visit, only empty bedrooms, and a lifeless family room. Unfortunately, my parents did not end their marriage on good terms, and that left me and my siblings stranded to grasp onto adulthood in replacement of support from our family. As you can imagine, this impacted various aspects of my life, but there is something about the holidays, that make this pain the most uncomfortable.
It has been almost 7 years since I’ve had a “normal” Christmas and 5 years since my parents have divorced, but nothing has improved, therefore my anguish feelings remain the same year after year.
These past years, as I’ve grown into a young adult I've been forced to find a new, non-traditional support system in my grandparents, siblings, and friends when there was no home available to celebrate the holidays. No matter how much my parents tried to be there for me financially, or even physically in a different capacity, the adjustment in lifestyles has not been a smooth transition for me, emotionally.
I am able to place all of these discontent feelings on the back burner while away at school, or by getting my own apartment and traveling during breaks, but the world stops and glorifies love and family during the holidays, and makes it an impossible notion to ignore.
The good news is that I’ve experienced many great Christmas seasons before, and now more than ever I understand the importance of love and family during this time of the year. My story is far from finished, I am young, and I look forward to starting my own family in the future where I can honor Christmas and the all of the holidays. Experiencing the holidays as a broken family girl has been difficult, but I will truly be grateful for the time when I am able to control the love and feelings that I both give and receive from my future husband and children.
I feel guilty sulking in my broken family anguish during the holidays because this time is difficult for so many other people for various reasons: losing a loved one, having no family at all, having a no financial means to celebrate, etc. I recognize this, and keep it in remembrance while acknowledging my feelings, and their origin. Until then, I’ll be practicing positive thoughts until the New Year. If you can relate to the discomfort of a broken family girl during the holidays, know that you are not alone. It will get better soon!
Love and light,