ever since my parents divorced, the holidays have been a difficult time for me. i should specifically say the christmas holiday season, because thanksgiving died for me when my grandmother passed when i was 15 years old. it’s hard for anyone to have a tradition completely be erased out of nowhere and try and start from scratch to create a new one. and that’s what the holiday season always reminds me of these days…unfulfilled desires and erased memories.
my grandmother passed from cervical cancer when i was a teenager and thanksgiving used to be spent with her in bogue chitto, alabama. yes, that’s a real place – the backwoods. this was my dad’s mother, so of course this hit him really hard after already losing his father on the day after thanksgiving way back in 1999. jumping from house to house for thanksgiving or just staying inside and ‘celebrating’ became the norm for thanksgiving. i hated going from house to house, spreading holiday cheer when inside, i really was sad that the tradition i was used to just dissipated. it never was the same.
fast forward to my sophomore year of college. i leave for a summer program and my parents are living in the same house and come home and my mom has moved out into her own house after just 8 weeks of me being away. going home has never been the same since then, and the older i’ve gotten…the more complicated it’s gotten and the more expensive it is. in my own opinion, it’s harder to deal with divorce as an adult than it is when you’re a child because at least you have a longer amount of time to adjust to being shipped back and forth between parents. it’s not your decision – it’s really your parents’ decision to decide where you end up for the most part and there’s some equalizer at times to decide who goes where. that may not be everyone’s narrative, but it’s some people’s narrative. as an adult, you’re the one that decides where you’re going to go. it’s also an experience when you don’t live in the same state as your parents and have to procure your own transportation between locations and decide who you’re going to stay with, how long you’re going to be there, all that jazz. the holidays are just a difficult time and require a lot of running around and energy that i just don’t have mustered up in me anymore to front with.
every year when someone asks me if i’m going home, i feel a little bit of guilt inside, a little bit of hurt inside, and a lot of isolation creeping up on me. can you afford to purchase a car to drive between your mom and dad’s house because one doesn’t want to drop you off at the other’s? can you afford this expensive ticket to go home and what are you actually going to be able to buy them AFTER you already flew all the way down here? are you spending enough time with each parent while you’re in town? are you showing favoritism towards one? how is your regular life going to play out while you’re there; can you take phone calls from your gurls and have regular conversation in front of your family? will you see your brother? will you get to see your friends while you’re there? they’re all doing their own holiday thing so getting them together is going to be a task – i mean, you ARE the only one that doesn’t live in the same state as the rest of them. you WERE the one that moved away. will you and your stepmother have deep conversation this time? your stepbrother passed and that spirit still looms over your head (i miss you richard lee ragland, iii). how will you be able to step in and be the ‘son’ in place of your stepbrother being gone? how will you LEAVE when it’s time for you to go back to new york? waking up to eskimo kisses from your mother is annoying as an adult, but remind you of simpler, warmer times when you weren’t plagued by depression, anxiety, adulthood issues, and the like. will you and your brother argue or be able to spend time like you did when you were kids playing video games all day? is grandma going to be around to pray all over you while you are just trying to watch TV? good Lord, thank you for keeping grandma around all these years and my great aunts. but all that talking about my life and what’s going on – i barely even speak to my friends about all that’s going on. i barely even talk to my boyfriend about EVERYTHING that’s going on in my brain. wait, you have a boyfriend. how are you going to bring THAT up? do you even bring THAT up? what will your parents say? you remember them saying that they would slam the door in your face if you ever brought a man home to them. do you really want to go through that whole spiel of them making screw faces at you for loving someone that’s not who they anticipated you loving as they saw you grow up?
these are the thoughts that swarm me during this holiday season. and this is what forces me to just…
be alone. not deal with these realities or these thoughts. not feel all of these feelings. even though those thoughts don’t go away, the anxiousness of being at home doesn’t swarm me in real time. it just tends to flow around me like i’m being encased in a jail cell of words that don’t serve me. and i would rather stay away from everyone while i feel that way instead of deal with that real time.
i haven’t seen a christmas tree in my living grounds since 2008. not anywhere that i personally own. i don’t put up ornaments. i don’t put up anything that resembles holiday cheer. because i don’t have any.
i want that old thing back. i want to create new traditions. i want to have happiness this time of year. i want to feel love this time of year. i want to feel like everything and everyone is full of joy around me. the only person i speak to these days is my Higher Power and we just sit around in silence, as They take care of me. my spirit feels heavy, but He helps me to feel lighter. my Ancestors are the ones that have always looked out for me during this time of year and it feels like as time goes on, those that pass just come and surround me during this time of year trying to uplift me as much as possible to keep me from going crazy.
all i want to do is be alone. is that healthy? probably not. and fighting against that is a lot more effort than you can even believe. but this is my reality in 2018.
damn, i wish i could at least give my parents, my friends, my family… one long ass hug right now.
no wonder i’m somewhat of a scrooge around the holidays. this distance is a killer. but i’m gonna try my best to stay…light.