I have seriously mixed emotions about the holidays.
I have spent the holidays many ways, in many places over the years: on the road, in strip clubs, with strangers, with friends, with friends families, in monasteries, all alone. Such is the life of a bipolar-multiple.
Growing up, the holidays usualy meant heated arguments over money between stressed out, angry parents. It didn't matter if we were happy or not as long as we had stuff we couldn't afford. I think my mother tried, she did a tree every year and that sort of thing. We were all so miserable the rest of the year under the tyranny of my step-father, I think we just went through the motions.
The holidays have never held strong ties to family for me. Interpersonal dynamics, in general, are a huge trigger and I get nervous and have panic attacks around anything that resembles a family. I do not personally "get" family. My skin is too raw and thin for a thing as rough as family.
Until last year, I had been spending the holidays as a reluctant "daughter-in-law" trying and failing at making things right between my ex-husband and his estranged family. That whole chapter was a disaster on so many levels, but Christmas, especially, seemed to shine a light on both my inner and outer poverty. I never had anything good to wear, because my ex and I were always so broke. I was typically unemployed. I was usually in the middle of a depressive funk with no energy to make anything so I would always show up completely empty handed. Oh the guilt! Holiday expectations are a king size drag, man.
I don't know. Just trying to think about all the feelings I associate with the holiday season is overwhelming. I have had a weird life and the holidays feel like a magnifying glass upon all my weirdness.
This year, is really very different from all the others. I have a home, a real home. I am safe, free from hunger. I am medicated and under the care of a doctor. I am calming down from a lifetime of weirdness. I am in love.
We are going to stay home and celebrate quietly with our kitties. I feel selfish taking David away from his family for the day, but I can live with that. I'm still not talking to my mother; she was the last of my "real" family. the whole thing makes me sad. I don't feel up to dealing with the personal trials of morphing into someone else's family for the holiday. I'm too tired, too broken.
I hope your holidays are whatever you need them to be. I hope they are peaceful and that the spirit of the season is allowed past all the stress and expectations we place on these two little days. In other words, Happy Thanksgiving and "Merry Christmas, but I think I'll skip this one this year."