Blegh, generic midwinter gift-giving holidays.

So, my family had to move Christmas to this past weekend due to my little sister planning to spend the actual Christmas eve and day with her boyfriend’s family in New York. She was horrified to miss out on so many traditional things, as she’s grown up her whole life as far back as she can remember with them. Me, most of them didn’t start until I was twelve, thirteen, so they’re nice but it’s not the end of the world to change it up a bit. There have been a few years since I moved out that I haven’t made it up at all. This is my sister’s first Christmas away from home.

I spent yet another holiday this year feeling out of place, like I didn’t fit. I’m the oldest of my cousins (other than one who lives on the west coast that I haven’t seen in years) and by a significant margin. The ones who are local to my parents are all younger than my sister, and thick as thieves, at least the older two boys. They all palled around with my sister and her boyfriend. They incited a wrapping paper snowball fight with one of my uncles that I was the only one protesting and frustrated me to no end, especially when a ball landed by a candle on the dining room table and almost caught the table on fire. My brother and eldest two stepsisters had kids to worry about. My younger two stepsisters and my sister all have significant others they were fussing over. As much as I love spending time with my nieces and nephews, I’m not used to a bunch of kids at once, and I was surrounded both on Saturday and Sunday with kids and siblings busy chasing said kids. It made me very uncomfortable and gave me a migraine from the noise and constant activity.

I’m the only one out of seven without a significant other, children, or both. I’m also the oldest. (I’m not counting my older step-half brother, as he hasn’t come around in years, but he is also married, I think anyway, and has kids.) Even though there’s no pressure that’s actually been verbalized, I feel a bit like a pariah. I also feel like I don’t deserve that sort of happiness, and that I’ll never have it, which I know I’ve mentioned that I’m working on in therapy. There’s also the silent pressure about my weight and a lot of health trolling. I love my family, but I make myself crazy around them, and end up hovering at the periphery and feeling ostracized, though I’m not sure how much of that is actual ostracizing and how much is me doing it to myself out of my own insecurity. It’s funny- I can be confident and full of self-esteem when I’m at my own house, in my new town, but whenever I go to my parents’ it’s like I’m an awkward, unsure teenager again. I feel like I’m under constant scrutiny and end up in tears at least once. I don’t know how much is being inflicted on me, and how much I’m inflicting on myself. My bet is it’s a pretty even mix, leaning towards most of it being in my own head.

In slightly different news, my mother completely surprised me this year and bought me a Kitchenaid stand mixer. I’ve coveted hers for years and I can’t believe I own one now. It is an absolute beast that weighs a ton, and chances are good that it will outlive me. I love machines that are built to last.

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4 Comments

Filed under Civil Rights, Now

4 responses to “Blegh, generic midwinter gift-giving holidays.

  1. I’m sorry you feel pressured. My family is a bizarre opposite of that, and is also the reason I object to people talking about their toddlers growing up and getting married as though it’s a given – at 30, I am the youngest of five children. I am the only one who’s ever been married and one of only two in a long-term relationship. My mom is 70 and has no grandchildren. It isn’t a given, it’s never a given – and what if a child turns out to be asexual and never has a partner, what if a child turns out to be infertile or for other reasons chooses not to have children of their own? That kind of thing is really demonized and it really bothers me to see people load such a barrel of expectations onto their children.

    • I have told my mother many times not to expect grandchildren from me, as I certainly have no intentions of actually having a baby. I might at some point in the future adopt, or maybe marry someone who already has children, but those are pretty much the only way I will ever be remotely a parent. I’m really happy being an aunt. I get to spoil and then give them back.

      It is awful how we’re all groomed for it by society at large from such a young age. I hope to see that change, at least somewhat, over my lifetime. After all, my great grandmother was 100 and she firmly believed that interracial couples shouldn’t be legal. I hope, when I’m 100, that I’ll see that same sort of social change, especially with regards to GLBT rights, and maybe in places I never expected it. I’d like for people to just be allowed to do what they want and be who they want, without heaping so much nonsense on them from the get go. It’s hard to fight your way out from under a mountain of expectations and requirement and prejudice.

  2. dude, really? I mean seriously? It’s like our Christmases were written out by the same sick twisted writer. I have the exact same experience as you did, with the significant other issue, the kid issue (I have 3 of my own but mine are well behaved unlike the obnoxious ones I had to deal with) THE WEIGHT ISSUE (huge issue, right?? especially this season for some reason?), the whole feeling of ostracism and tear-inducing incidents. And I too am struggling with figuring out what I cause and what really is in reality being done TO me. I specifically didn’t take my meds for a few days because I really wanted to get drunk (last year’s drinkfest was the best and I wanted it repeated) and it got me thinking about what was in my head and what was tangible. Wow, I soo totally wish we could be flies at one another’s gatherings so we could help each other out…

    • What’s sad about the weight issue is that the holidays are all about eating delicious food. How am I supposed to eat the delicious food someone made and wants me to eat when they’re giving me the evil eye for eating their delicious food because *gasp!* it’s loaded with calories? I will never understand it!

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