Monday, November 23, 2015

An Orphan's Thanksgiving

I can't do light and fluffy small talk.

Even when I try, the basic questions like "What do you do for a living?" "Where are you from?" and "What is your family like?" open the door for a heavy synopsis on feminism, sexuality, and the corruption of southern culture that they didn't sign up for.

The other day, a friend of mind called me "eloquently confrontational," which was one of the best compliments I've received. The fact is, we all have our share of scars. Sugar coating them is just a flimsy emotional bandaid that ends up making us feel more isolated in our trauma.

I'm very open about my estrangement from my family.
This will be the third holiday season I've spent without them in my life.
The first one was devastating. For the second, I was moving on, but shaken up by the remnants of the PTSD from it all. But for the third, I am sincerely happy.

Thanksgiving is this week. When people ask me if I am spending it with my family, I answer with, "No. We've been estranged for about two years." Their expected response is,"Oh, I'm so sorry."
And I tell them not to be sorry because I am not sorry.

Our estrangement is wonderful!

My family dynamic was toxic and abusive, not because my stepfather was inherently evil and my mother didn't love me, but  because they were a product of a vicious cycle. While my stepfather was abused emotionally, sexually, mentally, and physically, my mother was curbed to live an enteral childhood that jives well with her husband's control.

I am not the only person who has been mistreated and ultimately rejected by my family for speaking out.  By speaking the truth and removing ourselves from that family, we have taken action to single handedly stop that abusive cycle.

Not only have I refused to be their victim, but I have channeled my turmoil into art that will help others who are going through similar situations. My outspokenness will encourage others to break their silence and be the change they want to see in human behavior. That is a really beautiful thing.

The most horrible people have blood relatives. Serial killers have blood relatives. We can't help what we were born into. All we can do is play the the best possible hand we were dealt.

For Thanksgiving, I am not spending $600 on a plane ticket to fly to a group of people bound by genetics, who don't even like each other, to celebrate a holiday that originates from the hostile takeover, rape, enslavement, and murder of millions of Native Americans, who will stuff their faces with a turkey that has locked in a cage, tortured, and pumped with hormones, only for us to show off our achievements, hide our struggles, observe who has gotten old, fat, and has made the biggest mess of their lives, only to talk trash about them to each other on the car ride home.

I am spending my Thanksgiving with a good friend whose obstacles make mine pale in comparison, who represents a beacon of hope, strength and optimism, and who always makes me feel stronger, happier, and healthier than ever before. I am spending my holidays writing, planning travels and adventures, and bonding with the people who positively contribute to my life.

My holidays of playing "fake family" are over.


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  2. I have to tell you I stumbled upon your blog and I am so glad I did. It must be "fate" because what I have read so far mirrors so much of my life. This article really hit home. I am still struggling with the estrangement from my Mother and Step Father - they only live 2 minutes away yet I see them out of guilt maybe 2 times a year. They are toxic to my life and I have had to shield my boys from them over the past 21 years. I don't attend holidays, but because my Sons are 16 & 21, they are old enough to have a relationship with them if they want to. Thankfully, it's minimal because they have experienced their toxicity.

    I didn't want children just to attempt to break the cycle. I am thankful I did have them, but because of my extremely dysfunctional upbringing by my Mother, I had to WORK at being a loving, caring, compassionate Mother. My husband has been my rock and has served as sort of my Psychologist helping me stay on the "normal" path if you will.

    I don't mean to write such a long comment, I just really want you to know how much your article means to me.