Christmassy show-off

The last couple of days I have been trying to shake my feelings like you would shake a bottle of medicine before taking it. I want so bad to have a balance. I feel myself falling, on the wrong side. Nothing tragic has happened to trigger me like this. Nothing sudden. Not even a death. It is though, the accumulation of things I thought I had worked on and moved past.

It is Christmas season and all the years I celebrated Christmas with family conditioned me that this period is a get together with those we never chose to be family. A coming together despite misunderstandings and feasting together as one big happy family.

But honestly, if I reflect on all the times we came together to supposedly make merry, it was usually more than that. We chatter yayyyy everyone came. We prayed and ate together. We were introduced to one another. What my larger family put a lot of weight on, pioneered by my grandfather, is the introduction part, but only so we could get to know each other and not mistakenly marry one another. What rarely goes unspoken are the conflicts within the family. Grudges that don’t seem to have an origin. If it so happens that this topic is touched on, people are so proud to let go. So it becomes a tiring cycle. 

We mostly don’t recognize hidden agendas. There is too much hypocrisy. Everyone wants to rise above the other. Everyone wants to be noticed but not everyone is seen. We lay so much value on money. So of course who is seen is who has it. As unfair as the world is, not everyone has it. Unfortunately, some of those who have it will be the dumbest in showing it. The respected are those who give money. It won’t matter what the poorest in the family has done or sacrificed, they will rarely be recognized.

Something joyous recently happened in my family and I was over the moon about it. Unfortunately, with it came about poking of healed wounds and they are hurting. I am hurting I can’t even cry. So I decided to try to put these feelings down. See if I can work on some of them. At this very moment, I am struggling to believe that blood is thicker than water.

I feel angry with a sprinkle of bitterness. I have never been grateful to be far away from family like I feel right now. The last place I would want to be right now is with my larger family. I don’t want to share a meal with people who think you owe them your life. People who will stoop so low to remind you every chance they get how you would not have survived if it were not for them. People who act God.

I am deeply sorry for you who will feel they have no choice but to be in the midst of family you have nothing in common with. I am sorry for you who will have to take insults decorated in-jokes from relatives. I am sorry if you will shrink because you can’t talk back at them for the mere fact that they are your elders and your culture will curse you if you do. I feel sorry for you who will be bullied by your cousins who reign in money. I feel sorry for you who will be paraded in front of others to be given handouts (call them gifts or whatever) by your rich uncles and aunties.

I feel sorry for you who will be belittled for living your life as best as you know how because it doesn’t match their standards of achievement. I am sorry for your introverted self that will hide from those relatives you don’t like, who make it unbearable until you have to go home. I feel sorry for you who will be openly judged by showing up empty-handed not by choice but by your inevitable circumstances.

To you that have felt spoken to by the above, I‘ll tell you this, go to that gathering if you have no choice. Take the good. Eat the food and drink your bladder full. Be your best version if you can. Don’t take bullshit from anyone because you honestly don’t owe anyone your life but God. I pray you get the strength to leave and the knowledge to know when so you can breathe. Do not compare your life to theirs. Each has a different path. Believe in your path.

You who feel like me at this moment, I think it is okay to detach if you feel you’d otherwise drown. I never used to get why families fell apart but now I believe in that possibility. We can’t string along toxicity to the grave. That would be a sad legacy. Maybe it will feel differently at some point and you will want to fight, go ahead and fight for what you believe in. You can also feel disgust towards these certain people whose only goal is to suffocate you and make you feel small and love them at the same time. It’s confusing I know, but love is so strong and free, and if it knocks let it in.

For you who make others doubt themselves yet you are family, check yourself. You feel almighty and untouchable you choke others but at what end? Pray that you know peace and experience it.

I feel a lot better now than when I started the first paragraph. After all, my bottle of feelings feels a tiny bit even. I know I didn’t let you completely in but when I feel ready I just might. I give you snippets like these not only hoping that my proud family stumbles on them but also honestly I can’t be the only one in the world feeling like this. Maybe some have it even worse. This is for you, the underdog, the black sheep of the family, the outcast.

I will be working the night shift on Christmas eve. And because I do not want Christmas to lose meaning, I will share a meal with the family that I have chosen. My equals. People who see me for me. People I don’t pretend to like. I want pure laughter. I wish that for you too. And as you make your merry stay safe.

Merry Christmas.

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