Dec. 12th, 2011

canaa: (and mouth with myriad subtleties)
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As I saw somewhere else, "Any that will win me a $50 Amazon gift card."

. . . no, but really, I wouldn't call what I do celebrating so much as "anticipating and dreading in equal amounts." I'm not religious, so my celebrations, such as they are, are entirely secular. My family is Christian, so of course, when I celebrate with them, it's a celebration of Christmas in the Christian sense, but my own personal feelings and attitudes towards the celebration are based differently from theirs.

And of course I look forward to receiving presents. I already know that this year, I'm going to receive Skyrim, which is something I'm anticipating. But it's also a bit painful that I can't give much, since I'm extremely broke; I currently have about $200 to my name, if that, which is already earmarked for books for next quarter. Broke college student, that's me.

Now, I've been the sole gift-giver in my family before, during a particularly hard Christmas where I was the only one with any real disposable cash, and now it's my turn to be the one with very little money, but that doesn't make me feel any less guilty for this year. So that's part of the dreading.

The other part, however, comes from the fact that I am the child of alcoholics. Growing up, holidays were an excuse for my father to start drinking early and achieve new heights of inebriation; my mother, a recovering alcoholic and codependent, was often sullen and withdrawn, upset over having to do so much by herself (because god forbid my father help, and we children were a bit young to cook a turkey) and reacting in a typical passive-aggressive manner that I and my sister learned to imitate. Family times, difficult enough ordinarily, became excruciating.

Even now, holidays are difficult for my entire family; my father is no longer part of the picture, but that doesn't alleviate years of training that holidays exist to be berated on; that along with gifts under the tree, or presented on birthdays, come gifts of verbal abuse. That heaping helpings of turkey and mashed potatoes are garnished with liberal doses of scorn and insults.

The dread of holidays is getting better over time, which is something to celebrate in and of itself. The longer we're free of my father's poisonous influence, the more we all improve. This year will be the first time we celebrate Christmas with my new stepfather; my mother has been able to move on, put my father behind her, and trust again, which is a fantastic step. She's been so much happier!

And this year, that's what it's all about. The changes that this Christmas will be seeing, the progress we've all made. I'm back in school again and getting straight As this quarter, and I'm struggling a little but working through it instead accepting failure as natural to me and curling up in a little ball of self-hatred the way my father trained me to do. My sister and her husband bought their own home this year, a milestone they weren't sure they were going to manage so soon.

These are the things that I'm celebrating.this year. This is my 'holiday'. I'll be doing it on the 25th with my family, because that's when they celebrate their holiday, and that's okay.

Though I have to say, I wouldn't mind if they wanted to celebrate a little earlier. Want Skyrim nao plz.
(Can you tell I've been writing essays for school? I wasn't even trying, and I laid this out like an essay.)

June 2013

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