Life is really complicated. That of course is an understatement of great magnitude. It is intricate and lovely and horrid and sometimes there really are no words for what life is.
Do you cringe when it comes to holidays? Not the holidays themselves. But the visits to see family and sit down at a lavish meal, and have awkward conversations with people you really don’t even like. Do you spend hours surreptitiously glancing down at your wrist watch to see if you’ve been there long enough to be able to say it’s time to leave without being rude.
And you know you will hug them goodbye and say: “Let’s not wait so long to get together!” And then you will get in your car and say to your husband or significant other: “Did you see what she was wearing? Oh my God! What was she thinking?”
Because, you see, family is complicated as well.
We are born into families not of our choosing. So the percentages are kind of against you right there. What’s the chance that you will love every single one of your relatives?
Nil to none.
I stopped going to family holidays a long time ago. I am uncomfortable and anxious the whole time, so how is that a holiday? How is that cause for celebration?
And for people like me that were born with less filters than perhaps 80% of the population, you are afraid that, at the very least, you are going to manage to offend someone while being witty. (And you’re witty, because that’s how you cope with being anxious.) And at the very most, you might end up with mashed potatoes in your face.
Family get-togethers are just not for me. I think at holidays we should get to do whatever we want. Celebrate in our very own way. Why do there have to be rules anyway?
Usually I am outside taking photos and watching birds interact. Or inside with my dogs being appreciative that they love me no matter what. I don’t know why someone said dog is man’s best friend. Men don’t tend to have or need best friends as much as women.
We women need our pupsters. Or kitty cats.
I use to get physically sick before holiday dinners. I’d turn to my then husband at the very last minute and say: “I’m sorry. I just can’t do it. (This was husband #2 who was the kindest one of all, and I should have realized that before I left him and ended up with husband and scoundrel #3.)
He’d have this stricken look on his face. “Not again,” he’d say wearily. “You did this last time. What do I say to Mom and Dad.”
“Tell them I just can’t. I don’t know. Say what you think is most acceptable.” And he’d sigh and go get in the car and head to the holiday dinner he probably didn’t want to go to either. But he wasn’t paralyzed over it like I was. So he was the token attendee.
I can’t begin to count how many holiday dinners I have not attended, and then sat there and felt bad because I was disappointing someone. And I felt selfish for doing so. But not bad enough to call him and say come back and get me.
Life and holidays are complicated. Relatives probably kill one another more than strangers. Who do the police look to after a murder? Well, the next of kin of course. Because who could get mad enough to resort to violence more than someone who had this love/hate relationship with them?
What do you do about complicated family and holiday get-togethers? Do you suck it up and grit your teeth and soldier on? Or do you have a long running record of being the no-show?