Yea, I’m Different…I’m Just Me
I’m that weird lady who would rather be alone on holidays. Really.
When I was married to my second husband (he had the best personality and attitude of the three), I remember how holidays played out. This was back in the late eighties up until the late nineties.
Marriage 1, 2 & 3…
Marriage #1 lasted 8 years.
Marriage #2 lasted 8 years.
Hey, maybe there really is something to that “seven year itch” people talk about.
Marriage #3 lasted 13 years, and that was at least five too many.
Back To Husband #2…
His parents were lovely people. Truly. They were the parents I wished I’d had.
But come rain or come shine, about 30 minutes to an hour before leaving to go to their home for a holiday dinner, I’d panic and back out.
My innards would begin to get twisted and my heart would start to race.
And husband #2 would say: “Oh, not again!”
He didn’t like having to make excuses for me. And I hated that he had to do it.
If we knew then what I know now, it would have been easier all around for everyone, I think.
It Is What It Is…
I’ve always loved being alone on holidays.
I’ve had neighbors say: “Oh, if I’d known you were going to be alone, we’d have invited you!”
(I was mighty careful not to let anyone know if at all possible.)
I don’t know about other people on the autism spectrum, but I don’t think I understand what it feels like to be “lonely.”
There is alone, and then there is lonely.
Lonely isn’t really in my vocabulary.
When I’m Truly Happiest…
I feel most happy when I am alone. With my pupsters of course.
I’ve planned a nice little Thanksgiving dinner for myself.
And the great thing is, I get to break all the rules!
For instance, I picked up a pumpkin pie from Braums (I SO love their pumpkin and pecan pies. I could not possibly bake one better. And I have baked many) on Sunday.
I didn’t have any extra room in the freezer. So I just put it in the fridge and started eating it Sunday evening.
A full four days before Thanksgiving.
And by Thanksgiving Day, when everyone else is just slicing into it, I’ll be relatively tired of it. Or it will be gone.
To me, it doesn’t make any difference if I eat it on that day or four days before or four days after.
When It Comes To Holidays…
I seem to be better able to break out of my rigidity when it comes to holidays.
When everyone else is stressed out and scheduling meals and wondering if there will be any family arguments, I’m chilling and breaking out of my usual mold.
I can take a few days a year and totally not adhere to a schedule.
Well, to a point of course…
All those years I spent flagellating myself because I just couldn’t bring myself to sit around a table with a bunch of people; well, those days are behind me, thank goodness.
I mean, when my kids were still home, I managed to get through holidays like a halfway normal mom. I cooked, I cleaned, I halfway socialized.
My daughter and I have had this discussion about holidays, and she knows how I feel. I know she doesn’t mind that this is simply the way I am. Actually the topic doesn’t even come up anymore.
I love my children and I would do anything for them. But they’re grown now.
Now it’s just me and the pupsters
This Is Who I Am…
I now just accept who I am.
“My name is Brenda and I happen to have Asperger’s Syndrome. And I really prefer to be alone on holidays.”
I’m not less than everyone else. I’m not better than everyone else.
I’m just different.
And finally, that’s okay.
I hope you have a blessed and contented day with good sights and sounds and flavors.
And I hope the same for you!
Oh Brenda this is such a true meaning of a serene holiday to just be in your sweet little home able to do all you desire on a given holiday without those crazy schedules and all that is expected. Enjoy every moment and we all would like to enjoy as you will be. As a matter of fact my hubs and I will be alone on Christmas Day but I am so looking forward to it as Eve will be with family and rushing around to the expected schedules etc. Thank you for sharing all you do it is helpful even with friends who have other types of social issues, makes it clearer and one can appreciate how difficult it is to deal with life. Many blessings to you, your daughters and their families also your fur babes! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving! Grateful for you and your fabulous blog! Robin in NYC 🙂
I'm glad you're not having to rush around to satisfy the ubiquitous schedules! I think a thankful day should also be a pleasant day.
I wonder how much of your feelings about holidays actually stems from your childhood? It's amazing how the older we get the more it influences our lives. I always thought it would be the opposite. I don't believe that anymore. Peace
I don't know. I wonder that as well. Who's to know? And peace to you.
Wishing you and your pupsters a very Happy Thanksgiving in your sweet home!
Thank you, Carolyn! Same to you and yours!
Have a lovely day tomorrow! We are having Mexican food — already did the traditional thing.
I'm just getting around to all the comments and so it is already Thanksgiving. Glad you're having Mexican! I'm having Marty's recipe of chicken breasts in the crock pot. My daughter wanted to know if I wanted her to bring leftovers, and I told her that was very sweet, but I've got it covered.
Thanksgiving is not a traditional holiday where I live. But on some traditional holidays I prefer solitude. I love gathering with family and friends, but not always. And I prefer small gatherings when I do meet up with loved ones. But I really prefer to be alone on most times… I am a wreck without frequent solitude. Hope you have the most beautiful Thanksgiving with your pupsters, Brenda♥
I am a wreck as well if there is much going on and I can't have my solitude. Which isn't much of a problem in my life at this point. Holiday or not, enjoy this day!
You better believe that is A ok!! Think of what a better world it would be if we accepted each other – really accepted each other, without the expectations – enjoy the day!
I think it would be a MUCH better world. So many different cultures. America is indeed a melting pot of diversity.
Who's to say, one way is right and one way is wrong! We are all individuals and once you understand what makes you happy, then you've cracked it. Sounds like you have found your happiness x
I guess it's the code we have to crack. "The Happiness Quotient."
Brenda – I'm going to ask a huge favor – please don't refer to yourself as weird or different. I don't believe that you are either one. You're simply Brenda and you enjoy life, as we all should. You're true to yourself and very authentic. I've spent my entire life seeking acceptance and attempting to please everyone. I'm very hard on myself – I often refer to myself as an ugly woman. Brenda, I admire you and how far you've come. Hugs to you and the Pupsters.
I'm very hard on myself too. Being around people, I come home and think over everything that happened or was said and wonder if I did anything wrong. I think I've been programmed to do that after finding I don't measure up to the standards of loved ones so many times. Okay, won't refer to myself as weird. But before I found out I was on the autism spectrum, it was really all I could think of to sum myself up. Old habits are hard to break.
I'm not different in the way that you are. I don't love holidays but I can halfway enjoy the time I get to talk to my kids and hear what they have to say, but I have dreamed most of my life of living in a small cabin out in the woods. Or a tiny house in a small town where no one knows me. The older I get the more that seems lovely.
That's been my dream also. Doubt it will ever happen. But we can dream! Maybe as we age, we simply get tired of being around people. Maybe there is a threshold that we cross.
Such a good blog offering today, Brenda. (We should always eat the desert first and then the meal!!)
Why not? Who came up with dessert being after the meal anyway?
Well, I do not have Asperger's, but I must admit that in spite of coming from a large family, (9 children, I am the oldest), I do not enjoy large social gatherings. I managed when the kids were home and it was fine, but now that I spend holidays with one of my kids and they spend it with their kids and grandkids and sometimes a couple of others, I find I am so glad when everyone goes home, the loud noises stop, etc, and I can finally relax. It is very tiring to me. I love my kids and of course my grandkids, and now the great grandkids, but I do not thrive on the big get togethers like my daughter's do. I have one daughter who absolutely loves to entertain, cook big meals, and decorate for the holidays, but I just want to be able to go, stay the least amount of times necessary, and then go back home again to peace and quiet.
I do get lonely sometimes, but I find I have pretty much settled into my solitude.
My daughters love to entertain too. They didn't get that from me! Wow, you come from a large family!
Thank you for sharing. There were so many times I just couldn't go to my extrovert husbands functions. I hated them! I always beat myself up and I couldn't understand why??? I did holidays but only because it was family and they know me. I don't know if I'm on the spectrum (my daughter is) so I understand completely. I'm learning after almost 60 years that it's okay to break rules. I don't know why it takes us this long to be comfortable. Sigh. Happy Thanksgiving! Clara
Why don't you Google Aspergers Online Test? That's what I first did when my distant cousin suggested she thought I was on the spectrum. It's really quite like the test they gave me at the psychologist's office. So a good indicator I think.
Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving! Celebrate it your way and be thankful!
I certainly shall! My meal is in the crock pot. I have a half-eaten pumpkin pie (getting a bit tired of it by now!) And the pupsters are asleep right here beside me.
i'm a cheerfully happy hermit.
i've been one most all of my life.
as a teenager i discovered 'walden pond' and Thoreau became my hero!
hermits are never really understood in our culture.
our culture always likes to label people who march to a different drummer.
the norm seems to revere BUSY and LOUD and RUSHING and GROUPS!
it doesn't seem to understand quiet and simple and content.
there surely must be something wrong with you if you simply love solitude! LOL!
my husband died of cancer when i was 34 after 16 wonderful years of marriage.
and now i'm 71. and i'm retired.
in my entire 25 years of working i always dreaded the holidays. for one reason alone. FIBS.
people were VERY KIND. so MANY invitations! and they simply wouldn't take no for an answer that i preferred being alone on the holidays. so i made up fibs about imaginary plans. THAT was more stressful than being alone! all those fibs every single year.
now that i'm retired there is no reason for fibbing and i totally enjoy each holiday!
one year on thanksgiving i ate popcorn and pumpkin pie and watched a marathon of 'leave it to beaver' re~runs! LOLOL!
and i have my own little traditions too. i always watch one of the parades in the morning.
and then sometime during the day… i watch BOTH of the movies… 'miracle on 34th street.'
i love the colored re~make of that one. it's WONDERFUL!
if it's beautiful weather i go outside. sometimes to walk. sometimes to just take a drive.
this year i'm having pizza and watching all the Christmas movies on the hallmark channels.
and like you having your pie all week… i made a thanksgiving casserole and have been eating THAT all week. so it's pizza for me tomorrow and it sounds YUM!!!
sending love and hugs to a fellow 'cheerfully happy hermit!' XO♥
I'm sorry you lost your husband so young. But I love how you celebrate holidays!
I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings in your cozy little quiet home with those sweet pupsters, Brenda – xoxo
And I know your daughters and your sweetie is likely there with you. But after the meals are over, pour yourself a nightcap and stare at the stars to relax, my friend!
You are in such a beautiful place in life and even though my place is different in some ways from yours there are similarities. I have come to accept many of my own "ways." I was always trying so hard to be the person I thought I should I be. But now I am just me and to some people I may seem odd, but it is who I am and this Thanksgiving I am really thankful that I have come full circle to acceptance.
Wishing you a very pleasant Thanksgiving.
We have to have self-acceptance. Sometimes I waver on that. But women get a lot of pressure put on them. Enjoy your holiday!
Bless you for being yourself.
Enjoy the holidays your way, Brenda. Being free from the expectations of others is something we've earned by the time we get to our age IMO.
I used to have a lot of social anxiety and would get so nerved up before having to go someplace that sometimes I would fake being sick to get out of it. And it wasn't that I didn't like the people. I loved them but couldn't face being with all of them at once.
It was paralyzing in my twenties and early-thirties but over the years it has gradually gotten better and now I look forward to the big holiday get-togethers.
And I am another who doesn't feel lonely. And I never feel bored either when I am by myself. I do feel bored sometimes when I am with others and they are talking about something I don't care about, like when my husband and his brother are talking about cars.
That's how I feel. I feel like age has earned me this finally! I can handle a couple of people (rather have one on one) but not a room full of people all talking at once. Just seems to overwhelm my senses.
Enjoy your T-day with your furbabes,they give us unconditional love without asking for a thing.
I'm widowed 10 years,frequently alone,never lonely with my BOOS in the house(my Bella & Buddy,2 tuxie cats with majorcattitude:)
Enjoy your pie,I'm working on mine,so far it's been breakfast and dinner!On 2 different days.
Oh, so you're rather unconventional like me! Yea!
It is very OK Brenda!
Linda, we've known each other a long time now. And we both find ourselves, at this juncture in our lives, in a very similar place. Both living alone, but happily. Happy Thanksgiving, in whatever way you choose to spend it. I'm so happy you have your new kitty for the holidays and after.
I used to have holidays alone when my husband took the children and I would plan some special event for me, a small thing, a special movie, time alone, walk on the beach and I loved it although I didn't tell too many people because I was looked at as strange. Being alone is fine as long as you aren't lonely and I enjoy my own company. I think it sounds great. Happy Thanksgiving!!
It's really sad that women fear letting anyone know that they actually love having time alone because they don't want to appear strange! And really, time alone is a gift we shouldn't have to feel bad about. It's necessary to our mental health!
Exactly right! That was a while ago and now I treasure my alone time with no excuses.
Thank you for sharing this. It is helpful to get your perspective. It informs my relationships and expectations of myself and others. (I think it helps me understand my mom better, also, because she suffered with anxiety and would also back out of family events sometimes for reasons never fully understood.)
I'm sure your mother punished herself far more than anyone else did for not being able to do "the expected." There is so much pressure for women at holidays. Men seem to get off easy.
It doesn't matter what you're doing tomorrow, as long as you are ok with it, and you are. Holidays can be a wonderful time, but they can also be a time of stress and self imposed pressure. Truth be told, a lot of that pressure actually comes from outside sources as everyone has expectations of what they and WE should be doing. To each their own, I say.
Yes, you're right. So many women are so hard on themselves to get everything just right that they don't get to enjoy the event themselves. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!
Not all of us want (or need) a Rockwell Thanksgiving. There are times that, if it were up to me, I would not plan anything special or go to any trouble. It's very freeing to know who you are and what you want.
And it should be up to you. It's too bad everyone has to plan around the family's expectations. I had a strange family environment from the get-go. So I never really expected holidays to be Norman Rockwell to start with. And now I'm kind of glad for that.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving. So glad you ate the pie first, and now a great meal for tomorrow sounds perfect.
Sometimes it's good to shake things up and do them backwards! Happy Holiday, Marty! I'm making your chicken and stuffing in the crock pot!
Self-acceptance is always a good thing. I'm glad you're comfortable enough to spend the holidays by yourself. You are right – lonely is totally different than being alone. As an introvert, I enjoy my own company, too (although I can drive myself crazy sometimes, lol). But I do truly love being with my family on holidays. No stress or pressure this year on anyone at all – we're going out to eat for the first time ever on Thanksgiving! The only downside? No leftovers! 🙂 PS – just came across this article today and thought you'd really like it. Actually, I think anyone would. It's called How to Keep Going:
Yes, it is. And I spent all those years just thinking I was weird. Well, I am weird, but now I know that I was born this way.
A good thing, to go out to eat a holiday meal without all the fuss. But those leftovers are mighty good. Maybe you can bring some home. Thanks for the article, Melanie!
You bet it's okay. I'm glad you are celebrating in a way that makes you happy. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!
And you enjoy yours. In whatever way you see fit.
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