Complicated…

No one looks forward to uncomfortable conversations. Some people do anything and everything to avoid the person and the conversation as long as possible. Others user a “bring it on” attitude and dive right in. Another camp talks to people they know about the impending conversation so they can prepare, all the while trying not to drown in anxiety and sadness because there is no real way around it. 

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The holidays will bring about the uncomfortable conversation for me and my family, and it sucks. My brother, his wife, and their baby will go home for Christmas to see the family and introduce him to friends and relatives. The baby will get to see his father in his old neighborhood and will experience the other side of his family. There will be a few people missing from this holiday experience – my aunt, two of my cousins (one died, one is in a care facility), me, and my husband.

Holidays should not be complicated. They should be joyous and celebratory, which is usually the opposite of our experience.  I love my family in spite of the holidays. Many of my most enjoyable holidays were spent with friends and their families around college time or have been peaceful because Husband and I were not the family, except for the Christmas my brother and his wife spent with us in Texas. When we still lived near our families, Husband and I had a hard time seeing both families for the same holiday because of the inevitable energy drain, conflict, etc. Over time, his remaining family is more or less nonexistent, and mine is best in small doses. The last time I was in the presence of my parents and overlap with relatives a little over two years ago, and it did not end well after we left the family gathering. My parents and I have recovered the best we can from the debacle, a story for another post, and I enjoyed the rest of my trip with friends and time to myself. My relatives were happy to see me and I feel fortunate to have spent time with my aunt, our last in-person visit before she died earlier this year. 

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This brings me to the currently approaching holiday season. After close to two years, the COVID thing is still lurking and is complicating people’s lives. Many people have natural immunity, while others insist on getting vaxxed and that everyone around them be vaxxed. Like many people, I fall right into the middle of this debacle. Most, if not all, of my immediate and extended are on one side of this while we are on the other side. I know a few people in the same situation but they, like us, have a few people on their side as well.  I don’t feel comfortable traveling during the holidays and leaving Husband alone, especially with the airlines in chaos, my job having legalized discrimination policies related to traveling and quarantining (punishing healthy people who make individual medical decisions), and the fact that one of parents shared that my brother and wife has already inquired about the status of family members. Oh, and they scheduled my parents for all of their shots. I have already expressed some thoughts on the matter months ago before this whole situation continued to progress and escalate to mandates in different cities and states, and even at the federal level. I have noticed communication with some members of my family have dwindled after a certain conversation with one person, um… so much for freedom and individual opinion. The unsaid uncomfortable conversation just hangs out in the atmosphere for now. It just sucks. Good time to use radical acceptance skills.

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As I’ve gotten older, my childlike glee for holidays has greatly reduced but does flare up around Christmas. I’m not a big decorator, but having little get-togethers with co-workers and festivities that make work enjoyable won’t happen again this year because my agency has decided against it. I have an office now, that doesn’t usually see more than me or a few colleagues due to back-and-forth restrictions. I’ve debated with myself about decorating for me and to contribute a bit to the building-wide décor or to skip it, but I’m still not sure… wait a minute, people can decorate several trees in groups but not have parties or meals together?

For the few people who might read this, I realize my opinions will stir up a myriad of feelings – how insensitive of you, how irresponsible, you selfish #!%&*(&,  f#ck those stupid Covidiots or good for you for standing up to the medical tyranny, and everything in between. As someone who has been sick only twice in the past two years, (right before the virus was unleashed and again right after jabs were widely available), I believe that I have a healthy, functioning immune system and that the most irresponsible people are those who perform ongoing medical experiments on a naively trusting public with no idea who this will turn out. However, I believe in personal freedom, mine and yours. All that keeps happening is that people allow themselves to be divided along the newest line in the sand that someone else draws and broadcasts it 24/7 on cable news until the world panics. 

On that note, I hope people can find some holiday cheer and that they can remember why holidays exist (other than to generate revenue for retail and travel industries) – family and friends celebrating and sharing. I pray for an end to the manufactured conflicts and emergencies, and for a resurgence of common decency, critical thinking, and humanity. I hope it’s not too late, or too complicated… cards hanging on Christmas tree

Recovering From The Chaos…

The past few weeks have been… interesting.

First, I had the long-awaited visit from my mother and my aunt, which went well for the most part. My mother and my aunt are the middle and youngest children, respectively, and they are very different in their opinions. Yet, they are both very talkative and competitive of each other, but neither would admit to this. Both women are in their mid-to-late 60’s , overweight, and they love me dearly. I was glad to see my mother and my aunt, but I  was disappointed when my mother became somewhat jealous of me and my aunt talking, as I enjoyed hearing stories about my uncle and eight cousins that I had not previously heard. My mother would interrupt, add to the conversation in ways that didn’t may sense and would throw zingers at both me and my aunt, which Boyfriend witnessed, rather than telling us how she really felt. There were even moments when my mother channeled my father’s impatience, disagreeableness and negativity, which surprised me. Boyfriend and I tried to plan a few things to do and places to go that would allow us all to spend time together, see some sights and eat good food.  The high points, for me, were their appreciate for Boyfriend and for his patience, good nature and how good he is to me, and learning about my family. The low points were two arguments with my mother because she said I was being negative.  To me, sometimes an apple is just an apple, not the most beautiful, tasty red apple ever! All I did was share my account of an event, so I walked away for a few minutes to collect myself, and the second time, when I actually told her how I felt, and she threw a fit in front of the Texas State Capital because I was being real rather than in the clouds. I love both of my parents but I continue to have trouble with the fact that they take it personally if I happen to agree with the other parent on something about which they disagree. Thank God for my aunt, who was not only understanding but able to somewhat mediate and salvage the day. Overall, it was nice to see my mother and my aunt after not being home to see the family for almost two years, and it felt good to share some of my life in Texas with them. My mother and I have talked since, and I think we now having a better understanding of each other.

Next, Boyfriend starts getting calls from relatives about his mother and some problems caused by his older brother. His mother and brother, as mentioned in a previous post, are both narcissists, and are enemies and best friends depending on the day. Boyfriend limits contact with both of them but did talk to his mother for her birthday (in March), Easter and Mother’s Day. The calls from relatives came somewhere in between, and culminated in Boyfriend’s decision to fly home for a few days to see for himself about his mother’s health and the accusations about his brother’s, um, shenanigans. The stories changed a little once Boyfriend started investigating and he found out the truth, which he already suspected. Let’s just say that, due to my dealings with these people over 12 years, I have much respect and admiration for Boyfriend being courageous enough to ask tough questions and stand up for himself in the presence of a women who does not deserve the title of mother due to her blatant favoritism, manipulation and standard  narcissist behavior, and he still put a plan in place for his mother to be cared for and helped. I don’t think I could have done it, but Boyfriend is the strongest person I know.

This has been a lot of stress on both of us. Then, there is work. Boyfriend started a new job about two weeks ago, and they were kind enough to allow him the time to go home. I had several days off recently while preparing for and during my family visit, and I have felt emotionally drained from everything.  While I am grateful to have a job, but it has its own set of challenges. Working as somewhat of a team has it perks and its drawbacks. Sometimes it is nice to have someone there to help with complicated cases but you don’t get to make decisions on your own, and you have to do what the team agrees with. Also, it is tough when each person has a different relationship with the boss, and there is some favoritism from time to time. I realize that I have not handled my stress the best as of late, but it makes things even tougher when you don’t get the same benefit of the doubt or the same information as others do. I know I must do better and work harder, and accept things as they are.

While it has been hard for Boyfriend to be gone due to concerns about how he would be treated by his family, I am glad to hear that he gained support from a few surprising sources. I hope that, in between his chaos, he got a little time to himself that is hard to get living in a 650 square foot apartment with me and the Cat, and I was glad to get a little time to recover from my chaos by talking on the phone to family and watching a few favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail and keeping the Faith. The best recovery for me, though, will be picking Boyfriend up from the airport tonight.

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