Here I sit. Laptop on my lap. There’s a fire smoldering in the fireplace. All the lights are off, save the glow of the Christmas tree. A candle burns on the coffee table. The sounds of BB King from 1964 fill the room from the turntable. The tree is surrounded by gifts to be enjoyed by my daughter when she wakes up in the morning. I’m nursing a glass of Zinfandel.
I’m fighting back tears. What it is, what it’s not, what it might have been, what it should have been. The holidays have always been a painful time, and they still are. All the horrible holiday incidents. All the ugly family behavior. From the recent past all the way back to my childhood.
Nothing brings to the forefront the dysfunction associated with a narcissistic upbringing like the holidays. Others have family. Others have significant others. Others look forward to the chance to reconnect with those they love. I don’t have that. And I never will. I’ve accepted it. Acceptance doesn’t make it any easier.
I do have my daughter, and I feel I am so very blessed to have her in my life. She has taught me more than she will ever know. She’s an incredible blessing and means so much to me. I think about how she is growing up in a broken home. I think about how I would never have wanted that for her; how I wanted her to know that her parents were madly in love with each other and that their love spilled over to her and all her potential siblings. How I wanted her to celebrate family at Christmas. It never came to fruition. It was not possible. I’ve accepted it. Acceptance doesn’t make it easier.
I think about family. A family with whom I would cherish our times together, and look forward to our next meeting. Family that supported me. Family that loved me. Family that I will never have. I’ve accepted that, too. Acceptance doesn’t make it easier.
I think about my life. What might have been had I not been so well trained to be a scapegoat and codependent. What might have been had I received the support that my unique talents needed growing up. What might have been had I not continued to replay the dysfunction of my family of origin for decades after leaving home. I’ve accepted that, too. Acceptance doesn’t make it any easier.
So I fight back tears. Bittersweet tears. Tears of where I’ve been. Tears that know that I have strength; the strength needed to soldier through against incredible odds. Tears that mean that I did what I had to do to survive. Tears that mean I am comfortable with who I am, and if that means I’m alone at the holidays, so be it.
I raise my glass of Zinfandel to you and wish you a Happy Holidays! Allow me to toast your survival; your ability to stand up against incredible odds; your ability to recognize the dysfunction and find a way to leave it behind. It’s not easy, and it never becomes easier. Just know that others have been where you’ve been, and they do truly understand.
Best wishes on your healing journey.