I wish I had not used the word “Coping”. It just doesn’t sound proactive and constructive enough. Nevertheless…
I made a decision not to be mad about the fact that NONE of my blood relatives invited me for Thanksgiving or even asked what my plans were. I want to be gracious and give them the benefit of the doubt, but I’m also just kind of like “Fuck y’all.” I continue to be amazed by their indifference to my situation.
Thankfully, I was able to spend Thanksgiving with some long-time family friends who live just an hour away from me. It was perfect. Good food, games, football, relaxation. And most importantly, people who love me.
Probably the hardest part of the holidays is answering co-workers and acquaintances when they ask, “Are you going to see your family?” (because they don’t know my situation). I don’t like explaining my life to people, so I am learning to just say “No.” It’s off-putting but I have been unable to discern which is more uncomfortable: "No" or “My family disowned me”. Ha.
Then there’s Christmas. I think getting out of the country last year was the best thing I could have done. I wasn’t surrounded by all the oh-so-American Christmas this-and-that which were bound to trigger my anger/sadness/longing. This year, I am not leaving the country. I will be here. And my partner and I will have ourselves a merry, low-key Christmas with a little tree, a few small gifts, and a lot of wine!
Together we will make Christmas our own rather than hold ourselves captive to the heartbreaking memories of what the holidays used to be. Part of me will miss it, certainly. I have already begun to see scenes of past holidays flash across my mind. My freedom and happiness have cost me everything, including Christmas as I know it with the people who (I was duped into believing) loved me.
I am learning to celebrate differently. I think this Christmas will be lovely.