Friday, November 26, 2010

Surviving Turkey Day

Lets talk about Thanksgiving. Its a really goofy holiday. Its the day where the whole nation adopts some seriously disordered eating. And they all do it together!

My morning started with serious over-exercising urges. (I figure if everyone else gets to adopt an eating disorder of their choosing, then why can't I have the one of my choosing?) I didn't follow through with the urges. I sat on the floor and cried instead.

Seriously, everyone restricts food intake all morning to prepare for a massive binge in the afternoon/evening. Everyone makes themselves uncomfortable, and then eats some more. And if the strange eating isn't stressful enough, lets do it with a lot of people that call themselves family, but I only see once or twice a year. Some of them are very mean. Some of them are just ignorant asses.

And I'm supposed to WANT to participate in all of this madness??

Whilst crying on the floor, I got a call from a dear friend. "Are you taking care of yourself? I know this day is hard on you, and you still need to take care of you."

I became a yelling, crying mess. What came out of my mouth was something like, "What the fuck is wrong with me that I don't want to spend time with my family? Why can't I just be normal and love them and love this day?"

The reply came, "What's wrong with YOU? There's nothing wrong with you. Of all the people you have talked about in your family, YOU are the one I want to be friends with. It is normal to not like being with people who aren't nice to you."

And then I realized something profound. It IS normal to not like being with people who are mean. But I don't allow (or haven't allowed) myself that freedom. I have a cousin who is really mean. She's on medication to try to curb her moodiness, but she is just... MEAN, and bossy, and controlling, and nosy, and... Last year, she pinched me hard enough to leave a bruise and asked why I was so skinny. (I didn't pinch her back and ask her why she was so fat. I didn't think that would be appropriate, but I thought it.)

I walk into these family events (and probably everywhere else too) and look for the people that no one else wants to talk to, and I talk to them. The cousin I mentioned above, I have spent a lot of time talking to. I make the rounds and MAKE SURE to talk to the people that I have a hard time with. What the...?

This year, I just talked to the people I wanted to talk to. I spent time with my own siblings. Justin and I made a gingerbread house together, and I had a blast! I talked to my cousin Stefani, and her daughters. I talked to my Grandma. I talked to my cousin Kenadee. I picked who I spent my time with. And guess what? I had a great time!

It turns out that although there are some people in my family that are really obnoxious, they are actually the minority. They are a loud minority, but still a minority. I used to think it was my job to make the lonely people not feel lonely. But that was seriously flawed thinking.

1. Just because I don't like a person doesn't mean that everyone else feels the same.
2. And if everyone DOES feel the same, there's a reason. Its not doing me (or anyone else) a service to spend time with abusive people. That's not love, and I don't wanna do it anymore.
3. There's a good chance that those people that I don't like, probably don't like me. (At least if I am honest about who I am. I used to lie and pretend to be someone I wasn't, so that the mean people would like me.)

At the end of the day, it turns out that by ME changing, everything around me has changed. That's something to be grateful for!

(oh, and side note, I also made the decision that if I wasn't enjoying myself and I wanted to leave, I would. I don't have to stay anywhere that I don't wanna be!)


  1. Congratulations on the revelation -- lots of people are never able to reach the conclusions you have, and are still hopelessly bent on pleasing people. I hope you found some nice people to sit by at the table this year.

  2. I have a hard time with people pleasers. You wonder about their sincerity so you can't know if they're being nice just to get validation from you. So I'm wary of them. Good for you for owning yourself. It's a positive step!

  3. This is a beautiful, poignant post. Thank you!

  4. Good job! It took me a while to realize that I didn't have to be anywhere I didn't want to be. That particular cousin is usually meanest to me as we're all cleaning up and getting ready to leave. I just leave before that happens and it's great.