Family gatherings stress me out. I know I’m not alone in that. But it’s not what you might be thinking. I don’t have creepy or sleazy relatives. I don’t have a terrible relationship with anyone I’m going to see. There’s no fighting or anything like that.
It’s a small group… too small, really. My dad’s been gone for 5 years. My last living grandparent… my beloved maternal grandmother has been gone for 4. And it’s been only 5 months since my cousin’s brain tumor took him from us. Considering that last one, I’m not even sure if my aunt and uncle are coming to Thanksgiving dinner. I suspect the holiday is going to be especially hard on them.
What will happen for certain is that I will bring my kids and husband to Mom’s… and she will be there along with my one-year-older single sister and my four-years-younger sister and her husband and son. [We will not be… and never are… joined by my third/eldest sister because she doesn’t speak to me or my little sister. I’m sure I’ll never fully understand why. As the years pass, it makes me more sad at times and more I-don’t-give-a-fuck at other times.]
The gathering will be fun… mostly. My nephew can be a bit crazy. My husband annoys me sometimes (though that’s not exclusive to family gatherings). And although I am sure she doesn’t mean to, my younger sister sometimes says things that really upset me. I can’t call her out on it or tell my mom or my other sister because I’ve done that before and the response is always the same. ‘I’m sure she didn’t mean anything by it. You’re taking it the wrong way.‘ So, you know, my fault. I don’t feel like I get a lot of understanding or sympathy. I just get a lot of reasons why it’s me, not her. It’s always me.
I don’t think any of them fully understand how hard things are for me. Like, all things. I have a real medical condition. Just because it’s not a physical issue doesn’t make it any less real. But they don’t really get it. I know it’s hard for people who don’t suffer from these sorts of things to know how it feels… how difficult… how impossible things feel to me. I always end up feeling like a freak. A lonely freak.
But the worst part is after the gathering is over. I can never stop thinking about the conversations that happened… things that were said. Nothing mean… nothing malicious… just normal conversation. But there are always things that drive home the fact that they all have great lives and mine is a total disaster. They are happy and I am not. I feel like a huge failure… and a total loser. And I get lost in all the terrible decisions that got me where I am now… and how I can’t go back and change them.
I wish I was a kid again. Then I’d enjoy the holidays instead of dreading them. And maybe… just maybe… I wouldn’t make so many stupid choices.
Final assessment: Anxious… filled with dread… and an impending sense of doom.
©2017 what sandra thinks