I Hate This Season

24Dec09

“Happy Holidays”. People sure do love to say that phrase an awful lot. Or tell me to “cheer up, it’s Christmas!” or “don’t worry, it’s a happy season!” I may be too polite to say it in person but I’ll say it now.

Fuck you and your cheer.

No seriously. I’m not scrooging, I’m not a bitter person, I don’t think Santa is socialist like Sarah OMFGwhatdidshejustsay Palin does (true story). It’s more than just a religious issue. Just because I’m an Etherist and don’t observe holidays like Christmas doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy spending time with loved ones, opening presents and decorating a tree. All of these things are traditions of family in my culture, which goes beyond religion, in my opinion.

And therein lies the problem. Family. It’s one of a multitude of reasons why I hate Christmas and also hate winter. Why these time of the year is painful for me, not happy or festive. Why every time someone says, “Happy Holidays”, “Show some Cheer”, “Visiting Family for Christmas?”, “What are you doing for the holidays?” or anything else along those lines it’s like being kicked in the face over and over again.

Winter is not a good time for me. I have seasonal depression, something that is likely Seasonal Affective Disorder (as full spectrum lights have helped in the past). My skin dries out and cracks and bleeds painfully in the cold now (estrogen seems to have unlocked all of my mom’s chronic problems for me). All of my friends disappear to go to various places (I have a very spread out group of friends) decimating my support network and my partner suffers badly from the season as well. Normally, Christmas would provide a small break from life. School recedes for a short bit, giving me a chance of breathe and I head home & visit old friends, family and get presents and such things.

That doesn’t happen anymore.

You see, I’m trans. And if you don’t know why me being trans is the reason why this season is hard, you’re likely cis and privileged or just a really really really lucky trans person. My family exiled me, my dad cutting off contact in a disgustingly hateful and ignorant bullet list email. I’ve been cut off for a bit of time now, but it didn’t really sink in. I didn’t visit all that much, never really did. Me and my brother were already on shit terms, so we never kept in touch. My youngest brother emails me at times and is the worst loss here. He doesn’t know that I’m trans yet, that may change soon as I get more and more fed up with my family’s bullshit, as the only thing preventing that is my mom’s request. I haven’t been home for a lot of holidays in general, as Thanksgiving is a fairly disgusting “holiday” considering our continuing slow genocide of the Native peoples of America and I often don’t have the money to visit in Autumn anyways.

In fact, the only holiday I ever consistently, always made it back for, was Christmas. Without fail.

So, it all became real when my mom sent me the presents that her and my brothers (my dad’s name was notably absent from the cards) to me in the mail. Because she wouldn’t mail them if I was coming home. So it became real the day before yesterday (two days before xmas eve). I’m exiled. I’m out. I’m gone. Abandoned, thrown away like garbage.

I wish I could say this is rare. I wish I could say, “hey yeah my family exiled me, but lots of trans folks still go home for Christmas”. But I can’t. This isn’t rare. This is extraordinarily common. Expected even. Our community is often surprised by those of us who aren’t abandoned, exiled, tossed and otherwise removed from their families. Those who get Christmas with their families are the exception.

Let that sink in for a second.

I don’t get to visit home. I don’t get to decorate a tree with the people who raised me, with the people who were a part of my life for my entire life, without fail, until now. I don’t get woken up by my exuberant little brother (who, at 16 back when I last was around, was still waking up at 7am to wake us all up and open presents) at the crack of dawn as he screams “PRESENTS! TIME TIME TIME TO OPEN PRESENTS!”. I don’t get the painful (fucking IBS) but tasty cheap ass microwave hors d’oeuvres on Christmas Eve because neither my mom or dad wants to cook while we do tree decorations. I don’t get to see the ornaments I made when I was 3, 5, 6, and 10, the crappiest artwork I have ever done, but wonderful nevertheless. I don’t get to open gifts while my mom runs around taking pictures. I don’t get to see our next door neighbors come in bringing bagels and salmon locks, which, while also an IBS trigger are tasty enough to be worth the horrid pain. I don’t miss being dragged to church, but they did finally accept that I was pagan and didn’t insist I come last Christmas. I don’t get to eat the huge meal that they cook for Christmas Day’s night, with relatives (both blood and nonblood) coming over to eat with us. I don’t get to travel to see far off relatives we don’t see often if this xmas was a traveling one. I don’t get to see my relatives’ puppy (who’s a grown dog now) and pet my aunts’ cat. I don’t get to sled on the hill near my town with my brothers and friends and I don’t get to enjoy the words, “Merry Christmas” anymore.

That’s all been taken from me.

Every time you say, “Happy Holidays” or the like to me, remember: You’re twisting the knife my parents put there. My dad did the stabbing while my mom watched and did nothing. Remember too that so many other trans folk are facing what I am, right now, and are hurt just as bad or worse by your cis privileged (or lucky ignorance if you’re trans) obliviousness to what so many of us experience this horrid season.

And how fucking dare you tell me to cheer up. How fucking dare you tell me that it’ll be okay. No one should have to appear happy for an entitled asshole. Dealing with my disabilities and the hate from my family makes your entitlement and privileged bullshit even worse. I can safely bet (with few exceptions, one of whom I know personally), if you’re cis, you’ve likely never cried painfully from getting a package full of christmas gifts in the mail. I can safely bet (with few exceptions, one of whom I know personally) that most of you are at home right now or will be shortly, with loving families and gifts to open tomorrow. I can safely bet (with few exceptions) that when you hear the words “Happy Holidays” no knife is twisted deep in your gut and you don’t fight back the tears so that the oblivious asshole that just hurt you doesn’t see how deep they’ve cut.

I hate this season and I’ve got every reason to.

So fuck your Christmas cheer and your happy holidays. They aren’t happy for me.



20 Responses to “I Hate This Season”

  1. 1 GallingGalla

    (((hugs)))

    I don’t know what else to say. Sending you gifts in the mail was so, so cold of your family.

  2. I won’t be seeing my parents this year. I usually do, but there was a long time where I didn’t. And no, there were no presents in the mail, because they didn’t buy me any. When I am there, my sexuality, my work, and the period of time between them kicking me out and us getting back in contact are forbidden topics.

    Christmas is a traditionally painful time for all sorts of queer people… Hell, all sorts of people who are some sort of “other” unshared by their birth families.

    I’m so sorry you’re going though this, I know how painful it is. I hope you get through it ok.

  3. Hey,

    I’ve been reading this blog for a little while and really enjoy what you write. I’m really sorry your family has decided to shun you. The way they have received you seems really bitter and hateful. This piece, like others you have written, resonates with me. I’m cis but my family and I have a similar relationship for other ideological reasons. So thank you for sharing your story.

    Also, here is a link I that might help (but it also might not):
    http://www.illdoctrine.com/2009/12/in_defense_of_humbug.html

  4. 4 Sas

    I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. I want to add my virtual hugs as well.

  5. Oh I agree, its such a horrible time because its so goddamned family centric. Paying hundreds of dollars for a plane ticked just so I can have my family misgender and misname me, all in exchange for enjoying the company of relatives who actually don’t do that, is a tough trade off.

  6. 6 Danny

    *hugs and solidarity*

    I cannot imagine how hard this must be, although I’m beginning to.

    I went home this holiday, but it has been very hard, as I’m just trying to come out to my mother, and it isn’t going well. She blatantly refuses to acknowledge any of it, and my step-father just refers to me as ‘it’ now, which of course is a lovely christmas present. I’m expecting I’ll end up in a similar situation soon enough.

  7. 7 Jessica

    We’re working on doing something about this. We have to become family for all of us, because the other option just isn’t acceptable.

  8. Too bad I lack the money to go to Vancouver. Cuz that’s a brill idea.

  9. 9 Jessica

    We’re deliberately not keeping any kind of copyright on it. If you want to start you own, we’ll be behind you cheering you on your way. As a matter of fact, it’d be really fantastic to get something like this going all over the world like the DOR is starting to do, but happier : )

  10. OUch, it really sucks to go through the Christmas season in these circumstances. I am late to reply, but here are some virtual hugs or whatever gives you comfort.

  11. 11 Amy Lynn

    You know, there are thousands of people with a similar issue of not getting to be with their families for Christmas as well. Our deployed troops. Maybe if we concentrated on them and all that they are missing out on, we would realize that the stuff we miss in the US is small in comparison. At least you aren’t going to get a rocket fired into your room while you sleep. I haven’t seen my family for Christmas in ten years…maybe longer, I don’t remember. There are a lot worse things associated with being trans. I’ll happily accept any “Happy Holidays” that you get and don’t want next year.

  12. Congratulations on playing the Oppression Olympics. I’m sure you’ll at least get a bronze for effort.

    For instance, while I may not get a rocket in my window that Christmas, there’s a fairly good chance I’ll get beaten to death in one of our own “safe” US cities while just trying to shop for food. As a civilian who isn’t in a warzone. Yeah, that totally happens to the cis servicemen and cis servicewomen when they’re back in the US, right? Wait… it doesn’t. Funny how that shit works.

    Also congratulations on the asinine claim that just because some people have been gone longer, I clearly shouldn’t be upset. Because everyone is the same, handle things the same, and we can all feel lucky and make our pain magically fade because some people are hurt worse! It’s magic! It’s so quaint that you believe in magical powers like positive thinking.

  13. And at least the deployed troops and food and clean water! Wow, we can play the “somebody has it worse” game all day. This doesn’t actually make it relevant to anything, ever. Just because someone starving to death has arguably worse circumstances than, I dunno, someone in the foster system? Doesn’t make the latter person’s problems disappear. This is because pain is not a zero-sum game and people are individuals! And minimizing pain doesn’t help anybody, including the people you’re holding up as martyrs.

  14. Erm, what the fuck? Are you seriously trying to pull the “MY LIFE IS HARDER THAN YOURS SO YOURS ISN’T IMPORTANT” card?

    The irony is that by pointing out that you haven’t seen your family in 10 years shows that you care about your own experiences and the hardship they cause. Otherwise, why would you feel the need to point it out as a passive aggressive jab against someone that also cares about her personal experiences.

    Ignoring the self in favor of the needs of others is a good way to break yourself. Then how on earth will you help them?

    You have to focus on the health of the self, including mental and emotional, before you focus on the health and experiences of others. Otherwise you can’t help them. Your bullshit points make no sense.

  15. 15 Amy Lynn

    Calling me an oppressor is rude and uncalled for. I save people’s lives and bring them freedom from oppression. You are one of those I keep free. Do you think for a minute that you would be free to walk the street or even write this blog in the comfort of your house if it weren’t for the people that defend that freedom for you? When was the last time you read a blog written by a transwoman living in mainland China or North Korea?

    This reminds me of Mel Brook’s explanation of the difference between comedy and tragedy.” Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.”
    Now before anyone replies that I would think it was funny if anyone fell down an open sewer I want to say that I wouldn’t. What Mr. Brooks was pointing out was that anything that an individual finds bad that happens to them causes them to feel that it is worse than anything that could be happening to anyone else.

    The point of my original post was the same as the old adage about having no shoes and having no feet. Some of the people I mentioned come home with no feet literally and they do it to allow you to have pretty shoes among other things. It’s not “magical thinking”, it’s called perspective. I am transgendered and I am in the military and I can assure you the military thing is much harder.

    As far as getting murdered in the US, it happens to soldiers quite frequently.

    http://cbs11tv.com/national/miliraty.recruiting.office.2.1026730.html

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=68260

    http://wjz.com/local/shooting.shoppers.soldiers.2.1392013.html

    My whole point is that I find it quite immature and childish to hate people and tell them fuck you for offering you wishes for a happy holiday and that there are plenty of people in worse shape that would welcome such a greeting. Now if you write another blog and explain how you have lost the ability to walk and have actually been beaten or raped while shopping for Christmas presents, then maybe I would feel a little empathy or even sympathy. But the whole, “My mom mailed me presents for Christmas”, is just the [edited for ableist language ~RP] thing I’ve ever heard anyone whine about.

    I’m not going to bother answering the replies written by the sycophant enablers that defended your tirade. They need to wake up and follow some of your advice. Just because someone writes really great stuff at times doesn’t mean they are incapable of putting out a little self pitying drivel at times.

  16. Edit: I apologize to any nonbinary folk reading for my exclusionary language. Servicemen and servicewomen should have been servicepeople. I’m sorry for the fuck up, folks.

    Just because someone is in the military doesn’t make them not an oppressor. If you are white, if you are in a higher social class than another, etc etc etc, you are an oppressor. This is a simple fact. Get over it. Also, just because I’m grateful that servicemen and servicewomen have defended the US from threats that could deny me my freedom doesn’t mean I’ll let your foolish statements slide, nor ignore the fact that you have privilege based on inherent characteristics (as we all do) and by virtue of that you are an oppressor. Also, there’s a lot of very racist, very bad things the US does with its army. I can’t say if you’ve participated in them, but by no means does being a serviceperson mean you always defend freedom. Sometimes it is the opposite. It would be wise to be mindful of the fact that you work for a government that is flawed (like any human institution) and ergo may not always be following orders that are right.

    You’re also derailing with red herring fallacies. Funny how that works.

    As for Mel Brooks, he’s a smart man. But largely, it’s you who is constructing the world as a linear system of objective pain, not me. Pain is not objective. Pain affects people differently. Pain also doesn’t magically fade away when you find out someone else is in worse pain. Me cutting my finger doesn’t feel like a kiss by a rose in the rain just because someone fell down a sewer grate. Fuck, should I just not treat a sliced finger because I have it so much easier than poor sewer grate kid? Should I not try to cope with it? You’re not really making a whole lot of sense here.

    It is magical thinking. You expect the fact that some people came home with no feet automatically means that having no shoes, bleeding, torn up, cold feet from that, is suddenly just fine. No. It isn’t. It still hurts, it still sucks. It is still a damn problem.

    There are children in Africa who are born with HIV. They have never lived their lives without the virus and will have AIDS likely as a child or a teen. And they will likely never receive treatment and die a slow and painful death. They have it far worse than most of the folk in the military can dream of. Should we tell veterans to shut up about their lost feet because those kids are slowly dying? No, because that would be stupid. Should we just not bother helping them with their feet? No, because that would be stupid.

    Likewise, just because some military folk have it worse than me doesn’t mean I shouldn’t talk about what I face and work to solve it. Because it does need to be solved. Families exiling trans folk is not a good thing, it needs to be raised and fought and educated about. And no amount of your magical thinking will change this. So really, when it comes to perspective, you’ve got shit. Also seems to apply to your logic. And furthermore, you have absolutely no grasp on reality if you think that your experiences as a trans person determine how everyone else’s experiences are. I know trans servicewomen and trans servicemen who say that being in the military is ten billion times easier than being trans (and they’ve been in war and police actions). But clearly, if you’ve experienced it, then it applies to everyone. Clearly. Perspective, you lack it. Ableism, you have it.

    Oh look, more Oppression Olympics. You’re still only at bronze though. Your effort is lacking.

    Your whole point is built on the epic logical and perspective fail of magical thinking and “omg people have it worse than you so shut up!” Because clearly, kids dying of AIDS in Africa means we shouldn’t solve unemployment in the US, or stop bigotry, or get laws passed that make it illegal to fire based on inherent characteristics. Or work on educating society. Or talk about any of those things because “omfg it’s whining”. Clearly you have a little bit of learning to do on how these things work. As for being beaten or raped on Christmas, there’s kids dying of AIDS in Africa. How dare you have sympathy or empathy for someone who was just beaten or raped in the US, you mean bitch! *eyeroll* You can’t even grasp logic enough to figure out when you’re contradicting yourself, are you? That’s pretty sad.

    Also, your use of an ableist slur (while not in the least surprising) has been noted. Keep on trollin’, it’s just good times, right?

    If only your point wasn’t based on ableism, magical thinking, inconsistencies and general fail of pain being magically cured or reduced by others feeling worse. If only you had a grasp of logic and didn’t elevate servicepeople to superhuman zones as well as deny your own privilege and theirs. If only you did those things, your point and anything you said in the last paragraph would be valid. Well no, because if you did those things, you probably wouldn’t have had any basis to make the claims you did in the last paragraph. Too bad, troll. I guess you’re not very good at this.

    As a note, you have your one warning about slurs. If your next comment contains a slur, I will spam queue you. If you defend your use of the slur in question, I will spam queue you. I don’t tolerate hate language here.

  17. 17 Amy Lynn

    Please email me and explain the slur you mention. It will be hard for me to avoid repeating it if I don’t know what it was. I am afraid to reply without knowing what it was as I’m learning so much about you through this discourse and wouldn’t want to say anything to be put in the spam que.

  18. If you’re prepping for more trolling, I ought to let you know that I tend to be a snob about technique and yours is poor. So I’ll likely not let more of your trolling posts through where you pretend servicepeople are immune to privilege and are army always does great things for everyone in the world (instead of a mixture of good and bad things).

    As for the slur, you’ve been emailed.

  19. I don’t think I’ve ever been a sycophant enabler before! What, exactly, am I supposed to be enabling here? Am I enabling genderbitch’s snark? I’m happy to enable snark.

  20. I know this post is old, and that you’re long gone Kinsey and have no earthly idea who we are, but we wanted to thank you anyway.

    We haven’t gone to any family holidays in a couple of years. We weren’t abandoned like you, but there were only so much familial concern trolling we could handle, and we finally cut them off for a while. So I guess we’re the abandoners, rather than the abandoned. At least we aren’t alone for Christmas; being multiple means you’re never alone.

    And we’ve always felt really guilty for feeling bad about it, since our family is BETTER than so many other families of trans/queer/multi kids. They only mentioned institutionalizing us once, and they never actually acted on it. Their behavior has improved, as long as we don’t discuss anything of emotional importance. And now we’re dealing with the same fears of being trapped with Mardi Gras (another big holiday in our family).

    So it’s actually very validating to hear you say fuck you to all of it. Thanks Kinsey, wherever you are.


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