I Hate This Season
“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.
Filed under: personal, rant | 20 Comments
Tags: depression, family, transgender