I suppose I should write something about what I’m thankful for considering that today is Thanksgiving but I can’t seem to manage that. Everything is broken.
My brother isn’t coming here with the kids. We can’t go up there. I won’t be going to my friends’ house either. This is just another day. Another day of anxiously checking my email, another day of mentally beating myself up, another day of trying to fill the hours with SOMETHING other than crying because I don’t have to work and at least that’s a distraction, and another day of not having any idea of what might happen next. There’s a tiny part of my brain that keeps telling me that I’ll eventually be okay someday, but this is the same brain that has various chemical imbalances and is, therefore, flawed. Grief and a broken brain don’t mix well. Add some holidays that are supposed to be happy and that are meant to be spent with all of the people you love, and that just becomes damn near unendurable.
I don’t know when this time of year stopped being a happy one for me. Like many others that have worked in the hell that is retail, I burnt out on some aspects of it because the “spirit of the season” makes some people into complete assholes. My family never really was into shopping on Black Friday and the concept of getting up ass-early in the morning to possibly fight other people over a bunch of shit you don’t need is baffling to me. But I hate shopping at all and will go to great lengths to avoid it. That being said, the consumerism of the season doesn’t really factor into my depression around this time. A bunch of awful shit has happened over the years around this time and I got married in mid-December 1996 so while the wedding itself isn’t depressing, the fact that the relationship wasn’t all that great hurts. And I’m still single. That wedding anniversary is yet another reminder that I’m not good enough for anyone. Work related stress is worse around this time since everyone is frantic about getting as many orders out as possible before the year ends and we close the financial books. It doesn’t really matter what your job is, everyone is affected in some way.
I think most of what makes this a bad time of year is family related because my family is now scattered and we rarely see each other. Growing up in New Jersey meant family gatherings with aunts, uncles, and cousins as well as my parents and siblings. Then my parents moved us out to California and we lost that. We adjusted and years later my sister started having kids, I had a kid, and my brother started having kids so the house was full again. That didn’t last long because my sister moved her family to Florida and there was no way any of us could afford the airfare to take us back and forth to spend holidays together. I have three nephews and a niece in Florida that I’ve never met. And we still can’t afford airfare so it seems unlikely that I ever will.
We adjusted again and my brother kept having kids. They moved to Nevada a little over three years ago. It’s only about a four hour drive but traveling through the mountains, especially during the colder months, isn’t always easy. If it snows up there, roads get blocked which means that every time we go there or vice versa, there’s a chance that someone’s schedule will change because they’re essentially stuck. They used to come over for dinner four or fives a week. Now we only see them about four or five times a year and that’s a generous estimate.
As for friends, we would go over there for Thanksgiving sometimes. Talk about a house full of people! It was crazy but awesome. Last year, I kind of geeked out over all of us talking to her son over Skype through the TV in the living room. He’s in the military and stationed in Japan. It was like being in the Jetsons or something. And it was great to see him and be there with them all. Obviously, that won’t be happening this year. Sure, she and I are talking over email but that doesn’t mean everything is okay and it doesn’t mean that I should expect to have a right to be there or think that they would want me there. I don’t. I know that. That only makes it hurt more.
It’s going to be me, my son, and my parents today. That’s it. A holiday that used to mean spending time with ALL of the people I love is basically a standard, everyday dinner. I am thankful for my son and my parents. I’m not saying I’m not thankful for them. But the best part of the holidays was spending it with so many more people I love and that’s all gone now. I may be the most vile, crazy bitch anyone knows but my family – blood and chosen – means everything to me. Some of them I lost through no fault of my own but some of them are gone because I fucked up. Even if we are talking over email, I don’t dare hope for the best. I don’t dare hope for “slightly less awful than things are now,” for that matter. And the fucking retailers that are spamming my email are driving me nuts because I keep hoping that every new email is from one of them. I want to turn off my phone and disable the WiFi simply because I keep giving myself mini heart attacks every time I get an email. Yes, it sounds stupid but I can’t help thinking that communication will cease again, at any moment, for any reason. Every email that arrives that is not from them is a little reminder that I could have driven them off again. I’m stuck in limbo.
But, yay, turkey and stuffing. /sarcasm