Have yourself a complicated Christmas
Let your heart feel ways…
^These lyrics would be more appropriate to my life today than the real ones. I love Christmas. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. I am generally a person who likes to give of herself and her resources to those who are important to her, I think, and Christmas lets me go overboard on that in ways that are still socially acceptable, haha. It also involves lots of baking and togetherness and I’m about all of that.
Not all of my family is, though. Christmas tends to feel decidedly less Christmassy as soon as I walk in the door of my mother’s house. My siblings tend towards Grinch/Scrooge-dom; usually they participate in Christmas activities very reluctantly. They haven’t helped us decorate the tree in years. This year my little sister decided she wasn’t exchanging gifts with anyone. I was fine with that — she’s hard to shop for anyway, haha, because she always says she doesn’t want anything. After my mom picked me up from the bus station on Tuesday night, she wondered aloud in the car where I was going to sleep. I said “…In my bed?” And she revealed that my sister has confiscated my bed and turned our two twin beds into a larger bed for herself. I was not consulted or even informed. #rude
That was only the beginning of the rudeness, though. When we got to the house, my sister was in the living room listening to music. I said hi. She ignored me. My mom said, “Now why would you go and bother her?” I sighed and went on upstairs. The next day, I came downstairs to make tea in the morning and she was awake. I tried saying hi again. It was like talking to a brick wall. Later I was upstairs and she was having a coughing fit. I called downstairs to see if she was okay or if she needed some water. No response. And finally later in the afternoon when my mom, brother, and I were headed out to finish some last minute shopping, I tried to say hi one more time.
Me: “Hi, [sister’s name].”
Sister: *No acknowledgement of my presence whatsoever *
Mom: What did she say?
Me: Nothing. She’s refused to speak to me since I got home.
Mom (to sister): Why do you have to be so rude?
Sister: How am I being rude?
*giant screaming fight between my mom and my sister *
Apparently on Monday my grandmother came over to our house to bake some pound cakes, because her oven broke recently. She was there for hours, until almost 1 in the morning, and my sister was in the living room watching a movie the entire time. The living room is within sight of the kitchen (there are weird internal windows, lol), so she could see and hear my mom and grandma, but she never came down to say hi. Before she left, my grandmother asked my mom if it wasn’t time for my sister to get home from work, and my mom told her that she’d been in the living room the entire time. My grandma looked hurt. As soon as she left, my sister ran downstairs to make food and complained about how hungry she’d been.
I don’t know what her problem is. I don’t know why she couldn’t say hi to me. I didn’t try to interrupt what she was doing or get up in her face or even try to have a legitimate conversation. I just wanted her to acknowledge that I was there and say hi back. My sister and I haven’t been what I’d call close since we were kids, though we talked a little bit more regularly during the one year she went away to college and she even confided in me a little bit then. She’s not usually nice to me. My visits are peppered with statements like, “Hi [sister]!” “Bye, Maya.” or “When are you going back to DC?” But she’s never just treated me like I don’t fucking exist. It was really hurtful.
I went outside while my mom and sister were yelling at each other, but my mom asked my brother to comment on some of the things my sister said when we were in the car, and then later relayed the story to my grandmother, so I’ve pieced most of it together. Apparently my siblings are under the opinion that I’m our mother’s favorite child and that “everything is different,” “the whole vibe of the house is different” when I come home in ways that they don’t appreciate, though my brother can’t provide any detail or specific examples of what the differences are. He said it feels like my mom is more excited when I come home, which she defended by saying that a) she doesn’t get to see me very often, and b) we like a lot of the same things. My grandma (in the later retelling of this story) said that if my brother and sister ever went anywhere, people would be excited when they came home too.
My sister told my mom she “just doesn’t like me.” I think my mom forgot I was there when she gave my grandma that detail. Apparently they both still feel a level of resentment around them feeling like I am the stick against which they are measured in terms of academics and “success.” This is a rabbit hole of a conversation that has been had before, and my mom always gets into how they had the same opportunities that I had and didn’t make the right choices, and that feels like a false equivalence to me because while my brother and sister certainly weren’t as academically focused as me, my chances of ending up where I am right now having started where I started were infinitesimal.
I was quiet during all of these conversations that happened around me about the fight and their feelings. I don’t know what I can say. I’ve never felt like I fit in in my family — always been off to the side, doing my own thing, and that’s hard at times, but I don’t know how to deal with my sister “just not liking” me. I don’t want to feel like I’m tearing the family apart by coming home.
My sister was being nasty to my mom during the fight and my mom told her that she’s not holding her hostage, that she is free to leave if she doesn’t like being in this house, but that she will not stay in this house and speak to her the way she’s been speaking to her. When we came home from the store, duffle bags were out in my sister’s room and she was gone. She hasn’t been home since. Last night my mom kept saying she wasn’t going to stress herself out or feel bad, but this morning she cried while we were saying grace over Christmas breakfast.
It’s Christmas Day and we don’t know where my sister is.
I don’t want to feel like I’m tearing my family apart by being home.
I hate feeling like I’m the problem in my relationships.
I needed to talk to boo when these conversations were happening. I was trying to keep a straight face and just falling apart inside. But his long distance partner who goes to grad school on the other side of the country is in town for a couple of weeks and he was hanging out with her and I really don’t like needing him when I know he’s with someone else. It feels so selfish and intrusive, like I’m asking him to prioritize me and my feelings over his quality time with someone else. I like to make myself scarce when I know he’s spending time with one of his other significant others. I like to give space. But he’s the top of my support network and I’m glad I reached out to him because he responded right away and was supportive. I just feel bad for being needy. Neediness is the opposite of the scarcity I strive towards…not that that’s ever been asked for. The need for me to be as absent as possible is, like, almost entirely in my head. So sometimes I fight through it.
Boo thought about coming to NJ with me for Christmas. We both enjoyed me spending time with his extended family at Thanksgiving, and want him to meet the rest of my people. My mother was less about this idea, though — I think largely because my sister has been on this type of bullshit recently. I called my dad earlier and he echoed that sentiment, saying “Yeah you definitely didn’t want to bring JJ home to that mess.” But last night when my mom said that she hopes I don’t feel bad, because I didn’t do anything to either of my siblings, and I told her that I do feel bad, and later got into her bed after she was asleep (where I am sleeping because I am now bedless), all I wanted was to be snuggling up in my sadness with boo.
Which I’m sure is a large factor into why I felt a twinge of jealousy when he gchatted me to say Merry Christmas this morning and told me that he wasn’t going to his aunt’s house (like originally planned, which had been a big part of why he was hesitant about coming up to NJ, because he wanted to be with his family/didn’t want to disappoint his little cousin on Christmas morning, but some things have happened with his family since this discussion to complicate that plan) and was still hanging out with his visiting partner. I found myself saying that I hope they have a great day, which I sincerely do, while simultaneously really wishing he was here with me while I’m not having a very good one.
It was just a twinge. Nothing is wrong. We’re having our own Christmas celebration on Sunday when I’m back. I’m cooking a big dinner and spoiling him with Christmas presents — I can’t wait to see his face. I’m spending New Year’s with him, which I’m really excited about because I’ve never had a midnight kiss before. I know him having other relationships of varying degrees of seriousness doesn’t detract from how he feels about me. I love him and he loves me and we work well as a couple the overwhelming majority of the time (and even when we’re upset with one another, I think we express our upsetness well) and sometimes there are just going to be things that be hard when it comes to sharing and I’ve accepted that. Figuring out how to not feel sad when he’s with another partner on Christmas and my grandma asks when I’m bringing him home to meet everybody is one of them.
This is what the poly community calls a wubble. Wubbles pass. Wubbles pass especially fast when you have an awesome boo that reaches out to you every day even when he’s spending time with another partner and checks in to see how you’re feeling despite you constantly pulling back and saying “Get back to hanging out with [redacted], I’ll talk to you later.” I so appreciate him and how present he is in my life even when I’m away and he is spending time with other people he loves. I feel so cared for, even in moments when I wish I didn’t need so much caring for.