It’s not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. For those of who’ve lost family members to death or estrangement, the holidays are difficult. To cope, some drop from bridges into oncoming traffic while others soldier through with as many drinks or slices of pie as it takes, any number of ways to numb, more socially acceptable than honestly addressing the feelings and behaviors which would be a step toward healing and lasting connection. I stand in solidarity with all who feel weepy, anxious, maybe even ashamed at this time of year. Disconnection, on days in which the calendar and social media are intended as proof of connection, is difficult. I ♥Brene Brown’s live-changing TED Talk on Vulnerability. I am not yet healed, but now on the path to healing.
As a woman and mother in recovery, I get to celebrate with those who behave with kindness and love toward me. Not to suggest this is without pain, just an honest sort of pain with those who are emotionally able to acknowledge the reality of their own contributions to what is.
Truth: It would be easier to show up for posing and gifting than to own and detach from the dysfunction. Easier than bracing myself for the continued fallout for my courage to change saying NO-to proximity to those who choose divisive and diminishing words and behaviors. I will not accept that unwholesome behavior directed toward me or others. My unapologetic unwillingness to pretend is what has changed. My ability to remain un-coercible and refraining from lashing out have surely illuminated some difficult truths about who among us, is working toward peaceful reunion. I remain open to the work of healing and connecting. Meanwhile, I elect to limit celebrations to the emotionally honest, respectful and kind people in my life. Mean words and behaviors are not magically forgotten or undone by the date on the calendar.
Chosen family can be an infinitely a healthier and safer choice than our families of origin. This is the way for the emotionally and spiritually present to enjoy special occasions.
After moving cross country to heal and to help in matters with my family, I am beyond sad to say that my geography did not keep us apart any more than it brought us together, no matter the day. I am here. Physically and emotionally willing to do the work together. So far, that offer has been emphatically and repeatedly denied.
For those affected in these ways, it may not be possible to genuinely feel merry –but be safe, be well, and know you are not alone. You did not cause or imagine the insanity of this dynamic. Find an AA meeting or an Al-Anon meeting. Untreated addiction, alcoholism, and mental illness affect many families. Find a meeting. You will hear your story. You will find comfort and hope. Al-Anon is for those who have been affected by the mental illness and addiction of others. Believe it or not, trying to please or to be connected to anyone who needs to take the edge off
of having to be perfect,right, in charge, and better than daily with drugs or alcohol affects us in ways we could not imagine or understand without the help and fellowship of a spiritual program. Fellowship is for BadAsses. It is too much for others.
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