Here's Why I'm Celebrating the Festive Season Without My Family

2016-12-25 22:42

So… a Bit of Background...

The older I get, the less festive I feel around this time. This past Christmas is the second in a row that I’ve spent away from my family, and to be honest I couldn’t be happier. Everywhere I seem to look, there’s this expectation that everyone’s going to go back to their families, spend time with people they haven’t seen in a while and catching up on things. For my family, this has been getting harder and harder to do over the years. About five years ago before Christmas, my father confessed to the whole family that he’d been having an affair and wanted a divorce after 20-odd years of marriage. You’d think that’s the worst that could happen, but it was only the beginning. The following years were filled with the kind of familial infighting and domestic violence I had to get away from for my own sanity. Long story short I found myself thrust into the deep end of Joburg, semi-homeless and rather jobless. Slowly and agonizingly, things have worked themselves out over time. I can pay for my own bills, and my mom’s as well (I’m the de facto breadwinner with my father being absent from these matters). Emotionally however, I feel exhausted. For a 25-year-old I feel like I’ve done more adulting than I should’ve, and my concept of what a family is supposed to be like has been altered permanently. Going into friendships and relationships, I’m forever skeptical. To me, people you love will change and they will leave or push you away when you no longer serve their agenda. I’ve seen it first-hand with siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles of mine, and I’ve quietly accepted that no relationship lasts forever. All you can ever do is enjoy it while it lasts and not hold onto it once it’s clearly dead. The month of December fills me with anxiety because that’s exactly when all my sensitivities are triggered. So how do I consistently survive without hurting myself and those around me each and every year?

Taking Minimal Leave Days

Emotional baggage doesn’t always have to drag you down. I personally use all that negative energy to more and better work than most people. I work every single day, and when not working I’m learning.

Let the Tears Flow from Time to Time

I find it very important to call myself out when I’m avoiding my emotional fucked-up-ness. I didn’t have a smooth transition into adulthood, and this is something I need to learn to deal with over time instead of running away from it. Facing up to my demons always leaves me feeling stronger and inspired.

Takeaways and Liquor

I only started drinking maybe two years ago, and it’s been surprisingly healthy for me personally. Being sober all the time is the most depressing scenario I can actually imagine, nowadays. Last night I had Chicken Licken and a Black Label quart. It’s the best meal to have before dealing with annoying chain messages from distant relatives.

Binge-Watch Things on Youtube

Youtube is the new DSTV. I’ve been alone binge-watching everything from series to documentaries, streaming whole albums, comedy specials, you naaaaame it!

Call Loved Ones (Who Aren't Your Family)

My girlfriend’s the best to happen to me this whole year. We talk all the time, send each other memes, turn each other into memes, roast each other over the phone. From time to time also meet new friends, and they get better every year it seems.

Be Grateful of What You Do Have

Things are far from perfect, but they could be far, far worse. I’ve just gotten a new job that’s already opening doors for me, I’ve met some of the coolest characters ever, my bills are paid, it hasn’t been a shit year. If I don’t acknowledge the progress and positivity there is my life, I’m robbing myself of a lot of happiness.


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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