No I’m not going to apologize for that title. I know Paul will message me and tell me that Homo So Alono isn’t going to show up well in our SEO scores. But I don’t care. I am creative goddamn it!! But what the hell does it mean? I started to title this post “So You’re Alone for the Holigays”. But then the other title just came to me. And if someone doesn’t turn that title into a song then I don’t know what I’ll do. Perhaps I’ll be forced to take matters into my own hands and create one myself. Stay tuned for more news on that.
But with Thanksgiving just a few days away and the official holiday season about to launch; I thought it my duty to publish an obligatory article. You know, one on what to do when your family doesn’t want you for Christmas. And I don’t mean to come across as flippant. I’m simply using sarcasm to cover up years of trauma and rejection, and yes, my therapist simply adores my cynicism.
In all seriousness though, the holidays are hard. This is my 7th holiday season since first coming out as a queer infidel and my first season since coming out as transgender. And I absolutely can not wait to be misgendered at every holiday party, and to fend off a series of inappropriate questions about my body. ‘Tis the season to be sure. In reality, I have to admit is has got better. Been better…? Become Better? It gets better and so it did.
I really am looking forward to a few wonderful and relaxing days with my fiance and her family. This is my third year partaking in their traditions and I am finally ready to tackle them fully. However, the first year was not so easy. It had been a while since I had really been immersed in a family setting during the holidays, and I became a little overwhelmed. In fact, at about 8 pm the night of Christmas, I had a break down in my car.
I can’t quite explain everything that went into my meltdown. Part was due to the constant movement as I tried to keep up with the many different faces. Part was due to the immense kindness shown to me. Even though Samantha and I had only been together about 8 months. And part was due to the flood of memories from my own family Christmases. A mound of emotions were triggered that I could not stop.
The first few years after leaving my church and coming out were very lonely. Though I would often still stop by my parents for an hour or two; the truth is, the experience was so uncomfortable I couldn’t wait to leave. However, being alone on the holidays is also a hard experience. I found myself with a lot of time and little idea of what to do. Coming from a very structured environment, where every moment was planned and filled, I felt suddenly lost. Throughout that first year I dreaded each holiday and breathed a sigh of relief when the calendar moved to January.
The next season I decided to take things into my own hands and began to set a series of traditions that I held until last year. Here are my super creative, totally out-side the box ideas of what I did on the Holidays.
ASK TO WORK HOLIDAYS
I know, no one’s ever thought of that ever. But seriously, I always thought only loser’s worked the holidays and somehow felt obligated to take them off. Then I realized that people who work holidays make mad money and I was totally broke at the time. Not only will most places pay time and a half or even double time (for certain holidays) but it’s the one time of years customers actually pity you. I worked as a server at a country club and a cashier at a gas station.
Not only were my tips at the club incredible, but people buying gas were ALSO trying to give me money. My bosses let me eat the extra food and take all the coffee I wanted. Plus, strangers would bring in random cookies and treats and even little nip bottles (back when I drank). On top of it all, I stayed busy and didn’t have time to focus on my loneliness. Seriously, working the holidays is the best. And even though I’m a manager now, I still usually work Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.
START A TRADITION
My family had so many traditions that I literally didn’t know how to do Christmas when I left. Once I got out at work, I found I usually had several hours to kill. My options were to go home and drink alone, or find something else to do. For me, it was movies. Now I have to point out that I love going to the movies alone. And Christmas movies are the absolute best. Especially when you love musicals and Star Wars.
I made it a whole thing. I’d get to the movies early because I’m not here to mess around. Get my ticket, then my popcorn and soda. And I’ll be honest, back then I usually smuggled in a flask. If you’re not an alcoholic like me, DO IT! I’d wear a warm, snuggly sweater and comfortable pants and curl up on my seat. Once I even brought a blanket because it’s Christmas. I’m at the movies alone on the biggest holiday of the year, no one is saying shit to me.
That’s the tradition that worked for me. Later on my thanksgiving tradition became a late dinner with my roommates and friends. It doesn’t matter what your tradition is, make one. Buy that expensive bottle of booze and save it. Go to a restaurant every year. Get a huge tub of holiday popcorn and movie marathon at home. But find some way to make this holiday yours again, even if you are alone.
DONATE YOUR TIME
I’m not kidding. Working through the holidays and having my movie tradition was great. But I still felt empty and every year I drank a little harder and a little longer. One year I actually didn’t work just so I could drink non-stop through the whole day. I know, goals. It wasn’t really that fun. When I got sober (one week before thanksgiving) I knew I needed something else. I worked the holiday, went to a movie, then volunteered fro my recovery group. And today that’s one of my new traditions. I help to run marathon meetings on holidays for recovering alcoholics/addicts.
I can’t explain what a game changer volunteering was for me. As bad as I thought I had it, I always saw someone in worse condition. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, your church, the local queer organization. Almost all of these places are doing things for the holidays and need helpers. My personal belief is the more we help others, the more we help ourselves. Even when I’ve felt my lowest, helping another person has ALWAYS lifted my spirits.
OPEN YOURSELF TO NEW TRADITIONS AND NEW LOVE
Remember that meltdown on Christmas Day? I was so broken from years of rejection that I couldn’t tear down my walls. Afraid to love these people back because I didn’t want them to hurt me. I felt like I didn’t belong. And I didn’t want to try to belong, because of fear. When my therapist brought this to my attention, I decided to change. Opening my heart to another family has not been easy. But the more I do, the more I heal. Today I don’t have to spend Christmas or Thanksgiving alone. But I do have to work to keep my heart open.
No matter how many times we’ve been rejected. And no matter how many times we’ve been hurt. There is always hope for healing. It wouldn’t be fair for me to hold my new family accountable for my old families actions. Neither of us would benefit from my closed off heart. Today as I receive love, I am able to give love. I am excited for my future and the future of my children. I know they will grow up in a loving family and never have to spend the holidays alone. And I know that I am okay. No matter what happens, I have survived and I am Alono no Amorno.
Happy Holigays Queerstians