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Tales told - a.k.a free reads > December Writing Prompt--that isn't really a prompt!

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message 1: by Sammy Goode (last edited Dec 02, 2018 10:55AM) (new)

Sammy Goode | 5380 comments So, dear friends, the prompts have been fairly sparse in their responses over the last few months so just for December I am trying something a little different. Rather than respond to a picture or quote, I'd love it if you would share your thoughts on this holiday season.

Now, as we know this is sometimes a very difficult time of the year for many people and so I am encouraging you to share however you feel--happy or sad--excited or worried--I would love for us to come together as a family of caring friends and encourage one another in this season.

I don't want to put any constraints on your sharing other than to remind us all that this is a young adult site and as such we should be aware of things that could trigger unwanted feelings in others.

So, please, post something--whether it be a written response or a picture or quote that encapsulates your thoughts about how you will be journeying through this season so we may share it with you.

Please remember if you use more than one comment box make sure you mark the end of your entry with either the words., The End or 4 ####

message 2: by Sammy Goode (last edited Dec 02, 2018 10:58AM) (new)

Sammy Goode | 5380 comments

One of the many images that comes to mind when i think of Christmas, which my family celebrates.

message 3: by Rez (new)

Rez Delnava (rez_delnava) | 582 comments This might be long, rambling, and a bit on the depressing side to start things off with, but here I go anyways:

TRIGGER WARNINGS: eating disorders, drug use, suicide, emotional abuse, death, sexual exploitation, depression, anxiety, (WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY LIFE)

Holidays are hard for me.

Before 2015, my family would gather at my grandma's house for both Thanksgiving (US) and Christmas (and sometimes even Easter). Minimum of 14 of us: my fraternal grandparents, my mom and her two brothers, my dad and his mom, me and my two brothers, my three cousins and their mom. Sometimes there'd be extra people, friends that didn't have another place to go, people from my grandparents' church, a romantic +1, etc. And we'd potluck; everyone would bring something, forty pounds of turkey would be cooked, people even developed signature dishes over the years.

That was our tradition. 28 years of holiday gluttony and swarming relatives.

The in February of 2015, my cousin Vince committed suicide by drug overdose. My family was understandably devastated; my normally unflappable brother was in such a state that he couldn't even text, somehow the responsibility to relay the news to me had been passed to him and he couldn't even type the message. But we rallied as a family; we couldn't (yet) fathom why he had done it, but we picked up the pieces and grew closer. A few weeks after he passed, I had a vivid dream: I was sitting on a porch swing next to a guy from my friends-group that I had been crushing on for more than a month (more than crushing, I'm demisexual, so a crush is more or less a permanent infatuation) and out of the aether of my peripheral dream-vision, my cousin rides his skateboard along the sidewalk, pauses in front of the yard, looks at us as we're sitting there, and just nods. He then rides out back into the aether, continuing on his way. As the dream begins fading out, I look down at my hand on the bench next to me, reach over and squeeze my crush's hand, and he squeezes mine back. I'm a fairly rational person, so I can see how my subconscious could maybe have pieced that dream together, but there were implications in that nod that I can't explain: 1) Vince not only accepted my sexuality, but understood it, 2) that he was telling it was okay for me to be happy, and 3) that it was time, and I should tell his sister first. To this day, she is still convinced I was visited by his angel.

So I took a few more weeks to heal emotionally, and then I asked the guy out. And then with his help, I came out to the rest of my family (I had only been out to my parents and brothers before). I was even allowed to invite him as my date to my cousin's wedding when she married a few months later.

[Fun side story so this isn't a complete downer:(view spoiler)

My boyfriend and I didn't last long; he was being emotionally manipulated (he''s not the greatest at analyzing emotions, in fact I think he may be tragically bad at it and may even be capable of lying to himself about his own emotions) by someone that he looked to as a mother figure, and the stress meant he couldn't give the relationship the attention he thought it deserved and I couldn't ask him to cut ties with his mother-figure (even if she was toxic and I knew it) without becoming the bad-guy, so we agreed to split up with the promise that if we were ever both single and in a good place emotionally, that we would try again.

Holidays 2015 rolled around and were bittersweet. We had lost someone, but had added a new member and grown closer.

2016 opened and things were looking up for the first quarter of the year. In March, I started dating for the first time in my life. By the end of April I had found someone online I liked to talk to, and by May were going steady and travelling to see one another.

But April was also when things started going bad. My paternal grandma got a diagnosis that the breast cancer that she had had removed via mastectomy two years prior had actually metastasized and had spread to her lungs. Then in June, my eldest uncle, mom's brother, finally succumbed to his progressive heart failure. In August, the cancer took my grandma. A month later, her middle child died of a heart attack; we also learned that month that my paternal grandpa's issues with UTI's were actually caused by bladder cancer. In October, my dad's oldest brother stole all the valuables from my grandma's estate. And in the first week of December, the cancer took my grandpa.

Despite the deaths, October was actually the worst month for me, because that was the month I learned why my cousin committed suicide. We had figured that my uncle, the younger of mom's brothers, had been party to introducing my cousin to the drugs. We knew he was using and he blamed himself; his own guilt and our pity was enough burden, so nobody bothered to question him further (he has since been disowned because he refuses to get clean). Until I accidentally stumbled upon porn starring my cousin. Turns out, my uncle and cousin were not sharing their supply. And my cousin likely turned to porn to pay for his habit. Gay porn of the worst exploitative kind. My cousin wasn't out, and studios like the one he filmed with used that as leverage to keep him coming back to film more. My cousin died because he couldn't face coming out and wouldn't be further degraded by sex exploitation.

That was a major blow to my well-being. I could rationalize all I wanted that I wasn't responsible, that I didn't put the needle in his hand, that I didn't make him do the porn, nor get him hooked in the first place, but Vince's death will always feel like a failure on my part. I'm the oldest cousin, it's my job to go first and protect everyone else. And by not coming out sooner, I'll probably always feel like I failed that.

Luckily, I had a wonderful girlfriend that I could count on to listen and provide comfort. Unfortunately I turned my relationship with her into a retreat from my problems. It became a project of sorts, moving in together, making a house together (normal stuff if you're in a healthy mindset) but I went too far, and all of my hobbies and TV watching, and videogames, all of it became things to do together and I felt guilty when I did things without her; even her transition and related personal issues became a project to work on together. Really, really not healthy.

By the time I figured out why I was progressively becoming more and more miserable all the time (even after she convinced me to see a psychologist in August and get on an antidepressant, or maybe it was because the antidepressant was working and I wasn't just numb anymore), it was after Thanksgiving 2017, and far too late to fix the relationship because I didn't know who I was anymore. So I did the worst most humane thing and broke her heart in December

[Sidebar: If you're wondering what my Memma's prophetic question about this relationship, it was, "How's [Rez] going to hold up with her transition?" (Not entirely great). Also important to note, my Memma was a champ about trans issues; never a single pronoun out place, would ask every week for my girlfriend to reintroduce herself while she was working on picking a name. And this is an 80 year old deeply Christian woman from Arkansas without internet access. I really wish my girlfriend's father had met Memma; she would have put that transphobic jerk in his place.]

So Christmas 2017 was bad, really bad. Major depressive episode with full fetal-position anxiety, crying in the bathroom, and blank spots in my memory bad. I wasn't able to get in to see my psychologist until February to adjust my meds. Which luckily was just before the family trip to Hawaii, where I felt way way better for the first time in seemingly forever. While there, I resolved to work on myself and I've been steadily getting better-ish ever since. I have new hobbies and I'm no longer living out of moving boxes (as in I finally unpacked after the breakup). There's still some things I need to work on, like I still haven't played a videogame since the breakup, and I used to really love tea but there's a weird block there about it. But I have hope.

(And now for the part where the over-saturated details about the boyfriend will make sense to have been included.) I have hope because my ex-boyfriend just broke up with his other guy in August. He's a bit of a mess and definitely not ready for another shot, but he's always been a really good friend, so I'm trying to be a good friend (maybe with ulterior motives that I have absolutely been up-front about) and just be there for him. Going back to him being tragically bad at emotions, I think he still has feelings for me, but doesn't recognize them. We went the fair together in October and met up with his mom while there; mom's have really good intuition about their kids' emotional state, and she would not lay off with the epic side-eye that read, "I know he likes you, so don't you dare hurt my baby."

And while getting back together with him is a thing I'm quietly hoping for (theme-song: All I Want For Christmas Is You), I'm still working on myself and trying to figure out new dynamics without a lot of family (5 dead, 2 disowned, and 3 who just never communicate anymore). So holidays are weird because I don't think anyone else has figured out the family dynamic thing either (there wasn't any stuffing, candied yams, nor pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving this year), I still miss people like crazy, and I want my guy around to celebrate with me but simultaneously I'm not that selfish to impose myself when he needs to be around his own family so he can heal.

Ramble over.
Sorry again to start out with such a sour note.

message 4: by Sammy Goode (new)

Sammy Goode | 5380 comments Dearest Rez, first off, thank you for sharing all of that. My first response is to say I’m sorry that you’ve gone through so much loss and pain and while that is true for I am really sorry that you had to endure that all, I also know that it has helped shape the person you are becoming. You are strong and resilient and I truly do think that by posting your story here you will touch the life of another person who needs to know that recovering from such losses is possible and hope can endure all things.

I am sending you a huge hug and reminding you how lovely it is to have you here with us. You have a gentle heart and a strong spirit and I wish for you only good things in the future.

message 5: by Kaje (last edited Dec 20, 2018 10:07AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16464 comments Rez wrote: "This might be long, rambling, and a bit on the depressing side to start things off with, but here I go anyways:

(((Hugs)) Rez - That sounds so rough, so sorry for all the loss you have had. I hope sharing it helps in some small way, (and I think your words may give hope to someone at the beginning of a similar journey). I hope that this holiday is a better one, with small comforts and less stress. I really hope that you continue to do better, and that things work out in a good way with your ex.

You are such a positive voice and spirit here on the group, and we are lucky to have you around. May 2019 bring good things your way.

message 6: by Kaje (last edited Dec 20, 2018 10:14AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16464 comments I'm lucky in so many ways, and I still love this time of year. Not every family member can be here (we'll miss my elder son over in Europe, and a brother dealing with his own issues) but those who can are in good health. And those who can't are beloved, and know it. (Even if my Christmas packages never seem to get to them till New Year's.)

The holidays seem to magnify things, giving both joy and pain a deeper intensity. I was thrilled to go into an import shop and find chocolate Christmas tree ornaments (foil covered with strings to hang them.) Those are a piece of my childhood - something my mother sometimes would scour the shops in Montreal to find (because they're a European thing from her childhood).

Mum doesn't remember any of that, these days, but as my younger son cheered the find, and will help me hang them, it was a reminder of the way traditions link us together. I miss talking to Mum and having her know me, but she is physically healthy, and the traditions she grew up with have lived for 90 years, and still go on.

And I also like the new traditions we invent. My tree is the biggest hodge-podge of ornaments of all kinds, but every year we buy one more and choosing it is a family tradition that is just 15 years old and began with us. The cookies we bake are a mix of my grandmother's recipes, and new ones my son creates. (This year, gingerbread snowflakes with lemon icing.) He's giving some to friends.

For me, the holidays pull me a little further out of my introvert box, giving me a reason to be around people. It's a reminder, as I write cards, of the friends and family scattered around the world who matter to me. I wish I could give some of that sense of belonging to everyone who doesn't have it.

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