I’m sitting at my computer desk, wanting to write about things that I’ve learned in 2017 and things I’m looking forward to in the new year, but there are stuff weighing very heavy on me and I’m not finding the positive uplifting words to write. Honestly, this has been one of the toughest holiday seasons for me. Emotionally, I was a bit of a wreck but found a way to keep a poker face the entire time…well, until now that is. I’ve sat here numerous times going back and forth contemplating whether to write about it or not. As much as I love to keep this blog light and positive, I also like to keep things real, yet I was nervous to be open and raw about how I’ve been feeling. This isn’t the first time that I’ve talked about personal things and for the most part, I find it to be quite cathartic, but lately it seems that I’m questioning every single little tiny thing that I do and my confidence is thrown right out the window.
Although there have been a number of factors that have gotten me to this point, the number one thing that’s weighing heavy on me is the holidays with estranged parents…
Most years it catches me off guard, but this time I started feeling it towards the end of November. Although I’ve talked about it before, many may not know that I am estranged from my parents. I have written a post about it in the past, which is poorly written but one would be able to get the gist of the many reasons why all this has come to be. Quite frankly, I don’t regret my decision. I’m a much happier and healthy person because of it, but my heart still aches with loss and grief, and there’s nothing like the holidays to open up old wounds and be a reminder that you’re parent-less.
In a room filled with my family, I feel completely alone…
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. It’s the one time when all of my family are under one roof (excluding my parents and siblings) and it’s just pure bliss. Food, laughter, dancing (most years,) and simply catching up on things we may have missed since we last saw one another. It’s a little difficult to explain, but even though all those things are still true, there’s still this emptiness I feel inside. Sometimes I catch myself standing there looking like I’m actively participating in a conversation, but in reality I’m lost in my own pain and sadness. It’s almost become this vicious cycle— I’m sad because of my past and then I’m sad because I’m struggling to be present and enjoy being around them. It’s also a struggle to see relationships between siblings, mother-daughter, father-daughter, and here I am feeling complete loneliness.
I used to think that this pain wasn’t affecting anyone around me. It was something that I was handling and no one knew or realized but the more the years have gone by, the more that I’ve noticed it started to trickle down into different aspects of my life.
I was once an open book. If I was upset or sad, you’d know right away. Now, I say my usual two-liners, “I’m, totally fine!” and “Omg, don’t worry about it.” I don’t want anyone knowing that I’m not okay. I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems. It’s makes people uncomfortable, struggling to find the right words to say. It’s just not the vibe I want to give out. So, I’d rather keep things cool and uncomplicated.
Relationships took a nose dive. Friendships were (and sometimes still are) being pushed aside, some quicker than others. I found myself emotionally shutting down. Expectations of being hurt or being let down and it actually coming true, I’d quickly end friendships and move on. From the outside, it looks like I’m a strong woman who doesn’t have time for the BS drama but inside I’m hurting and live with the continuous thoughts that people are going to let me down, no matter how great or long the friendship are. Granted, some of these ended friendships aren’t one sided, but I think they could have gone differently if I would be in a better mindset.
Most importantly, my self-esteem and confidence. If you knew me back in the day, you probably had the opinion that I was stuck up. Just like every other girl, I had insecurities but I was still confident in who I was and went hard for the things that I wanted. Times have changed and confident women are more celebrated today than ever before but I feel that’s no longer who I am. Instead, I’m self-doubting, my own worst critic, and constantly reminding myself that I’ll never get to point A because of x,y,z… It’s quite the damaging psychological warfare going on in my mind. To make matters worse, attempting to erase every single train of thought, way of speaking, and mannerisms that I’ve inherited from both my parents, is mentally exhausting. It’s come to a point where I’m questioning who am I really?
Being estranged from my parents is a decision that is better for me long term, but will definitely take time to heal these wounds. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that your parents simply don’t love you or like you. It’s hard to understand why they’ve made certain negative life decisions that would ultimately leave them with being blacklisted from the rest of the family. It’s hard to move on and be happy with what I do have and try to ignore the natural yearning for an unconditional loving relationship with a mother figure or father figure.
I know that it takes courage to cut ties with abusive and dysfunctional people in your life— especially when it’s your parents. No matter how much criticism I get, I don’t owe anyone a reason or an explanation for my decision, and I don’t expect people to understand even when I do. I know that it’s not my fault that my parents aren’t capable of being the parents that I need, but sometimes I can’t help but feel like why couldn’t I fix them? Why couldn’t I get them to see their ways? Why do I have to keep fixing and improving myself, while they won’t do the same? Sadly, I know I have zero control over them but I surely do for myself. Right now I’m mentally exhausted from all the pain and thoughts, but I will get over it. I will move on from it and get back to my normal head space. I will continue to improve myself not only for me, but for my little family.
These words up there— they are my genuine, raw, unedited thoughts and emotions about spending the holidays being estranged from my parents…