Content note: Transphobia, family rejection, and coffee.
Four years ago now, I came out as transgender on Dreamwidth, using the journal I had at the time.
My brother, who already hated me for writing "mean" things about him (like how I was scared of him and self-injured because of him), persuaded the rest of my family of origin to ignore me over the holidays. Meanwhile, my father of origin "renegotiated" the terms of the apartment lease he was co-signing, in an email sent to the landlady and CCed to me.
When I managed to get back in touch with them, after the holidays, my mother of origin claimed they were "too busy" celebrating Christmas to get back to me. I heard other excuses, in the few months where I tried to get through to them, all of which made them look even worse. But that's really the one that hurts the most to remember.
See, all through my childhood, money was tight. My parents of origin had big computer setups, and stereo systems, and wall-to-wall collections of books and records and homeschool curricula that had put them into lifelong debt. Plus, they were paying 10 percent of their income to the Mormon church. So I got, like, $1 a week in allowance from them, and had to pay my own tithing on that.
Aside from birthdays, and sudden windfalls like video game tournament victories, Christmas was the only time we could really expect to get anything "big." It was a huge deal for us, and our mother of origin genuinely made the most of it; pricking her fingers on pine needles setting up Christmas lights and ornaments, and wrapping gifts in oddly-shaped packages so that we couldn't tell what they contained.
We loved the music, and food, and lights. And we loved being genuinely surprised by what they had under the tree for us. It was always more than we expected. And the gift-opening was always carefully orchestrated, to maximize anticipation and delight.
It hurt to be left out, that year. And the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that. Not just because we'd moved to the next state over, but because we weren't part of the family anymore. And because the person we actually were, that we had been all this time without realizing it, apparently never was.
I want to make pithy statements about this. I want to say things that would make them feel guilty, if they ever read this somehow. I could say that they had "no room at the inn," for instance. But that'd be too easy, and borders on melodramatic. Plus, it wouldn't make us feel any better.
I don't really want to celebrate Christmas, anyway. At least not in a religious (or hypercapitalist) way. Getting toys and games and things made sense when I was little and had no money, but now that I've spent Way Too Much on Tau crap in the last couple months it feels awkward to ask people for stuff. Plus, I can't really figure out what to get anyone else.
I just want the lights back. And the food, and the warmth, and the sense of belonging and safety, that have all been a part of solstice festivals throughout history.
Most of all, I want to forget why I hate this time of year. And why it makes me depressed to remember it, every last goddamn time.