Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “spending holidays alone”

You don’t feel sorry for me, and I won’t tell you where you can stuff your turkey

At the farmer’s market yesterday, somebody wished me Happy Thanksgiving. She must have thought the 4 lbs of Brussels sprouts and 3 lb head of cauliflower were for some huge gathering I was hosting. She probably also assumed that the 9 apples were for a bunch of pies that I was making to share with my loved ones.

No. It is all for me. Share and food are not words I like to put together. In fact, that last sentence makes me a little uncomfortable. And if anyone were to try to touch my market haul, they might lose a hand.

Needless to say, being wished Happy Thanksgiving reminded me that my favorite time of year is here.

If you know me personally, you know that this is really the ultimate in Kate sarcasm. I hate winter. I hate cold and snow and dark. And I absolutely abhor the holiday season.

I do not actually hate individual holidays themselves. There is nothing wrong with Thanksgiving or Christmas. But I don’t participate.

And even this would not be a big deal if people wouldn’t make it such a big effing deal.

What I hate about the season is that every year, everybody and their brother has to make a big to-do about how nobody should be alone for the holidays. And here’s why I’m super-duper über not looking forward to this year. Because I’m already unhappy. And I can already see the pouty simpers on the faces of all the kind people who will insist that it would be a terrible thing for me to be alone for Thanksgiving. They would be worried about me. Especially when I’m having such a hard time.

Let me assure you I am not suicidal. But that I might become homicidal if you simper at me…

Let me also assure you that the last thing I want is to spend the day when I am already blue around a group of people and an over abundance of food. Food I don’t eat.

Let me also also assure you that I have a family. They would probably like to see me. It turns out they like me. But they also like to fill various rooms with food. Food I don’t eat. And for the most part, they have come to terms with the fact that I won’t be joining them.

It’s not that I don’t like people. For the most part, I do. But I also need a lot of time alone. And there is a particularly frustrating, annoying, obnoxious thing that people do, particularly during the holiday season. They want to give me permission to “cheat” on my “diet.” (I am not on a diet. And I don’t cheat. Ever. No really, never.) Oh go on. It’s Thanksgiving. Treat yourself. Because they don’t understand that the rest of that sentence is like crap. Spiral ever downward into an eating disorder hell prison. (And just so you know, if I were going to eat outside of my boundaries, I would not wait for somebody’s well-meaning permission. In fact, I would probably steal Mr./Ms. Well-Meaning’s pecan pie out from under their nose.)

But maybe what I am starting to understand that I never realized consciously before is that I need to stay away from Thanksgiving and Christmas because they are dramatic. Not because people make them dramatic. More because they make people dramatic. They are about light in the darkness. They are about survival when the Earth has gone to sleep and isn’t going to provide for a while. They are about the end of a 365 day cycle, and looking at what you have made and done for a year. They are about taking inventory of your life. These are big, dramatic things. So we as humans celebrate these things with spectacular displays. To show that we honor how spectacular life is. With bright lights and shiny decorations. With abundant food and dramatic music. (Sure I hate Christmas music, but who isn’t moved by Oh Holy Night?!)

When I am not feeling burdened by the expectation to participate, I can see that there is something beautiful in this way of celebrating life. I’m moved just thinking about it. But I can’t handle it. It’s too much for me. It’s too big for my already sensitive, overly emotional heart. On the scale of 1-10, I live life at a consistent 8 ½. And the holidays can ramp me right up to a 100 in the blink of an eye. And I’m not the only one, of course. Ask any parent. ‘Tis the season for over-stimulated-meltdowns.

Anyway, I will be having a regular Thursday this week. That’s what I choose. But let me wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope it’s moving and dramatic in the best possible way. And I hope the only meltdowns are the cheese and the chocolate.

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Happy Easter! Now leave me alone.

I don’t do holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are no longer a part of my life. I haven’t celebrated them since I got control of my eating.

Let’s be honest. Holidays, especially the family centered ones, are about food. You get together with as many of your relatives as you can pack into a home, people cook their most decadent dishes, and then you eat yourselves into oblivion.

First, I don’t eat like that anymore. Ever. I can’t afford to start if I won’t be able to stop. And second, I don’t like my family.

They are good people as individuals (with a few notable exceptions), but as a group, my family’s dynamic is one of passive-aggressiveness, and cruel humor. Yes, they are incredibly funny. But nearly always at someone else’s expense. And as the most sensitive member of the family, I was by far the easiest target.  And there are a lot of them. My mother is the second oldest of 11 kids. I have 23 cousins and a brother on that side. To be the girl with a bull’s-eye on her forehead in a room full of 30+ people was a horrible experience. I can remember being reprimanded regularly by my mother for being “too sensitive” when they made me cry. I never learned that lesson though. I’m sensitive. I don’t deal well with people being mean to me. Now I just surround myself with people who are nice to me. People who treat me like they like me. And that’s not my family.

The other thing is that I ate over feelings. Especially the kind of shame and humiliation that my family specializes in. And I come from a family of eaters. So any holiday will always have a ready supply of exactly the foods that can make me numb. And Aunt So-and-so saying something nasty about the way I look, or Uncle Whoever making an obnoxious remark about something stupid I did 15 years ago, is the kind of thing that makes me want to be numb. I can already hear the fat girl inside me: Oh, don’t mind them, Kate. Look! There are chocolate bunnies!

I’m strong. I’m committed to having my food under control. I’ve done it every day for over six years. But I have absolutely no desire to test that commitment by being surrounded by both sugar, and people who make me want to eat it. And for Easter? Well, that doesn’t seem like a particularly good reason to me. I don’t practice any religion anymore anyway.

And I don’t want to go to anybody else’s family either. Not to avoid being alone. Just because it’s a holiday. I don’t want to have to explain what I do with food. I don’t want to have to tell your grandmother why I can’t have any of her special cookies. No, not even just one. Not just a taste. I don’t want to be the ill-mannered guest, whom your family was kind enough to invite because she didn’t have anywhere else to go. I do have someplace to go. I just don’t want to go there. I don’t do holidays. And I don’t mind at all.

People expect that I’m lonely. They tell me I’m lonely. Because they would apparently be lonely without somewhere to go for a holiday. But the fact of the matter is that I like to be alone. Any time. And on holidays especially. Post childhood, the only thing I ever really liked about them was food. Not just food, but eating ridiculous amounts of food. And in the open. Because everyone was over-eating. In the open.  So much of my eating was done in hiding when I was eating compulsively. I was ashamed of it, so I did as little of it in front of people as I could. But holidays were when I could look around at everybody and see them being as gluttonous as I was. It was a relief. But not eating compulsively any time, for any reason, is a much bigger relief. I do not feel deprived. I promise, I had more than my share of chocolate bunnies for the first 28 years of my life. In fact, I had my share, your share, and the shares of 2 or 3 other people.

Maybe if I have a family of my own someday, I will want to celebrate holidays again. Not with the gluttonous eating, of course. But with traditions and gatherings. I can imagine that Christmas or Easter might look different to me if I were looking at it through the lens of a family I made myself, rather than the one I was born into. But in the meantime, I will happily celebrate the holidays by spending time with the person whose company I enjoy the most. Me.

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