This time of the year that brings thoughts of home and hearth, peace and joy can be especially trying for those living by themselves, isolated. There are a lot of reasons this happens, for trans people because people and family have turned away, but it also happens if you outlive your friends and contemporary family and your current family doesn’t want to go out of their way for grandma to be part of things.
The landscape is also changing. In my youth I had many cousins because my father had three siblings and my mother had many more. These days we’re struggling with couples having the 2.1 babies we need to replace the current generation. Those children and especially their children are just not going to have the same kind of holiday experiences.
Now I didn’t particularly grow up with Thanksgiving or Christmas. I’m Jewish and Christmas was something other people did. We lit candles for Hanukkah and despite any propaganda to the contrary, Hanukkah is not a major holiday and is not at all like Christmas, which is a major Christian holiday, although you can argue about people going into debt to buy toys for ungrateful children being what a carpenter born in Bethlehem had in mind. Somehow I don’t think he’d approve.
My ex’s family celebrates both holidays each year and it was always fun to watch the children make a mess of wrapping paper before forgetting about the gifts. The meals were always nice and it was an opportunity to see people we hadn’t seen in a while, both family and friends.
With transition came a non-invitation card, and I’ve been coping. I particularly miss seeing the nephews and my niece.
I’m sure this resonates with many in the LGBT community, not just trans people, because we are seen as somehow defective or selfish for actually being truthful and in many cases saving ourselves.
What remains is how you handle it. Do you react with self-pity, do you wait for others to solve the problem or do you take the lead. I’ll admit I indulged a short bout of self-pity. Then I was hoping for a solution, but then I did take the lead.
It turns out that we may not have that dinner on Thursday as I’m congested and coughing, but I’m feeling better about having some control. Maybe you should do the same.