Spending holidays alone sucks, but like a lot of people, there have been times not dealing with family issues makes it better. Unlike most children, I dreaded the holidays most of the time, because they were so unpleasant. Here is an excerpt from chapter six of my book, Unheard:
The longer the holiday vacation, the more I dread it. For at least two weeks each December, a half of a week in November, plus a week during the spring, while everyone else looks forward to going on vacations, hanging out with friends, and having fun, I feel as if I am the only kid in the world wishing that I am still in school.
Before Marcus came along, I enjoyed the holidays. But with him around, there is sure to be an argument or other miserable time, listening to him complain and snark about everything, especially anything I do. It also means he drinks more. There are no parties, no friends, and no true laughter except to ridicule others. The only family gatherings I look forward to are at Gramma and Papa’s because it is the only time that I feel safe from Marcus’s barking at my every little move.
Sometimes holidays seem like they are going fine until Marcus says something to destroy the joy.
“Are you going to see your dad today?” Rose asks.
“Yes, I’m going to see Daddy and my other grandma later,” I tell her.
“Daddeeee,” Marcus mocks me in a snobbish, nasally tone, while he and his stupid stinky father and brothers laugh, as if I can’t hear them.
“Daddy buys her whatever she wants,” Marcus tells everyone.
That isn’t true at all. The truth is that Daddy buys me things for Christmas or my birthday that I need, like new shoes for church or a bicycle to ride to school. Just because he gives me nice things from the store instead of from the garbage doesn’t mean I’m spoiled. Marcus mocks me and says mean things about my Daddy because he knows it makes me furious. He does it at home when no one else is listening. He enjoys taunting me because I am his only witness, and he gets away with it because no one does anything about it. If I get mad or react, he calls me a brat and finds a way to punish me. I know he does it on purpose, but there is nothing I can do about it. He is sneaky.
Growing up, smaller holidays such as Labor Day and Independence Day, were just as bad, because it usually meant more drinking and more fighting and chaos, and for whatever stupid reason, I’d up getting punished somehow. So as an adult, I want to enjoy whatever I can to make up for it, and my family does not get together on these holidays at all.
Two years ago on the Fourth of July, I enjoyed myself by spending the day kayaking and watching fireworks – alone. While I really wished I had someone to share my day with, I tried to make the best of it. Last year on the same day, I was invited on a boat with a group of people, most of which I didn’t know. As a water lover, I jumped at the chance, because I rarely get to go boating. (It was also the last time I’ve been on a boat.) I attempted to enjoy myself as much as possible but ended up dealing with some miserable Mean Girls, then I met up with Biker Guy (we had met around that time) at a waterfront bar for drinks and fireworks.
This year due to Covid restrictions, most people I know made no plans, and city firework displays were canceled. However, people had private sky shows, which were really nice, and I sat at a beachside park by myself to view them, again wishing I had someone special with me while I watched families and couples around me enjoying their time together. (It’s a very odd feeling to be in public on a day like that when you’re alone, but it reminds you of who and what matters in your life.)
Once I’d learned the truth about how Biker Guy spent his evening without me this year, it
added to every shitty holiday I’d ever had. Again, I felt as if I was being “punished” for something I wasn’t even sure I’d done. I couldn’t wrap my head around any of it, and I still can’t, because he has no excuse for what he did. Although he apologized, I’m unsure as to how sincere it was in the beginning, and he can’t even explain his own actions.
To be continued…