The holidays were tough for me this year. There were days that I felt like a bundle of nervous energy and days when I could barely muster the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. I told myself repeatedly that if I could just make it through the month-end calendar change, I’d be okay.
Of course, Thanksgiving and Christmas weren’t always like this. Growing up, I had the meals and present exchanges with my nuclear family, the visitations with relatives, but it was always routine that we followed together — the three of us. Since my parents’ split in 2011 and my dad’s moving three hours away, the holidays have left me feeling very much like a [wo]man without a country. There were abandoned traditions, and then there were new traditions, and then there came the question of where and how to spend which.
Further propelled by coffee, I wrote this piece for Role/Reboot on one of the “nervous energy” days in a little over an hour flat. It’s the fastest I’ve probably ever written a thousand words, and one of the most cathartic releases through writing that I’ve ever experienced. There was very little editing done:
My experience of having a nuclear family and then watching it fall apart is very different from the experience of never having had a nuclear family. Both are absolutely worth talking about.