The Family Christmas Card & More

This trip away from Portland to see family for the holidays has been largely fine, and some other periods of time have been “fine” in the AA acronym-sense of the word (fucked up, irrational, neurotic, and emotional).

Regular fine moments (from the quiet okayness of family time to the extremely fun and enjoyable) include:

-Doing puzzles with my sister, mom, and J

-Reading two books, and working on others

-Walking with J and our dog in the sunshine

-J and I going to the clothing-optional hot springs

-Seeing the looks of happiness and appreciation on my family’s faces when they saw the new TV J and I got them for Christmas.

-Going to Bend with J’s brother and sister-in-law, including both a wonderful walk with J and one by myself, and a ton of delicious food. Breakfast out is one of my favorite things of being alive.

-Getting a manicure and pedicure with my mom and sister

-Going for a nice hike with J’s family

-Going over to J’s grandma’s for french toast and bacon

-Playing a dance video game with J’s family

-Watching the sonogram of my sister-in-law’s baby

-Getting to visit with J’s ex-girlfriend/friend of ours for like 2 1/2 hours while in the hot tub

-Walking by myself to the coffee shop where I am now, by myself (much needed), drinking a peppermint hot chocolate. I finally feel like I am able to relax today.

AA-FINE-moments include:

-Seeing my mom’s Christmas card. Even though we took family pictures at Thanksgiving, including my sister’s girlfriend, my mom opted to use different pictures. It was extremely apparent to my sister and I that her girlfriend was absent. J thinks perhaps this wasn’t because my sister’s romantic partner is a woman, but because they haven’t been together “long enough” for my mom to warrant inclusion on the card. I don’t know. Whatever.

-Struggling with chronic body image crap (negative self-talk, obsessiveness over eating and exercise, lack of compassion and loving-kindness for myself).

-Finding out that, somehow, someone told J’s family that I was a stripper. They haven’t asked me directly about it , but somehow, they know. The gossiping drives me nuts.

-Having Christmas dinner with J’s extended family- conservative, Tea Party, highly religious. I kept myself entertained with a puzzle and lots of apple crisp. This worked for the most part.

-J’s sister going off on J about us “not working,” “having zero income,” while “some of us have to work to pay back student loans.” J got pretty frustrated and irritated. We almost left even sooner than we did (which was a day or two ahead of schedule).

-J’s mom flipping the fuck out because we visited with his ex/our current good friend. She spent the whole next day completely stressed out, her puffy eyes indicating to everyone out that she was miserable. But would she offer any information? Absolutely not. (This was the catalyst for us leaving sooner) The communication style within J’s family absolutely drives me insane sometimes. This was one of those times.

-Being with my family, and feeling the intensity of 3 pairs of eyes on my every move (my mom, sister, and dad). I don’t get it. Stop looking at me!! The over-protectiveness and incessant worrying has become easier for me to deal with in recent years, but was a lot harder for me to shake off today. Thus the trip to Starbucks in solitude.

It’s getting close to the end of the year, and the New Year has become increasingly meaningful to me. It’s a time to reflect on the year’s events, to think about growth and change. I tend to make “resolutions” and move toward change throughout the year as I think about it, but I appreciate the formal reminder.

I see in those AA-FINE-moments a lack of transparent and clear communication: a good reminder for me to continually push myself toward asserting my boundaries calmly and compassionately. While it is difficult when the content of the communication is about sensitive/taboo topics, it is more important to me to have honest relationships than to walk gingerly around family for fear of upsetting people.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? How do your families encourage you to change and grow?

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