Christmas is getting closer and closer. Breathing down my neck. I’ve been feeling increasingly more anxious this past week because of it, but probably not for the reason most people become anxious around Christmas. I’m not worried that I won’t get my house decorated in time because I don’t decorate. I’m not worried that I won’t be done with my Christmas shopping because I don’t usually buy gifts for people. I’m not worried that my cards won’t get sent out because I don’t send Christmas cards. I’m not even worried about spending time with family, because the only family I’ll be spending my holiday with is my husband and our incredibly-smart-almost-human dog. What I’m currently stressing about is how I will respond when I am asked what I’ll be doing for Christmas.
I have been out of contact off and on with my birth family for the past three years or so. Several months ago I made the final decision to keep them out of my life for good. I’ve done a lot better ever since.
I’m afraid that the people I work with will feel the need to pry into my business and ask about me spending time with family during the holidays. A few of them know that relations with my birth family are strained at best. One or two know that I have no contact with them. All the others are in the dark.
In the past, I have had people think it’s their place to comment on my relationship with the members of my birth family. I had one woman tell me to get right with my mother as she is the only mother I’ll have. I’ve had others ask question after question, trying to understand what could lead a person to end all communication with the people that are supposed to love you above all others. I try not to talk about personal issues with people I work with. Not only is it none of their damn business, it’s just not professional. Plus, I find that the less I tell them about what I’m going through and dealing with, the fewer questions I will get. I hate feeling pressured to answer questions about topics that I do not want to discuss. I’m not at a point where I feel comfortable just telling people to back off, or that things are none of their business.
I think I’ve decided what I’m going to say if asked about my Christmas plans. To start, I will say something along the lines of my husband and I not being sure yet what we are doing. This is true. I was talking to Jay just this morning about what we would do for Christmas. We obviously won’t be visiting family, but we would like to do something to make the day special. If I am asked about spending time with family, I will mention again that my husband and I have not yet cemented our plans. If asked about “going home” for Christmas, I will say that we plan on staying in West Virginia. If the other person continues to press me and pushes to know about plans with my birth family, I will let them know that I am not doing anything with them. Further pushing will reveal that I am estranged from my birth family. When I get the usual “Oh, but you only have one family,” or “You can’t stay mad at blood!” or “Your family loves you no matter what,” or any of the other bullshit people like to spout, I have decided what I’m going to say.
I am going to say that not everyone is a good person. Not everyone should be procreating and be entrusted with children. What is the child of someone who never should have reproduced supposed to do? Are they supposed to constantly submit themselves to pain and abuse just because they share the same blood with a person? Are they supposed to stay in a hurtful relationship just because someone decided to be irresponsible and have a child when they couldn’t properly take care of it? Why is a person obligated to be wounded time after time just because it is a family member doing the wounding? Blood may be thicker than water, but in my mind that just means it will drown you all the faster.
I’ve decided that I do not need to feel bad or ashamed because I am not spending time (or communicating) with my birth family. I don’t need to feel in the wrong for cutting off contact. I am doing what I need to do to make my life worth living. I have no reason to feel badly in any way.
There is a person who two who should be feeling shame over this, but it’s not me. I just need to be prepared with a strong, confident answer for nosy people who want to know about my holiday plans.