Back when my father died in June, I decided it was time to do something I've been dying to do for years: have holidays by ourselves. The husband & I were forced to do that one year when we were in a car accident on our way to Thanksgiving in Long Island. We ended up having pasta for Thanksgiving since that's what we had in the house and going to the local hospital to make sure he wasn't suffering from whiplash. We were driving in the rain on 15 in Connecticut and ended up hitting the car in front of us after our car hydroplaned.
Later, I did a make-up Thanksgiving for us complete with a HoneyBaked turkey, mashed potatoes, corn & pumpkin pie I made myself that I'd normally have for my family's Thanksgivings. That was a huge thing I'd missed with Thanksgiving with my in-laws: no homemade pumpkin pie & no Cool Whip. Well, for our make-up Thanksgiving I did it MY way. It was great & since then I've been dying to have our own holidays just the two of us.
Thanksgiving at my in-laws' house has typically consisted of extended family. That was never the case when I was growing up. Our Thanksgiving holiday was strictly immediate family & later friends or significant others of ours. We NEVER saw my relatives. The same goes for Christmas.
Why, you may ask? Because my grandparents were long since dead, my uncle lived far away & didn't get along with my father AND my father's siblings didn't get along with my mother. My parents & other relatives chose not to put themselves through the emotional torture & we had more peaceful holidays on our own. Or at least, relatively peaceful since my father did like to get drunk and show his butt on holidays. You at least didn't have to deal with gossip & nastiness behind your back and got good food at our house. My father also wasn't around later on & had calmed down in later years; last year's Thanksgiving was a good one since my husband got to have Honeybaked Ham (which he loves & never gets to have on his holidays).
My in-laws, however, have shown me without a doubt that they don't welcome, respect or give a damn about me. Apparently they mistake me for someone who gives a damn about their opinion or their commentary. They also seem to think they can censor my art & tell me what to think or feel.
You might notice some censor bars in recent posts. This is because my husband asked me to do this after getting a message from one of these jerks. To my knowledge, it was not a message of love or concern for the situation; instead it was meddling nonsense that should have been shut down with an "MYOB" (mind your own business, for those not in the know). Or perhaps an "MYOFB" would have worked also (you can guess what the "F" stands for).
Why these people care to read my blog, I have no idea. I would freely say anything I write here directly to their faces if prompted or asked. Plus, I've not heard any apologies or statements that my feelings and mindset on them & my idea of my place is wrong. Way to make me feel welcome or that I should bother going to any family function! That just tells me I'm doing the right thing in opting to do my own thing & not go someplace where I'm not welcome.
Since I did that make-up Thanksgiving and later made my own turkey breast, I know I can cook the main dish. I also don't get to see my childhood family because of my husband's schedule & had to fight to go last year. Plus, I've been married for 7 years; I think it's long past time for us as married people to do our own holidays. I think being married & especially all the strife I've been going through this year entitles me not to have to deal with anyone else's bullshit, melodrama & other things that are going to make holidays worse for me. If you were me, would YOU stand for this?
I also know of many people who have no place to go for holidays, have horrible relationships with their families or just get sick of them after a while & wanted to have a little safe zone for them. The only rule I've got is no bringing conflict.
I know tons of single people want to get married, especially single women. You people idealize marriage & married life, partly because the media & society tells you to. Let me tell you right now that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.
I like to think I don't idealize single life too much (I did live it for a lot of years myself in Atlanta & while living on my own) but there are things I miss in it.
I definitely miss not having to deal with in-laws at all though I told my husband from Day One that I wouldn't put up with disrespect from in-laws & would end the relationship in an instant if they won out over me. In-laws trying to put the Hays Code or prior restraint on me is definitely included in that; you'd think I was dealing with teenagers or little kids instead of grown people here. For me & from my experience hearing about them, it's like dealing with abusive parents you don't get to shut down yourself b/c "it's not your place." If you don't have a strong spouse who stands up for you, you are royally screwed. Just ask the people I saw dealing with it; just look at Mama's Family.
The self-sufficiency is also nice; as I've told single friends, if you marry someone their problems become YOUR problems. Even if you are the most well adjusted, beloved person on Earth if your spouse is having a bad day it's going to affect you as well. I think everyone should have to live on their own for at least a year before they ever get married. Manage their own household, pay their own bills, do their own day to day life stuff without Mommy & Daddy holding their hands. No one should be going from their parent's house to a marital home. It just causes problems, especially for women. Unless you want to do a lot of Mommyesque stuff, you don't want a man who hasn't had to take care of himself for a while.
Some of my single friends are bound to hear about my stuff & then turn around thanking their lucky stars every morning that they don't have to deal with married people problems. I'll just be happy if they take my wisdom on the subject seriously & not fuck things up for themselves.
Maybe a family friend had it right when she refused to be with a guy whose parents were still living. One requirement of dating her was your parents had to be dead since she had to deal with a lot of shit from her family. Perhaps an orphan who just took care of himself & had no family would be fine as well (the male version of Carrie Bradshaw in that regard; no one ever says a word about her family or if she has any & there's nothing about in-laws meddling in her relationships). One thing I can say is I'm not censoring my blog or writing it to cater to a pack of busybodies who refuse to behave like mature adults or dial direct. Nor am I going to infantalize myself for anyone's family. You take me for who I am or screw off.
Married people would probably be much happier if they took that stance. It seems like sooner or later you have to stand up to your family & say "No more! I'm an adult & you can't treat me like that. MYOB/piss off/whatever choice statement applies to the situation!" I don't have children so why should I tolerate in-law garbage? If I did, I'd never want to show a kid that it's okay for anyone to abuse you or treat you like crap for any reason; abiding this shit would be doing just that & don't we have enough screwed up people in this world without adding on?
If you're thinking of asserting yourself, I highly recommend it. If only more of us were truly authentic in our lives. As a person, it's done wonders for my mental state.
I'd still love to meet someone with a functional family. It would give me some renewed hope in humanity & perhaps let me dare to believe that not all families are made up of the immature, petty & emotionally bankrupt (or at least not use my current belief as a reason to never, ever remarry or seriously date if I end up having to flee from this marriage). Oh well, at least I'm doing some fun stuff in the next few days & making career progress. I'll remember who believed in me & who didn't.