Christmas is less exciting the older I grow. It’s nice to spend time with family but the dynamics change a bit and the day itself becomes more exhausting. Maybe it’ll be like this until I have my own family and children and can adopt some of their excitement for the holiday as my own.
Christmas makes me think a lot about culture and family. It’s not a holiday that’s celebrated in China so the things that my family does on the day doesn’t feel like ours either, and a sort of imposter syndrome comes over me and I suddenly feel that everything we do is fake and inauthentic. Our heritage doesn’t celebrate Christmas, why do we?
I guess ultimately it’s a day to spend with people you care about, whatever shape that takes. There’s no prescription on how it should be done. Today we sat around in my Aunt and Uncle’s garage, while my Uncle cooked lamb and chicken on the BBQ and we ate off plates that sat on our laps. It was very unglamorous, nothing at all like the fancy table settings that fill my Instagram feed. But it also felt real – just a bunch of people eating and laughing together on a day where none of us had to work. That’s special.
Meri kirihimete all 🙂
What is it about pain that makes us push away people who love us?
I’ve been keeping my family and my church at a distance because I don’t want them to see my pain. Now I think I’ve been doing the same with God too.
There’s just something so vulnerable about people who love you, seeing you in pain. You can’t hide your true feelings from people who know you. I don’t want them to worry for me, or try to fix me, or be pained seeing me in pain you know?
Why do I self-sabotage when I’m in the most need?
I need all that love, to fill the parts that were ripped out.
My mum emailed me today, asking me how I was doing. This is the second check in email this week, in addition to one text and one phone call. And it’s only Wednesday.
I know it’s not a crazy amount of check ins, that she’s doing this because she cares, because her and dad know that I haven’t been myself post the break up and they’re concerned. Still, it feels suffocating.
Every now and then, third culture stuff catches up with me and I suddenly feel very disconnected from my Chinese family, and I want distance from them. I harbour a lot of resentment from having to be the English speaker and translator for my family, having my parents rely on me to be their mouthpiece and bridge between cultures, having being pulled into the adult world of admin and sacrificing my childhood in the process. I wish I lived in another city so I wouldn’t feel obligated to see my family every week. But I don’t, I live a 30 minute drive from my parents and if I don’t see them every week I feel guilty for it. I just can’t win. Chinese culture is intensely family centred and I feel trapped by that.
So I know that my feelings towards mum checking in aren’t rational, and aren’t to do with the fact that she’s checking in (because that is a nice thing to do) but I’m unable to separate this, and her, from my own complex around my Chinese culture. Even though the gesture comes from a place of love, it compounds the smothering I already feel and I think I just need some space for a while.