This doesn’t really get any easier at this time of year. This will be my third Christmas isolated from family, from children and grandchildren. You learn to take a deep breath, gently set it behind you, and try to move on. You focus on your friends, some of whom are very dear and very kind, and some of whom have ensured that you won’t be alone for Christmas day. And yet… your own children remain firmly fixed in your mind, even as you don’t exist in theirs.
Ultimately, things like this are why I will likely leave Texas once I have completed some key milestones in the medical side of my transition. If I’m a thousand miles away, it becomes easier to not dwell on the exclusion.
I have a few errands to run today, small things yet they need done. I will think about my siblings back in Ohio, and hope they and their families are having a happy holiday season. I will consider my friends all around the nation and hope they can find happiness and cheer in this time of year as well. And then this evening, I will make a quiet dinner and try not to think on my family gathered just a few miles away, celebrating, opening gifts, and enjoying one another’s company.
I read a heartfelt and thought-provoking piece about what trans people experience at this time of year titled Transition Is Not Death. There are powerful words on that page, words that claw at hearts broken and alone for no other reason than they had to face themselves honestly finally. A trans child (or parent) is struggling to reach for life, not death; to be themselves with those whom they loved first and foremost. And yet the very reason to transition, to reach for life for the sake of those they love then frequently becomes the basis for those same people to reject the trans individual.
It’s heartbreaking when I see it happen to others. For me personally there’s nothing left to break anymore so I struggle to continue reassembling a shattered life, especially at this time of year. This year it no longer hurts; it’s just empty. So I focus on those who are trying to fill it for me – Julie, Elizabeth, Fran, Kate, Jennifer and all my internet friends. To each of you I say thank you for helping me rebuild my reasons to love this season. It’s an effort that is still underway, but you have each helped me in various ways.
So as yet another Christmas day comes then passes, I realize that Christmas is my personal Yule, the longest, darkest day of my year. And that once it is past, the light will begin to grow again. In realizing this, I know that I have those around me who care, even as I let go of those for whom I once cared.
Happy holidays everyone. Sometimes finding joy in this season can be difficult but if we search, we can find it, even if it’s not where we hoped or expected. I hope each of you can find your own joy this Christmas, and that you can continue to let go of the pains that others choose to inflict. May your new year bring you each joy, strength, growth, wisdom, and the love of those around you.