I believe in indignation-in expressing it, feeling it and even maintaining it. Of course, there’s a point when it becomes toxic, but I think women spend too much time worrying about anger and indignation being justifiable to indulge it when it is appropriate. The reason I’m bringing this up is because it’s the holiday season, and on the list of things that fill me with rage is this narrow concept of family, specifically that we’re supposed to love each other because we’re related.
Thanksgiving and Christmas, like Sunday evenings, have always felt unbelievably lonely to me. It’s not because I don’t celebrate Christmas (nauseating consumerism, your table is ready), although that was an issue when I was younger and didn’t know so many other Jews, but because I can’t get my head around people wanting to hang out with their families. Family has always been such a sore spot for me, because it’s something I lack in the traditional sense. For years, my friends have been my family, but it’s hard to explain that to people without getting into the whole bloody story, which is exhausting.
A good friend of mine told me recently that she felt like going to her family for holidays was like crash landing in another universe. It made me grateful that I usually spend Thanksgiving happily watching 90210 reruns (the original one). Her adult self, values, and experiences were completely at odds with her family’s, so either conversation was incredibly strained or non existent. How exhausting it is to be ourselves, I thought when she told me, and how brave we are for doing it in spite of everyone and everything else. If we’re lucky, we’ll have people in our lives who will love us not just in spite of who we are, but because of it.