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Thanksgiving (Minus the Trip)

November 11, 2011

I won’t be going home this year. Not to the town where my family has gathered for years. It won’t be the first time I will have missed the get-together, but it is the first time distance, or illness won’t be the precipitating factor. With my grandmother being 94-years-old, I do hope I don’t regret the decision. I have good intentions of visiting her when the crowd has dispersed, and it’s a more intimate affair.

The reason is silly. It’s selfish, and self-preserving. It’s because I can’t keep my emotions in check, or handle on onslaught of ridiculous conversation. It’s because last year, as I sat/stood/ran from house, I promised to celebrate Thanksgiving in place that felt like celebration.

My family cannot shut-up about politics or religion. It’s a large family. I don’t know how many different affiliations there are with varying churches, but I do know that only one of them is the right one depending upon who is doing the proclaiming at the time. As for politics, there are only 2 affiliations with the ratio being 1 to everybody else.

I approach Thanksgiving in this manner every year, “I will not discuss religion. I will not discuss politics.” My out is walking. If something comes up, I’ll go for a walk. Last year, I went on a lot of walks. A lot. Two of my uncles, one expected, one really unexpected were relentless in making jabs. Loud jabs. The jabs yelled from the dining room so that everyone in the living room could hear. It starts to wear on you after awhile. And I know it’s in jest, but you can only hear, “The only good (party affiliation here) is a dead (party affiliation here)” so many times. I don’t find it funny. But they know I won’t fight back. They know I’ve never been a fan of confrontation. And taunting has become sport. It might be fun for them, but it isn’t for me. I don’t want to be in a place where I am made to feel so inadequate, small and stupid because I don’t buy into the majority mentality.

I don’t because it feels so hateful.

Several people took me aside and said they were sorry about the degree of antagonistic behavior. But in a group, they stood silent. Silent like me. Without the constant hammering away at their psyche. And I don’t need that. I don’t want that. So, I’m not putting myself in a position to experience it again.

This Thanksgiving, I’ll be thankful for a lot of things. Intentionally thankful. Protectively thankful. Politic and religion free thankful.

7 Comments
  1. that is so hard, but I love your decision to remove yourself rather than argue back, etc. Of course it would be wonderufl if you didn’t have to make that choice in the first place. I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving full of thankfullness ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. well, i think this year is going to be especially brutal in the political arena, and i’m not sure how much longer i can hold out on telling them exactly what i think about their ideas. lol it’s really better for all involved.

    thanks for the encouragement. it will be a great thanksgiving! i’m really looking forward to it, really.

  3. I think that sometimes the best way to keep up family relations is by completely avoiding the family. Why put yourself through that kind of stress at what is supposed to be a celebration of gratitude? So I commend you in your decision. If you weren’t so far away, I’d invite y’all to our house for Thanksgiving. We have no family near by and can’t afford to travel anywhere anyway, so it’s awfully quiet in our house. We like to spend the holidays with lots of family and friends, but it’s been years. It’s actually kinda lonely. The first few years were fine, but now? Anyway, we just like to eat food and play board games. No political or religious discussion. Why have arguments or even “discussions” like that with people you love? No, we just want to enjoy our time together.

    I’m rambling. The point is… do what you need to do to be happy and comfortable. And know you’re making the right decision. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. i really think they get a kick out of riling me up, and they’re just trying to push me to the point of responding. my family is pretty ornery. i feel like i am making them out to be meany heads, but they really aren’t. i just am “different” and that makes me a challenge to them, i guess.

    meh. it all works out. we would so come to your house sariah! actually, i’m going to spend thanksgiving with t and family. which will be nice because last year we opted to go separate ways, and it was miserable. and the sad reality is… the welcome would not be there in my family. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  5. Karen permalink

    I am guessing they will miss you more than you miss them.

    It’s sad that others will only apologize privately and not stand up for you publicly.

    My sister’s ex-husband once innocently brought up the name “Trudeau” (as in Pierre Elliot) in conversation around the dinner table. You should have seen the wide eyes and flattened lips we all sported as my father launched into his typical rant. It’s common knowledge in our family that you do not say that name in my father’s hearing. I don’t
    think my father is even aware of how quickly and predictably the venom spews forth at the mention of that name.

    • i think most people, myself included, don’t recognize how quickly we are triggered, and how venomous we can be. :/

      i just need a break from it this year. plus, with elections coming up, it’s going to be especially ugly at the farm. i prefer to see my family in a more positive light. lol

  6. I think I’m generally a level headed person, easy to get along with. But wowza…stick me with my parents and half my siblings for any amount of time and it’s like we’re all right back in high school! I would NEVER, EVER spend a holiday with my family.
    (I don’t mind Nathan’s family at all–if we lived closer I’d spend every holiday with them!)

    We’re going to have an adventure for Thanksgiving. We’re going to a friends house for a gluttonous supper, then leaving early to drive to Mexico and spend the rest of the holiday weekend on the Mexican beach.

    And hope we don’t get kidnapped or anything… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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