When you're in an alternative lifestyle, or even of a certain political or economic belief, you can run risk of conflict with your family, who may be of different and more rigid beliefs. Some conform and contort themselves, or disguise themselves out of a need for safety or out of fear. Not every household is the same and every life and situation is the responsibility of those experiencing it. This article is for those who have made their beliefs known, had their lifestyle revealed or outed, and who have been made no longer welcome at the table for the holidays.
There is a brief period of euphoria when cutting the cord, emotionally or physically with family. A creation of space, a sense of newfound freedom, the knowledge that your family will always be there when you need them. It brings about a sort of honeymoon period where any loved one that reaches out can get a chance to show empathy and support, or firm insistance that you return to family events or an ultimatum of changing or else. Or silence, a realization that your attendance at family events is only to the extent that you would be slandered for not attending, nothing more. And with that, comes a greater sense of self and your own love and happiness.
When the honeymoon period ends and the estrangement continues, because their beliefs continue, and nothing new has filled the space, there can come a feeling of loneliness. Thanksgiving is an ugly holiday, with roots in oppression and degradation, and Christmas is a hijacking of a Pagan holiday, cursed by being hijacked by a mysterious entity whose name is an anagram for Satan, who makes you fixate on consumerism and scarcity. But these are times, energetically of good and high vibrations, of greater patience and selflessness, of more compassion and empathy. And there is space created during these holidays to use for something good. What next?
There are a number of different options available to you to connect with the world and to give something back. As well as options if you need some more time for yourself. To give back one can simply volunteer. You can search online for “thanksgiving volunteer” or “holiday volunteer” for a myriad of different organizations and causes. You can read or work with animals, pay a visit to a children's hospital or assisted living facility, you can serve food at a soup kitchen, collect donated goods, align yourself with a specific charity of choice. You will connect with others, tap into the purest source of good holiday energy, meet others, learn, grow, and go home feeling satisfied and accomplished.
Maybe you're not up for that right now. Maybe it's a time when self care is best. It could be for any reasons, which are yours and are valid. For you, there are different things that can be done, however it is recommended that you abstain as much as possible from consumerism during the holidays, making these suggestions something of a double edged sword. My best advice is to take yourself on a date. You can stay in, but make sure you; shower, clean up, cook and prepare good, clean and nutritous food, dress nice or comfortably, take time to love and appreciate yourself through meditation, self reflection, yoga, or any other healthy activity.
If you're up to go out but not up for saving the world just yet, there are also other options, but again, try to avoid consumerism. There may be parks or museums or galleries open. There is a good opportunity to take yourself out to lunch or dinner and enjoy your own company. To be a mall rat and just people watch. To go to a movie by yourself. To try and find where you can find the spirit of the holidays.
And then, my personal favorite solution, and most rewarding, is the orphans thanksgiving or estranged thanksgiving. It is a get together planned by those who came before you. They can be found on Meetup, or on different message boards and Facebook groups. They are the people sharing in the same struggle, living the same lifestyle, following a similar path. There is comfort there, friendship, familiarity, jokes and commaraderie, good food, and you as you are, are welcome. They are sometimes held at a home, sometimes at a restaurant, but they are there, and are a cherished resource of support and community when you no longer want to feel alone.
However you choose to get by on the holidays, know there are ways to do so and people that would love to spend time with you, without compromise or judgement. When we open we plan on being another addition to this list, holding space for those who need it, and being a beacon of light to those who especially feel the cold and dark aspect of the holidays. If you need help during this time please do so, there are different hotlines and resources for those in crisis. And for those struggling, know you are not alone. And for those who have reached a level of comfort, rest, celebrate, and continue to fight the good fight. Happy Holidays to all and may the spirit of the season bring about the changes most needed for our world.
Here are a few links to resources for volunteering or for orphan Thanksgiving. Please check out Meetup.com and your local event page on Facebook.com for other ways to stay connected and to make the holidays be something fulfilling and enriching for you and others: