Side note- The tree in that picture is absolutely considering jumping the fuck off the pier to escape the inevitability of his family arriving.
Seriously. We ALL do it in some capacity. We do it day in and day out, month in and month out, YEAR in and year out for fucks sake. We dread them being around, we allow their shitty behavior, and we perpetuate their toxicity for no reason other than “it’s family”. We do it with fucking friends too, and we’re not even genetically tied to those assholes. No time of year is more notorious for dickhead family members than now though, the holiday season. This is supposed to be a time of joy and love, but for most of us there is a thick layer of bullshit to wade through before we can feel any of that good shit.
“Deck the halls with misplaced anger”
For me, it’s my sister. Well, more accurately it’s my sister, my niece, my niece’s boyfriend who somehow manages to look like what would happen if James Franco’s little brother fucked an ironic Hawaiian shirt and they had a creepy little grease-baby, and my sister’s “former husband who got out of federal prison and is now back and is also a die-hard Trump supporter”. Yeah.
Drink it in, and be glad it’s not you dealing with these fucking miscreants. My sister and I have always had a fairly rocky relationship which has only gotten worse (but also more detached) as time has gone on. We were born ten years apart, we’ve lived VERY different lives, and there’s also the fact that I was the catalyst for my father leaving the ten year-old version of her so it’s never been what I’d call a ‘cuddly” relationship. She became a person that feels like she deserves to have the world handed to her, and has spent most of her adult life being positively miserable because the universe isn’t exactly playing along with her demands. She’s shallow, she’s materialistic, she’s narcissistic, and she’s pretty much the antithesis of everything I grew up to be and we’ve had a lot of conflict because of it. I could write a series of very thick books on all the details, but for the sake of brevity I’ll just say this: everyone who has ever been more than an acquaintance in my life has seen the shit-storm that is my sister’s shitty behavior, and it’ll probably never end either.
What’s behind “dysfunction door #2?
Behind “dysfunction door #2” is my niece. My niece could have turned out to be a pretty sweet kid, but that sister I mentioned above raised her. Spoiler alert- shes an angry young woman who has nearly no life skills! My sister did nearly everything wrong, and my mother did what she could to try to make that kid turn out OK but it was mostly for naught. Now she’s living in a barn with the creepy kid and covered in bad third-rate hipster tattoos and I swear I’m not making this shit up. Her father? Yep, he’s the one I mentioned above!
Aren’t you supposed to come out of prison BETTER?
To paraphrase- dude was in the medical field, dude liked money A LOT, dude got more of it than he should have from a big-ass insurance company, and dude did a nickel in federal prison for it. It’s hard to fault him too much for fucking over an insurance company, in fact I kind of applaud him for that part. FUCK the insurance industry and the way they treat our lives like fucking garbage- sorry, I could write a few books about THAT too. Let’s stay focused here, so he gets out and ends up back with my sister who divorced him a few months after he went in. I promise guys, not making this shit up. She had remarried the guy she left for him, and then left him as soon as this guy got out and started getting back on his feet. To put it another way, she hated his guts with a passion but as SOON as he got out and started making money the love “magically” returned. Gross. It also means that she basically spent the last 25 years bouncing back and forth between the same 2 men who somehow managed to be dumb enough to go BACK to her. Christ.
The thing is, the guy was good to me back when I was a younger fuck up than I am now. he helped me out a few times and was there for me when I needed some help a long time ago. I always respected the guy and appreciated him, even if we weren’t necessarily able to hold an intellectual conversation. He’s “cigars and football” and I’m “fuck you”. Oil, water, you know the deal. Now though, I can’t un-know the fact that he has become a massive Trump supporter. I can’t un-know the fact that people go along with him cause he’s picking up the check. I just can’t fucking do it.
Then there’s the whole abandonment thing.
There’s also the fact that all of these people (including my mother, perpetually positioning the eggshells for everyone to walk on) live within 40 minutes of us and NONE of them have been a part of our lives since we had the kids. That’s another thing I’ve gone into more detail about here, so I won’t retread that ground again. The point is, taking all of this ugliness into consideration- for some fucking reason, these people want to be around for Christmas. It would be the third time we’ve seen ANY of them (besides my mother, currently the only family member of ours that has ANY sort of active involvement with us) in 2019, and I’m not fucking happy about it.
Between my wife starting a huge new job this year, me starting The Ghost Generation (plus the day job), and navigating life with two children under the age of 5, we don’t get a lot of time off. We have vacation days, but rarely are we fucking OFF. When we DO get some time off, to decompress and enjoy this life that we work so god damned hard to have, we REALLY don’t want to spend it with people that are only around for the spread. It already MUST bother the fuck out of them that we order pizza on Christmas Eve instead of spending all god forsaken day cooking for them, but we don’t want to spend Christmas Eve doing dishes until 11 PM. I should mention also, that Christmas Eve was always my thing with my mom so that’s when we like to have her over. Since my sister is almost 50 and TOTALLY codependent, she has to come along. That in turn means that my niece and grease-boy have to stop by, which means that Captain MAGA won’t be far behind either.
It will probably never be the nice, quiet afternoon/evening with my mom and the kids that we want it to be, cause for some fucking reason these people we see MAYBE three times a year just HAVE to come and give us $10 gift cards to Applebee’s while hogging the couch and texting until our kids are up past their bedtimes and we hate EVERYTHING.
Fuck it, I’m taking the power back!
Yeah, that’s a nice thought man. it really is. See, I tried that- I told my mom that we would love to have her this year but that we didn’t want the rest of the bunch coming anymore. Why bother I asked, why bother when none of them want to be a part of our life all year long? Just to get another gift? Just to give my kids another cheap and half-hearted present that makes me feel sad cause my kids deserve SO much more effort from their family? It’s not about the dollar value, or the size of the presents or whatever- it’s the fact that my sister has done nearly NOTHING for these kids and I would rather her just not be around AT ALL than show up a few times a year to give us the stuff she was gonna return to Target. This is already WAY more sadness than I want attached to our holidays and unfortunately, I didn’t pull off my power-grab this year.
My mother is 74 years old, and I know it hurts her that my sister and I don’t get along, so I took too long deciding how I was gonna handle the situation and now were stuck with them. Sure, it’s only a few hours on Christmas Eve but it’s fucking OUR CHRISTMAS EVE and believe me-every minute spent with these people in our house feels like a fucking decade. Cause what’s it for? Just to keep some arbitrary idea of “family” alive even though you don’t really give a wild blue fuck about any of the actual people? Is it cause you can’t wrap your head around the idea that maybe, sometimes, it just didn’t work out and it’s better to go your separate ways than stick around and make each other miserable? Is it good ol’ fashioned “holiday guilt” where you feel sad a few times a year but completely apathetic for the remaining 361 days?
This night will be silent, but not from the hush of a new-fallen snow.
I don’t fucking know, and that’s because I don’t fucking care. I’ve mentally had these people out of my life for a LONG time now. My mother knows it, but I know there is a big part of her that wishes I’d just shut the fuck up and pretend like these people aren’t a bunch of douchebags and I just can’t. I also shouldn’t have to, but once again it looks like we’re gonna suffer through the awkward small talk and even MORE awkward silences, the throwback jokes about “when Uncle Aaron was in a band and dressed funny”, and desperately hoping Captain MAGA doesn’t open his fucking mouth about anything other than “how’s the weather?” so I don’t have to flip out on somebody Christmas Eve. I’m not saying I wouldn’t, I’m just saying I’d rather not.
I can’t even sit here and preach once again about the importance of cutting out toxic people, cause I didn’t fully realize that goal this time around. Maybe it’s my subconscious desire to not hurt my mother any more than life has done the job so much over the years? Maybe it’s my other subconscious desire to actually HAVE A FUCKING FAMILY that keeps me from fully pulling the “fuck off and die” trigger- I don’t know. I’m not here claiming to have all the answers, or any of the fucking things for that matter. I just know that this is all bullshit, and you shouldn’t sacrifice your peace or well-being for anyone. “Family” is a hell of a lot less about blood than it is an idea anyway, and keeping shitty people around just for the sake of “family” doesn’t do anyone any good. Same on the other side of the coin- why the fuck do my sister and my niece feel the need to pretend to care when my daughter has a dance recital once a year and Christmas Eve? Oh yeah, and occasionally one of the kid’s birthdays. Woo hoo. I don’t fucking know, cause this is the same sister who made my mom go on FUCKING VACATION the week her granddaughter was born so I officially have NO fucking capacity to understand her logic.
“Families SUCK!”- Kevin McCallister/”Home Alone”
Since today is December 9th, I’m pretty sure most of you guys have already resigned yourself to dealing with whatever shitty family members YOU have to deal with too so let’s do this- let’s fucking COMMIT to changing this shit next year. Let’s not allow people to be a part of our lives whenever gifts are exchanged, and let’s do the work to get it done. Toxic people have no business in our lives, sucking all the happy out of the room and freaking out our children who don’t remember who the fuck they are. Nope, were gonna do this Ghosties! We’re gonna make that call next October (cause you wanna get it done before Thanksgiving) and we’re gonna say “I’m sorry if you find this upsetting, but I don’t see any reason to keep seeing each other on holidays when you obviously don’t particularly care the rest of the year. No bad blood, no arguing, this is my decision and I stand by it. I wish you well, but this is better for everyone including my children who your presence only confuses.”
Got it? Good. I’ll remind you guys of this shit next year, and don’t forget that there is in fact a comments section below- I’d LOVE to hear your stories about this shit so I don’t feel like we’re the only ones out there dealing with this shit. It’s OK, we didn’t quite pull it off this year but NEXT year- that family fucking BandAid is getting ripped right the fuck off.
A brand new blog/website where this happily married, 30-something father of 2 little minions rants, raves, and speaks in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together!http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration