Home Is Where…

Home Is Where a

Home Is Where bI have debated a great deal whether to write about the topic I have chosen for today.  Its one of those topics that is very difficult to discuss, especially as you try to process it all yourself.  You also never want to be a downer during the holiday season.  Despite all that, I feel like I have to get this off my chest.

Between the Thanksgiving holiday and getting “geared up” for Christmas, I have had a rather harsh reminder about how people who are “different” than what society deems “normal” are impacted during the holidays.  Its something that many don’t often think about during this season of gifts, shopping and parties…especially when they have the strong family ties and such.  Unfortunately, this is a reality for many transgender individuals.

So, I have struggled for a few years with the holidays.  Since my mother died and the reality of my sister and I being all that was left of my nuclear family, the holidays haven’t been as exciting as they used to be.  I had found comfort in the fact that I could travel north and spend the holiday with my sister, if my work schedule allowed, and if work kept me from making that trip, I could always make the day trip back to me hometown to spend Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Eve with my mom’s family.

That was until this year.

While I have, overall, had amazing support from those I have disclosed to, about 1/4 of my mother’s family has not been accepting of me.  I have been called a lot of names, compared to a drug addict and been told I need to be institutionalized by members of my mom’s family.  I had to come to grips with and accepted this, knowing that their words and actions spoke volumes about them, not me.  However, losing that family connection has been a bit hard this year.

My mother’s side of the family is pretty big.  She was one of 9 children, I have almost 30 cousins and most of my cousins are married with kids.  For years, the holidays have been the one time of the year when we would all get together to celebrate all of our successes from the past year.  Living in the city I do, about 3 hours away from my hometown, going to see them for holiday dinners has been a gift for me and allowed me to stay connected as we all get caught up in our daily lives.

This year though, was different.  This year, an aunt and uncle who rejected me in the spring are the ones hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners.  About two weeks before Thanksgiving, they contacted me for the first time since telling me they could not accept me 8 months ago…and told me I was not welcome at the holiday dinners and that I should not plan to spend the holidays with the family.  They reminded me that they still don’t accept me and that their religious faith says I was going to hell.  I’m not quite sure why they had to reiterate the statements they made to me this spring…but ok.  I got the message the first time.  No need for the reminder.

Needless to say that while I actually had expected this sort of thing to happen with my family, it was a very bitter pill to swallow as you hope attitudes and perceptions will change.  I hoped for a change in their attitudes.  Obviously the change didn’t happen.  I admit.  It hurt.

Despite all of this, I do want to say there have been incredible blessings this holiday season as well.

For one, I didn’t attend a family gathering that obviously would have left myself and many others feeling very uncomfortable.  There were no fights to ruin anyone’s holiday.

Second…I have learned a great deal about friendship and the fact that we do get to choose our family…family isn’t just defined by blood relation.  As the Thanksgiving holiday approached, I had friends in SL, new and old, who included me in their in world Thanksgiving celebrations.  One friend not only included me in her in world Thanksgiving celebration, but she also checked on me continually on Thanksgiving Day to make sure I was ok and taking care of myself since I was alone that day.  So did others.  Some of you let me talk about my emotions with these events so I could process things.  All of you helped me to know I was not alone.

These simple gifts from many of you in world just proved to me once again that you don’t have to see each other in real life to develop strong, caring and supportive friendships.  These events proved to me, once again, what amazing hearts so many of you have.  This proved to me that I am not alone in life and I am extremely blessed.

Why do I write about this for a decor post?  Because as I have been working on these Christmas themed blog posts, I have realized that I need to create new Christmas traditions for myself.  I need to remember that my home is my place to create a Christmas that defines my view of Christmas…a view of love, tolerance and showing those we care about how much we treasure them.  As I decorate these spaces to share with you, I realize I am giving small glimpses of my own view of Christmas and while I reflect those in these posts, I need to make sure I am reflecting them within my real life home to keep me from struggling with the sense of loss that is going to come, no matter what I do, as I adjust to not being welcomed by members of my biological family…at least at this time.

I know this is a deeper post than I have done in a while and I still struggle with whether or not to share it…but I am going to.  I am going to share it so that if I withdraw from those of you I care about, you will understand why and know it is not intentional.  Its a totally involuntary reaction to events in my life.  I am also sharing it as a thank you to all of you who not only helped me survive this past Thanksgiving, but also help me overcome the narrow minded views of the world every day.

All of you who have been so supportive of me…you embody the spirit of Christmas and love every day.  Thank you so much for that gift.

See it on Flickr!


Credits
ACORN
Snowy Christmas Bone Stocking Exclusive [@ Epiphany]
Snowy Christmas Fireplace RARE [@ Epiphany]
Snowy Christmas Stocking -D [@ Epiphany]
Snowy Christmas Stocking -E [@ Epiphany]
Snowy Christmas Stocking -O [@ Epiphany]
Snowy Christmas Paw Stocking VIP [@ Epiphany]
Snowy Christmas Stocking -R [@ Epiphany]
Snowy Christmas Stocking -Z [@ Epiphany]
Vintage Style Clock -Silver
Xmas Countdown Cushion [@ The Arcade]

Apple Fall
Apple Sprig w/ Branch
Coffee & Muffin
Cosmos Flowers – Candystripe
‘Elvira’ Plate w/ Egg, Avocado & Toast
‘Elvira’ Plate w/ Sliced Grapefruit
‘Elvira’ Rose Tea
Handbag & Scarf
L’Air Frais
Magnolia Leaf Wreath
Model Plane – Large
Paris Loft Skybox RARE
Pinecones & Hazelnuts
Pheasant Feathers
Reaching Plant
Twig Wreath

ARIA
Nouvel Rug

Astralia [@ Tannanbaum]
Getting ready for Xmas gift box (pink)

Can’t Even [@ Tannenbaum]
Jolly AF
Vase Of Balls (Green/Red)

Cinoe [@ Boardwalk Event]
monochrome table redbrown (Rough)

JIAN
Lively Labs :: Not So Srs Bsns Pup

Kaerri [@ Boardwalk Event]
2018 Gift Box Arrangement
2018 Gold Bowl Xmas Arrangement

Kalopsia [@ Tannenbaum]
Angels Gift Box – Red
Animals Gift Box – Bear
Animals Gift Box – Fox
Candy Canes Gift Box – Green
Starry Gift Box – Plain
Starry & Pines Gift Box – Drawing
Starry & Pines Gift Box – Plain

Kuro [@ Tannenbaum]
Gifts

Merak [mainstore release through FaMESHed GO!]
Designer’s Bag
Designer’s Laptop

MudHoney
Liza Heels – Black

Newchurch [@ Boardwalk Event]
Gemma 3 Leather Sofa (Adult)

Nutmeg
Bachelor Bag Brown

Refuge [@ Tannenbaum]
Burst Bauble Blue
Burst Bauble Pink
Burst Bauble Purple
Burst Bauble White
Classic Bauble Blue
Classic Bauble Gold
Classic Bauble Pink
Classic Bauble Purple
Classic Bauble Silver
Drop Bauble Blue
Drop Bauble Gold
Drop Baunble Pink
Drop Baunble Purple
Drop Bauble Silver
Tree Frame Green Animated
Tree Frame Natural Animated
Vintage Star Topper RARE
Winter Scene Twinkling Stars
Wire Snowflake Blue
Wire Snowflake Pink
Wire Snowflake Purple
Wire Snowflake White

Soy
DarK Purple Berries

tarte
farmhouse coffee table
holiday twig vase

what next
Toasty Slippers (Group Gift)

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Katie McKenzie says:

    Dearest Tiff, Once again, you hit home for me. While I can only imagine what it must be like to be transgendered and not accepted, I do know a thing or two about not being welcomed by my family. When I came out as an atheist years ago, my very-religious family tried to either ignore it or just stopped talking to me. It didn’t stop them from having group prayers at Holiday meals as always, but I could just sit quietly and not participate.

    I’m not comparing religious choices to your situation at all. But there is a parallel with the common point of family acceptance. We’re raised to believe, usually, that family is the end-all and be-all of unconditional love. That was true for my mother but not so much for my controlling, religious father or my super-conservative brother. Now that my parents are both gone, the rest of us don’t celebrate holidays together. (I’ve stopped celebrating altogether). There might be a “Happy Holidays” email but that’s the extent of it as each of us focus on our own children. It’s sad in a way but it’s been this way for so long that I hardly think about it any more. It’s simply how things are. There was some sympathy from my siblings over the loss of my oldest son, but that’s not a good reason to have a merry old get-together – not when most of us still disagree so strongly about politics and religion.

    What I’m getting at in a roundabout way is that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own happiness. It’d be great if we had loving, supportive families around us but that might sometimes be too unrealistic. When we move away from home and declare our independence, blood ties start to matter less and less. The hardest thing to do might be building our own circles of support where we are loved for who we are, not for the lineage of our parents.

    For this holiday season, I wish for you all the love and support you can get from your friends. Including me.

    ♥ Kate

    Like

  2. Dear Kate,

    I don’t disagree with you at all in your statement about being responsible for our own happiness. There is a great deal of truth to that. I will say though that it is harder during family focused holidays when you don’t have a family of your own to be with. While my sister has distanced herself from many members of our family, she also has a son and husband with whom she gets to celebrate every holiday with. I am blessed in that I am always welcome at their home. It just turns out that this year, my work schedule won’t allow it.

    I do know that going home to see my family after the rejection I am facing there would not be healthy for me…and that is my primary focus on getting through this holiday season…me and my mental health. There are multiple other reminders of loss this time of year for me, which do not make the situation better but, at least I am aware of them.

    I know I will be ok in the end. I survived Thanksgiving and I will survive Christmas as well. And while I will be not be leaving town for Christmas, I will be joining my sister, her family, one of our favorite cousins and her family in Charlottesville on New Years Eve for a mini Christmas together. This is something we recently decided to make an annual tradition as we are all big UVa basketball fans. My sister has decided she wants to make that my Christmas celebration, as well as celebrate my graduation…so that will help tremendously.

    You are amazing and I love your perspective on things. I am praying for you this holiday season, my friend.

    ♥,
    Tiff

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Starr says:

    Good post to get people thinking not only about your situation but as I think there are a lot of residents in SL that struggle with one thing or another ~ your situation may be different but being rejected by friends and family members brings a lot of people together myself included ~ family can be very cruel, very judgemental and if you are not in that circle it can hurt unless you just realize it is their loss as something you are being judged on are not in your control ~ and you have to decide whether to spend your life whining about it or just move on ♥ have met other transgender residents that will not let this define them or ruin their holidays because they each told me its who they are and their loss of family members used to bring them a lot of sorrow till they asked themselves would they go back and not decide to make the change all of them said no ~ there is nothing I can change as the stigma that I am faced with will never go away as I have lost friends, family members over this and at first I was stunned ~ now I could give 2 fu*ks if those never speak to me again…Good Luck and as I now have found friends that know my story and might not agree or disagree at least they are not judgemental towards me♥

    Like

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