Well kids, these past few weeks have been big ones, I apologize for the radio silence, I had so much going on I was just treading through it. I put far too much on my plate and no suprise got sick. I did put on a great show, have a wonderful dinner, and spent lots of time with some amazing friends.
So to summarize: it was my first Christmas after no contact with fam, last week at the cafe job, played a show, hosted my first Christmas dinner, and saw a bunch of friends that I love. Oh, and today’s (Dec 29- when I wrote most of this post) and that my abusive grandmother died.
First of all, I was blown away by the love and support you all poured out, thank you so much. Thanks for your continued reading and everlasting support. I hope you all are having a really nice holiday, surrounded by love.
There are a lot of things I want to say, but I am not sure really where to start. The amount of emotions going on in me is overwhelming to say the least.
My grandmother was an interesting, and intricate lady. She was fierce, strong, passionate and stubborn. I loved the heck out of her, I looked up to her, practically wanted to be her. She was such an individual, she stood up for what she believed in, mostly the rights of others, equal pay, she worked for CUPE. She could get into a political talk and you’d be there for hours. She used to spend a lot of time in the sun, just laying there, gardening, she was the most tanned person I think I’ve ever met. She used to drink coffee and smoke by the fireplace, I’d sit there and listen to her go on and on, some good things, some not so nice. She hated cherry flavoured things, and she couldn’t stand when people chewed gum with their mouths open. She used to do this witch impression that scared the shit out of us (I think because honestly, I was just scared of her as a person). She loved Christmas, her Christmas trees could be on display. On the flip side, she could be cruel, manipulative and selfish. The world was not kind to her, she had been through a hell of a lot, and it broke her down. I’m not saying that it’s okay that she let her pain be an excuse for treating others so horribly, I just understand where it came from. To me, there will never be anything that makes treating someone like garbage okay. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, being kind is not something that should ever be sacrificed.
As you know, she was abusive. Not physically, emotionally and verbally. I spent a lot of time really angry with her and what she did to me. When she died I listened to Billy Talent’s first album no repeat, listened to it to fall asleep. I don’t hate her, nor am I mad at her. I no longer want to be her, I no longer even really look up to her. I admire her, and her resilience to get through the shitstorm that was thrown at her, and her strength to stand up for others. I guess you could say I see her more fully, the good, bad, and ugly. This day used to destroy me, and while I’m a little extra sensitive, a good amount of that is because of the whole week, and lack of sleep. I did a lot of work on feeling and healing the scars she left on me. I’m working still on changing the perceptions she instilled in me, but one step at a time.
My first Christmas without my family was interesting. It was a lot better than I had expected actually. Might have been one of the nicer ones, because the emotional hurricane was missing from it and I was in control of how I was treated, how others made me feel and I for the first time didn’t feel like I needed a week to recover. I didn’t come home and cry for a week because of how awful it was. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was sad, lonely, frustrating, it was really hard; but I made it through. I kept having this sense of guilt like I had let them down, like I was awful for leaving them. Maybe they were right in thinking I am a villain. (That voice takes time to heal. From what I read its really common for emotional abuse victims to have that sense of guilt, its sort of a normal response because you’ve been taught directly or indirectly that you deserve to feel bad, that you aren’t worth better treatment etc.) I kept wondering what they were doing, if they missed me. The gaslighting is something that is hard to shake. I felt guilty because I was putting myself for the first time, I was changing the pattern of constantly putting them first, I was always sacrificing myself and my happiness to make them happy. And while they probably aren’t fond of me, there is nothing wrong with the fact that I stood up for myself and ended the cycle of abuse. (Emotional and verbal for those who are new) I feel guilty because me not going home makes it real for them, and for me. That its not just a ‘hissy fit’. I spent Christmas Eve and morning with a good friend of mine, who made the night really nice. It was nice to have company and not be alone. I went over to a friends dinner which was so lovely, though sad. I had my own Christmas dinner, and I just tried to make the best of what was a sad holiday. Its okay that it’s sad, of course its sad. But i dont regret my choice, if anything I’m starting to feel more comfortable with myself, my voice, and see now that I’ve distanced myself, its much easier to see that yes, the emotional/verbal abuse was happening, no its not okay, and no, I DO NOT deserve it.
A few self-care things I’ve done to help me through this:
Therapy, go for walks, baths, face masks, quiet time, let myself cry, hug my cat, tell people I love them and remind them of how great they are, make soup, do yoga, listen to podcasts, listen to and play to music. Whats your go to self-care?
Thanks for listening, if you wanna support there are a few ways: share with your friends, be open about your story and listening to others, be loving and compassionate with yourself and others, reach out and ask for help, remind yourself how strong you are. Lastly, if you want to donate money into helping me make this better, more accessible, and more regular thing please consider using the ‘buy me a coffee’ button which should be on the right of your screen, or the bottom if you’re using a phone.
Over and out