Christmas is coming! I am so excited that I will be back home for the holidays. Every year we have a family gathering that rounds up a bunch of aunts uncles and cousins for a day of food, fun and catching up. Unfortunately I haven't always been able to make it. This year it comes too early for me to attend but I do hope that while I am in the neighbourhood that I will get a chance to visit with at least some of my extended family.
I have a lot to look forward to with a few days to relax and travel. I am hoping the weather holds so I can make it back to my home in BC as well. I am a little apprehensive about seeing everyone after so much time away but every time it gets a little easier and I hope that is the case for them as well. I can't remember the last Christmas I spent at home with my mom so this year will be really special for me. I will actually get two celebrations because my sister and her partner will be coming for Boxing Day.
For most people, six months isn't a long time and usually you'd have no trouble recognising your friends or relatives save a new haircut or diet perhaps. For someone who is transitioning six months can be the difference between who you were and who you've always wanted to be. Between the girl or woman your family remembers to the man they now see emerging in front of them. It can be difficult for people who haven't seen you for a while to reconcile how they remember you and who they now see in front of them.
I haven't been home since my surgery in July and before that it was April to visit my grandmother for her 90th birthday. There was some staring and stumbling and some awkwardness which was to be expected but overall I was really proud of my family for being so accepting and adaptive. It is always nice to be surprised when you have been imagining the worst.
Living far away from friends and family has been really difficult for me and transitioning while being so far away has definitely had an impact on me. While I have been more prone to bouts of depression from homesickness and severe loneliness after my break up part of that could also be attributed to the long dark winter of the arctic. Holidays are really difficult times to be alone and the isolation I've experienced over the last year has certainly shaped my character but in a positive way despite the hardships.
I can honestly say I am becoming my own man without any interference (for lack of a better word) from parents or friends or other family members. Even though they would have likely had my best interests in mind, I am glad that decisions about who I want to be and how I want to express myself have been entirely my choices. I have asked for and taken advice, questioned myself and explored parts of myself that have been hidden away for a very long time.
This Christmas I will appreciate my family more than I have for a long time. I will be generous and patient and enjoy them for who they are and how each of them has taught me something about myself and about life. This Christmas I will return home to the landscape I love, the mountains that make my heart ache for a time long a go when life seemed simple. I will soak up the spirit of the holiday and try to remember the feeling s of love and happiness and kindness when the misery of March trickles past. I will visit friends and make every moment I can a happy authentic experience so that I might bring back the memories and reflect on them when the distance becomes too much.
The countdown is on to the holiday!