There is nothing quite like the holiday time. I used to have this amazingly warm, loving feeling in my body that could only be matched by the lights on a beautifully decorated Christmas tree or by the scent of my grandmother's holiday cooking. It's been a while since I've felt that way.
I don't know about you, but I am now the holiday entertainment for my family. Suddenly, I have become the well-dressed, older cousin with great comedic timing, who brings the poodle to the holiday functions. Whose life is this? I am pretty sure it's not mine and therein lies the problem. Somewhere along the line, it became clear to me that as I grew into a full-person, my family hasn't quite adjusted.
It can be hard for a family to navigate the full being of their relative after years of hoping and dreaming of a life for them that mirrors the American Dream. They don't know what to do with me. Outside of discussing my job, politics and the fact that I've sent Quinn (my dog) to doggy daycare, there isn't much to talk about. It leaves me with much to be desired.
I am a gay black man. I have a lot to say. However, they just aren't ready. So this year, for the first time in my life, I left my family's Thanksgiving celebration early to go by my friend's get-together to satisfy my being. So, with Quinn in tote and jokes in the chamber still, I rushed off to Brooklyn, hoping to find an opening to what could be a new tradition.
We had some drinks, laughed a lot, ate some grub and even discussed our desires to have husbands one day. In that moment, I was grateful for the sense of family that we created for each other. We fostered a safe space during a sacred time where we could be our authentic selves. This feeling is priceless. It still resonates with me.
To be fully transparent though, my dream is to have these experiences merge rather than them remaining as silos. Why can't I have it all? My family is amazing; they are some of the most beautiful people in the world, but it appears that we are out of time. We can't pretend anymore. The reality is that their beloved "Don" is gay; I'm gay and I am no less layered than they are. I could really use their advice on dating or their accountability when it comes to who I choose to be a part of the family. I want to be able to discuss my desires to be married and have a family of my own in the same way the other millennials in the family have, without completely traumatizing them, of course. I can't settle for being less than a full person, especially during a time that symbolizes love and togetherness.
The most interesting part about being at this place in life is that I can't fight the way I feel anymore. Self-acceptance is one hell of a drug, I guess. Call me an addict, people! If any of you have found yourself in this position, I have conjured up one solution. These feelings have arrived simply to inform you that it is time to make your own traditions. You and I have embarked on a crossroads. For now, I have decided I want the best of both worlds. I will continue to see my family and then head over to let loose with my friends. One day though, I suspect that I will be inviting both my friends and family over to my place for Christmas Dinner with the boo! What will be your new tradition?
Happy Holidays, kids!!!