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Day 320: A Turkey Situation

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I guess the great thing about being a semi-recluse is I am comfortable being alone - even on holidays. Being with my family would actually be punishment. I have spent many a family holiday in the bathroom - thinking of ways to tunnel my way through the wall to sweet freedom.

I think family gatherings are great. If you like the family. And if they like you.

The words "single" and "alone" on a holiday seem to evoke a certain empathy and downward stares and pity; and assumptions that the words "drunken" and "stupor" and "curled in a ball in the corner" are part of the single gal narrative.

To me, being buried under 3 comforters with a cat sitting on my belly and me trying to figure out how many seasons Law and Order has been on the air is some kind of wonderful. Add coffee - and upgrade the day to an orgasmic, little lovefest.

But there are always invitations.

It took me a long time to get used to going to other people's families homes for Thanksgiving dinner. It is just odd to be the only single person in the room above "six" and an outsider. It is also odd to plan my escape [I am the worst excuse-maker ever] and these dinners last longer than daylight savings time.

Really. I need to know how to get out of these festive Bermuda Triangles...

What to say? What to say? Hmm... "I have an early meeting" [at Walmart at 5 a.m. - too obvious.] I really must learn how to make a good exit....

Every year my friend, Janet, invites me to her home for Thanksgiving. Every year I dread it. But not this year - I am kinda looking forward to her upbeat, sunny personality.

I think because I have been questioning a friendship [not Janet's] and I have been in a suckety suckety mood for weeks because of it.

It never really phased me before. I don't think I even noticed...

The icky judgmental, negative, nitpicky behavior.

The slick comments about my past weight losses and gains that were slipped into the conversation out of nowhere.

A request [that was surely a red flag] to "tone down my happiness" when "she" was in a bad mood.

[Um. No. And suck it.]

Still it was a weird thing to admit that I didn't like a "friend" anymore [and maybe that I never really did].

Then to admit maybe I wanted a friend so bad in the past that I settled for a judgmental, negative one.

First it made me mad, then sad, then mad again.

[Or maybe I have been going through the 7 stages of "losing a friend" - 1) sadness, 2) remorse, 3) hurt, 4) anger and 5 - 7) I'm gonna metaphorically put my not-so-dainty, pedicured foot up her whatchamacallit if she says one more snooty comment.]

Yes, we have talked about our differences. Negative people seem to love to explain how they are always right. Let's call it a gift.

But it is over.

I am not giving up my perfectionist, judgmental ways so someone else can assume that role in my life.

Acknowledging and ending a toxic friendship was a tough lesson this past month. And perhaps the suckiest. At this rate, it will be just me and my cats at my funeral [if they can get a ride.]

So on to Turkey Day where my plan is to workout. Write stuff. Chill. Read stuff. Eat. Watch TV. Nap. Wear fluffy socks and sweat pants all day. And make choices I will not regret Friday.

And here is what my friend, Janet, said when I told her I couldn't handle the stress of being around all that food. I really don't want to be offered pie over and over until I give into the pressure. I really need support or I am just not coming to dinner. [This was hard, and yes, I wanted to vomit.]

She was immediately concerned and empathic.

"You can eat or not eat whatever you want. I just want you to come," she insisted.

Cool. Huh?

That is what real support and friendship feels like

It is more about loving me than judging me.

My spark friends taught me that.
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  • JAN615
    I concur, had to get rid of some toxic family members. I feel so much better!!
    3283 days ago
    Had to get rid of a toxic friend as well....it really does suck...but then you feel so much better
    3295 days ago
    hi gorgeous, i don't know how i missed this blog but it was very good just like the others i really look forward to reading your blogs they are always very right-on. looking forward to the next one emoticon emoticon
    3299 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/16/2011 7:34:11 AM
    ahhh...i sooo understand...i am the same way....i personally find being a semi-recluse quite enjoyable for the most part....my husband is quite social so this is a burden for him at times....but as i get older i find i have less tolerance for being in relationships or jobs or situations that are unpleasant or unenjoyable....

    i do not understand why people bother you about your weight gains or losses....i know people do this, i just do not understand why they feel they must voice their opinions

    its nice to finally find a friend who enjoys who you are emoticon emoticon
    3300 days ago
    3304 days ago
    I can so relate to your need for solitude around the holidays.

    Good for you for saying good-bye to the frenemy and embracing the real one!

    3308 days ago
    Awesome blog. I know I'm super late reading it...been away for a while, unfortunately. Glad you have a great friend in Janet! That's great. And glad that you let the other one go. Who needs friends like that anyway???
    3310 days ago
    hey merry festive season and heres to doing more of what we really want to do instead of compromising and not getting what we deserve! Happy new year emoticon
    3313 days ago
    I absolutely loved reading this blog. What a wonderful way with words you have. I tend to be a total Grinch when it comes to the festive season! I constantly find myself coming up with ever more elaborate excuses as to why I can't join my over-sized family (and I'm not just talking about the number of them) for the usual festive free for all that is Christmas dinner. Alas I always fail and end up sitting at the end of the table, faining a food induced coma so that no one talks to me.

    On the friend front, I think if you're an empathic person (which I think from your blogs you are) it's really difficult to cut someone out of your life, regardless of how destructive they are. Recently I've cut people out of my life that just made me question everything I was, it was really difficult but I feel infinitely better now. I only have 3 people on the planet that I can tolerate for any amount of time and I'm pretty happy with that. You have Janet and your cats... and an army of fans on here... I think you're doing pretty amazing.

    Thank you for the entertaining and thoughtful read.
    3317 days ago
    LOVED this! I too love my alone time...and my family doesn't "get" it. So glad you have Janet for support!! emoticon emoticon
    3317 days ago
    I agree about being alone. I used to say to my co-workers, "I can be alone, in the quiet dark house, and be happier, that while at work!"
    Bring alone, doesn't mean being lonely.
    Even when you LOVE your family, you don't always want to travel in
    nasty weather to be with them. I often tell my relatives when I accept
    the holiday invite, "You know it may be a can't leave my house day!"
    That way if I don't show, they know it's just me.
    Your friend Janet, sounds like a true and good friend. Hope turkey day was a good one.
    3323 days ago
    been there with the toxic friendship, but add to that she was also a family member....at least you probably can avoid seeing her.

    Enjoy your holidays however you choose to spend them!!!

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    3323 days ago
    i have NEVER subscribed to a blog before... read plenty, commented to earn a point or two (hysterical that a sparkpoint can be a win some days), but never throughly enjoyed one as much as I enjoyed yours and then I proceeded to read a few of your past ones... brilliant! and I was hooked. I am honeslty looking forward to reading through many/if not all or your past blogs! Your blatant honesty and ability to keep it real and entertaining is FAB!!! Keep on rocking. I've definitely had/have toxic friends and I have worked to eradicate or keep them at arms length (some are terribly difficult to remove all together from your life). Merry Merry Christmas!!
    3324 days ago
    Wow, perhaps because I'm feeling introspective, I feel a sadness reading this blog. I feel about friends like you do (cultivated or chosen family). Interestingly, I just began Iyanla Vanzant's latest book today (Peace from Broken Pieces) and it has the same kind of haunting feel that your story about travelling to your Aunt's and Christmas has. And I wonder, "hmmmm, is there a message for me in these stories?" Maybe I'm just feeling the little melancholy I feel during this time of year, or maybe it's something else. Dunno. But I appreciate always your honesty, your reflections, and your willingness to share your thoughts with us.

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    3325 days ago

    First I want to say you look great and probably better since this is an old blog. Been there done that and I spent Thanksgiving alone cooking to my hearts content with things I never cooked before. Baked and ate my Turkey and all the trimmings on a dessert plate so that says how much of each I had. Very small helpings and I had fun. My daughter invited me to her sister-in-laws house who I don't know and I would have to drive over an hour which I don't do anymore. Can't get it across to people I have a bad back and can't be in a car long. So Christmas is going to be the same thing because I feel like and outsider with all the young people. I am 67 and don't fit in and I don't smoke so when everyone is outside I sit in a corner by my self not more I can be by myself with my dogs and happy. Don't get me wrong I love being around people as long as I am included with what is going on.

    Live your life that makes you happy, continue with your healthy eating, routines exercises in reaching your goal. Love Spark people, friends, teams and learn from them. God bless and keep you safe always.

    3326 days ago
    Awesome blog. I've experienced letting a toxic friend go and it's not fun, but it sure is healthy. Good for you for choosing your mental/emotional health.

    Good choice! I know how hard it is.

    Yeah Janet. Give her a hug for me!

    3326 days ago
  • JKSATHER2001
    I am just in AWE of your blogs! I happened to start catching them late in the game but my goodness you've been through an awful lot and have come through it all unscathed!! We Sparkers really need to stick together, don't we!? I've only just started my Spark journey this past August but so far I've met some AMAZING people with wonderful, uplifting, and truly inspiring stories.

    Thank you for this blog, and of course all your others because you are a joy to read when I'm having those "iffy" days....and there have been plenty these days!

    Happy Holidays! emoticon
    3330 days ago
    My son and I spend every Thanksgiving with a dear friend of mine and her family since our family can't seem to get together. Our grown children and her grand children come and we always eat way too much one day a year.
    Sorry about your "friend" but sometimes people can't handle you making positive changes.
    Oh well, you can't stop being emoticon for her.

    3331 days ago
    Hey Ms. Tiny Bikini......God bless you and have a peaceful,wonderful, blessed Holiday.
    Love Luyah emoticon
    3331 days ago
    Didn't realize how much I missed ya until I read this one. It's a keeper. LOVE your outlook! Keep up the good work and wonderful inspiration! emoticon emoticon
    3333 days ago
    Love, love, love your blogs! Thank you for giving voice to feeling... I hear you. I'm thankful for it.

    3333 days ago
    I really do love reading your blogs, perhaps because I can generally relate on certain levels! I feel the same at holidays, that I don't mind being alone doing what I want to do, eating what I want to eat, not eating what I don't want to eat. I do think I need to get a cat, though (thinking that may help me get over the "ex-guy" who just never seems to go away - no thanks to myself)

    Anyway, I'm so glad I just read this, it really had me smiling and laughing and feeling better. Just the other day, I made a decision to end a 15 year friendship with a couple people who really used to be like parents to me. But, they are toxic and judgmental and ALWAYS talking about people behind their backs (whoever isn't present at a function is sure to become the next topic of back stabbing conversation) and quite honestly, I just can't deal with it any longer.

    Here's to healthy choices in mind, body and spirit!
    3334 days ago
    I have been away from Sparkpeople for the last month (we've had lots going on-family visiting, etc) and the FIRST thing I've done is pop by your page to catch up on news with you. I feel exactly the same way as you do about the holidays. Fluffy socks and a cup of coffee will do me just fine, thank you very much! But I also love that you were honest about not wanting to go to Janet's but (I think) went anyway because you were honest and then discovered that she wanted you to be there unconditionally! Hooray for that. That so rarely happens. I hope you had a marvelous time.

    Thinking of you and already anxiously awaiting the next blog! xoxo
    3334 days ago
    Brilliant. Again. Period.
    3335 days ago
  • KARENE10
    I love your blogs! You are SO funny! Hope that you had a great turkey day and I know what you mean about "toxic" friends. I have recently had friend issues too:( Also,your sparkpage always looks AWESOME~ You are just too cool emoticon
    3335 days ago
    Alawys love your posts - you have a book in you. Although I spend my holiday with my kids because I like them - ha - I can totally be fine alone at any time :) It's cool huh?
    3337 days ago
    awesome I thought I was the only one who watched all those seasons of law and order with cats...LOL You are an awesome writer! :) This made me smile!
    3337 days ago
    Janet sounds awesome. There should be more Janets in the world.

    It was just the three of us for Thanksgiving here. Our girls were with their respective other parents. So, my son, husband and I made the things we love best, indulged our littlest, oldest, ailing kitty in turkey and enjoyed not getting dressed all day. The ponies got carrots and apples as treats, the dogs got turkey treats and a relaxing time was had by all. Honestly, it was the best Thanksgiving I've ever had.
    3340 days ago
    I so understand your being at peace with solitude. In short terms, we can call ourselves loners. In reality, we are happy with quiet. We can entertain ourselves. We are never bored...there is always something to do, read, or make. Life is good. I would love to tell people, don't worry about me...I am fine. Really. Just don't take my dogs and cats! Keep on being you!
    3341 days ago
    What a great friend and good for you for hanging out at home alone when you want to. I love days like that!
    3341 days ago
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    3342 days ago
    Love the blog! You are always so inspiring! I can totally relate to your "friend" issue. I just went through that myself recently and decided I was not gonna be a doormat anymore. I have too many other real friends out there to keep stressing over her. Well I hope you have an awesome day and a great weekend!
    3343 days ago
  • MSPOOH404
    Another great post as usual!

    I know what it's like to have to "reorganize" relationships...some are relegated to the "Long-Handled-Spoon" club...others are just kicked right off the train. It's not easy (and sometimes we even feel bad for doing it...go figure!), but in the interest of sanity and self-preservation, we gotta do what we gotta do. Be sure to tell your friend Janet that we all think she's absolutely great...a wonderful friend and very supportive. We can all use a "Janet" in our lives and I'm glad you have one!

    3343 days ago
  • JO2TOM
    Now, she is a good friend. I love her acceptance and love. I guess you must just suck it all in and smile. Sorry about the "friend/not friend" issues you are working out, but I guess some of that stuff comes with honesty with yourself. You are a wonderful person, and your style of writing is so expressive...don't stop. Love and hugs,
    PS I love the photo...is that your house. Maybe I will get some small trees and put them on my window with the starfish. emoticon
    3343 days ago
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    3344 days ago
    Awesome blog! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3344 days ago
    love it!

    3344 days ago
    Feel the love :)

    I certainly love the way that you write. I hope you keep it up :) Or maybe publish a book (if you haven't already?)
    3344 days ago
    3344 days ago
    You really do write the best blogs. I can truly relate to the things you say. You are so honest - it's really refreshing.

    Thank you for posting this and I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful. Sounds like Janet is a fantastic friend. I'm glad you have her. :)
    3345 days ago
  • TWALKER0475
    Wonderful blog! I have never had to kick a negative friend out of my life, but can imagine how difficult a decision like that must be to make. Yay for Janet and true friendship!
    3345 days ago
    You are an outstanding blogger. Your posts are always so honest, so insightful, and so relatable. What a great friend you have in Janet, it sounds like. Letting go of someone you thought was a friend must be tough, but the self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-acceptance you've found during your journey is absolutely worth it. You are an inspiration! I hope your Thanksgiving was blissful on the couch or wherever you were! Thanks for your blog! emoticon
    3345 days ago
    This was beautiful. Its funny... the tiny unexpected ways that true friendship shows itself. What a wonderful, meaningful surprise!
    3345 days ago
    "I am not giving up my perfectionist, judgmental ways so someone else can assume that role in my life. "

    Simply brilliant. Thank you for this.

    3345 days ago
    Great blog
    3345 days ago
    I love your attitude. emoticon
    3345 days ago
    It is amazing how all the changes we make in losing weight can be the same changes that suddenly make us aware of toxic relationships -
    ...and leave us unwilling to participate in them any longer.

    Janet sounds like the kind of friend we can appreciate.

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    3346 days ago
    Wow, you sure have a way with words! Great description of what it feels like to be at a family gathering and wish you were free to just leave!
    3346 days ago
  • NHGRL68
    Hope you had a GREAT Thanksgiving. It's nice that you could be up front with your friend and she could support you. It sounds like you have a great friend there:-) I've had to give up a few toxic friendships also. We have to look out for ourselves. Keep being YOU and taking great care of you:-) You're doing emoticon Lady!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3346 days ago
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