Christmas, ah christmas. This holiday carries plenty of expectations. The expectations of being with family, making cookies, a home cooked meal, a designated drunk uncle, and a house full of unwavering love. I've never had that traditional Christmas. My loose rendition of that looks like burning gingerbread cookies in the oven while my cousins and I had our own secret Santa.
The reality is that many people don't have the traditional Christmas. Not because they live a distressful and unfortunate life. Perhaps, it began that way but it doesn't mean it is that way now.
Atticus Coat - PPLA // Classic Jersey T-Shirt - Alexander Wang // White Trousers - Calvin Klein // Chuck Taylor - Converse // Turquoise Croc Cuff - Isharya
I've never had that traditional Christmas. My loose rendition of that looks like burning gingerbread cookies in the oven while my cousins and I had our own secret Santa. The RSVP that year included my two cousins, my friend, two boyfriends, and myself. So no, our parents weren't there. No, we went to a restaurant instead of a laid out picturesque dinner table. And yes, there was plenty of alcohol. And it was a glorious year. It was definitely a house filled with love. I've had a misfit Christmas since I could walk and be able to talk back. Maybe our Vietnamese family tradition didn't hold Christmas too highly. That statement is untrue because I do remember large festivities when I was younger. I think what really happened was that we plainly grew up. Our respective parents didn't feel the need to hold the tradition anymore. Poker at a family friends' house sounded more enticing to them than making enough food to feed 30 people. Looking at it that way, I guess I can't blame them.
The reality is that many people don't have the traditional Christmas. Not because they live a distressful and unfortunate life. Perhaps, it began that way but it doesn't mean it is that way now. I've always enjoyed the holiday season every single year. I've always made it work with what I had around me.The motivation was genuinely to make sure that the people around me had something to look forward to. I never felt absolutely alone because many of my friends didn't have a family or a Christmas tradition to look forward to, while many more did. And when I say friends, I really meant my cousins who faced similar struggles that I did. If we weren't going to have traditions to carry, we were going to make our own. At least, we will have each other.
And then, that changed. We grew apart. We no longer spoke. And here we are, separated. So, Christmas seems bitter sweet right now. And I am talking myself off a ledge. Because, truly, I see an opportunity. Bitter because I also see the near past. I still have people that need tradition and above all, love. And that is who I will focus my energy on -- my brothers and my mother. Although, I've lost my last tradition, it doesn't mean I can't gain new traditions. So I'm currently on a train, heading to New Jersey. This time last year, my cousins, our boyfriends, and I would be in dresses heading to Maggianos for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. But now, I can not wait to see my mother and my brothers for dinner at Seasons 52. I'm wearing a skirt, at least? And a sweater when it is 70 degrees outside.
Thinking about that, this seems like an even better idea.
What I will look forward to more is new and reaching traditions I will build years to come surrounded by loved ones and misfits.
Photos by Thaya