For the past two nights, I've had dreams involving gatherings, mostly of family. While each dream had a distinct streak of loveliness in it, life was not perfect, and this made them even more poignant. In these dreams, my parents were still disconnected from reality, struggling with mental, emotional, and physical ailments. However, they seemed to have been brushed over with a coat of kindness, which suprised my dream-self but led to interactions that were far less painful than usual.

Clearly, these dreams relate to my anxieties and hopes surrounding the winter holidays, beginning with today's Thanksgiving. In the shower this morning, I contemplated this, wondering if I could help bring this about. I recognize that, after decades of behavior ranging from dysfunctional to abusive, I have reached many of my limits with patience. My childhood was spent trying to appease their mood swings, to avoid swinging hands and objects, and to comfort them in their struggles. Quite frankly, I'm emotionally exhausted. Beyond that, I want my experiences validated, not apologized for, not ignored, not excused: validated. My parents refuse or are unable to deal with the level of honesty that I've come to realize is necessary for anything resembling a healthy relationship. Yet, I keep holding out for that, all while becoming more and more aware of my parents' mortality and my own potential for deep levels of regret and guilt.

As usual, I'm torn between my sense of duty, love, and hope for my fucked-up family and my need for emotional health. I'm an idealist, seeing people too often for their potential rather than for their reality. Perhaps it's time to stop clinging to that idealism with my family, to see them for whom they are - helpful and harmful, and to interact with them with an air of slightly more detached realism.

This day in celebration of imperialism, broken promises, and abusive superiority is as good a day as any to begin.


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