Christmas is a time of year where everyone is supposed to come together, eat too much, drink too much and be merry. Sadly some people are missing loved ones most of all this time of year and feelings of depression tend to bubble to the surface.
I am fortunate enough not to have lost anyone particularly important to me so my tendency to me sad at this time of year comes from something else. I come from a broken home. My mum left my Dad when I was around eight years old. I used to sit at the top of our landing stairs almost every night and listen to them shout and scream at each other, the name calling and verbal abuse not something a child should really hear from their parents. After we left our home for somewhere only about 20 minutes away, my Mum's new boyfriend, my ice skating instructor, soon moved in with us. We did not get along most of the time. This could be part to not seeing him as our Dad and just some guy living with us.
During this time, my younger brother, sister and I saw my Dad almost every two weeks. We felt that this was Mum not letting us see him because of their personal issues and the fact that she berated him almost every time he was brought up in conversation. So from eight years old I had heard only spite and malicious comments from both of my parents about each other. Then my dad met his new wife to be, who came with two children of her own, I might note from two different men. We mostly got along being of similar age to her children. That is when they all moved into our childhood home. Things went downhill fast from this point. We would fight all the time with them, and I admit, I felt jealous and angry that they were in my old bedroom, claiming it as their own! The worst part for me came when they were re-doing the pavement in the back garden, where years before we had written our names in the concrete. This felt like a massive betrayal to us kids. It felt like he wanted us erased so his new family could take over. The the day came, when I was 13, that he phoned me up, calling my Mum a whore among other things. At this point I told him to fuck off and never speak to me again.
After 10 years living with my now stepdad, and finally getting along with him, my Mum announced to us that she had been seeing another man behind her husbands back for the last six months or so. She then made us swear on her life that we wouldn't tell my stepdad. For about a month or two I had to pretend I knew nothing about it. As soon as she finally told my Stepdad he brought us into the other room to talk to us. He asked me if I had known and it broke my heart to tell him that i had known but was sworn to secrecy. The worst part is he said he understood and was sort of proud of me for keeping my promise to my mum, as much as I hated doing so.
Then we moved again, into a maisonette flat above some shops. This place was cosy enough but did not feel like home. Then after not too long Mum's new boyfriend, the one she had cheated on my Stepdad with, started staying with us. This was just insult o injury. It doesn't help that it was just way too soon. I had a girlfriend for about a year at this point, but she was verbally abusive towards me and took advantage of me, no not in a sexual way, I had to earn that, but more in that she would use me as her verbal punching bag and get to me to drive her around. The worst point in the relationship is, when we had moved home again, she called me a cunt over the phone to which I still forgave her. Then came the arguments with Mum's boyfriend. We had all moved in together into a three bedroom house at this point. He had made it very clear from day one that he felt no responsibility towards us and would not help Mum pay a penny towards looking after us.
The arguments got worse as time went on. At this point I was working six to seven day weeks, working every Sunday morning as a swimming teacher. After teaching swimming for four years my skin built an intolerance towards the chlorine, meaning that my hands in particular would sting after every shift. I then get home to being told I need to go out and do something. At 19 years old I stated I just wanted to sit in my room and relax, play a bit of Xbox, chill out. The argument with Mum's boyfriend got so intense we ended up facing up to each other. Mum got in the middle of us as she didn't want fighting. She said to me he used to box so I couldn't win this fight, I responded with I didn't care I just wanted to hurt him, badly. He then told me to leave the house or he would have the police remove me. Mum just stood there, watched and said nothing. She was allowing some man she had been with for about a year or two throw out her son and she said nothing. Luckily my Nan came to the rescue. She had been there earlier to see my mum and had witnessed some of this argument. She offered me to stay with her for a couple of weeks, to which I initially refused as I felt like I was admitting defeat. After two hours of contemplation I phoned her back and asked if that was still an option. I moved in that evening.
During the now three weeks I was staying with my Nan and Granddad, I tried to get on the local housing register as I was effectively homeless. I was told by the local council that being a white male, who works and has no disabilities or drug problems that I would have less than a two percent chance of ever getting housed and that I should just keep sleeping on other peoples sofas. I told my grandparents the news, to which they refused to have me homeless. They in turn converted their old office into a single bedroom for me. It wasn't very big, and I was imposing on them but it would do for the next three years. During this time I broke up with my girlfriend, which I had never done before. Her Mum begged me to give her another chance to which I said I am sorry but I just couldn't and didn't want to take it anymore. This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, and I admit, it had me in tears for about a week or two. Nan at this point, never being an overly affectionate person, gave me the biggest and most soothing hug I had ever received. She told me I had done the best thing possible myself and that there is plenty more fish in the sea. She was right. I dated several people over the next couple of years, to which some of them, I admit now, I caused problems with as I tended to bring up my ex a lot. One of my girlfriends, Kerry, didn't want to commit to me as I was still so hung up on my ex. She said she really liked me but could not love me if I couldn't truly lover her and let go of the past. I thought she was talking rubbish at this point but I see now she was right. I had reconciled with my Mum at this point, with her telling me that she felt so much guilt and shame over letting her partner kick me out. It didn't help when she then cheated on her partner with another man. Admittedly, her partner had always been an asshole, but I do not condone cheating of any kind, for whatever reason. I was told intimate details about my mum by this other guy who she had left high and dry in the end. I defended my Mum and she swore on her children's lives that she never cheated on her partner. Later that night she admitted to me she had lied and had an affair. She wanted me to comfort her, which I refused as she had broken our trust, yet again.
The time came to be looking for my own place. My brother at this point had also fallen out with Mum's boyfriend and he was trying to make my brother move out, saying they would downsize and hew would have to find somewhere else to live. They are still living there over a year later. My bother and I then began looking at renting flats. Where we live in a busy city this was almost impossible on our wages. My Dad, who I had reconciled with a few years earlier, offered us money to get a deposit on a mortgage. As usual with his promises it was all hot air. Being that he said he would have to do it behind his wife's back,we should have know he was full of shit. Then my Mum, almost in an attempt to redeem herself offered us the deposit, repayable of course. We took her up on the offer and bought our own flat. The flat needed a lot of work and with our Dad being in the building trade, we got a lot of it on the cheap. Then I met Jen again. I had met her about four years previous when I worked in a newsagents and she worked two doors up at the green grocers. I didn't know at this time the age gap between us as she has always looked older than she is. Finding out she was 13-14 and I being 19-20, I backed off immediately. We didn't talk again until Christmas time 2015, with being 23 at the time and her being 16. We immediately hit it off. She had a boyfriend at this time, who left then left to be with me instead. It was going great. Then we hit bump in the road in about February. I found out something I wish i hadn't and it devastated me. We worked through it though and emerged stronger than ever. Forgiveness comes easy, forgetting is much harder. Time passed and Jen basically began living with me on and off. I immediately got on with her whole family, luckily. We even got engaged in August this year. It didn't really sink in for a few weeks that we were going to get married, after our holiday booked in May 2017 of course! My sister had been living with us since June/July time and things seemed to be going well between them. My Dad then ruined our relationship with him again as my Sister, who has never gotten along with my Step-mum, had another argument with them. My dad proceeded to call her a whore among other things, reminiscent of 11 years prior when he called my Mum similar. I told them to fuck off once again and haven't spoken to them since. Things carried on at home as usual for a while. Then my Sister began making comments about Jen, this did not go down well. Now I have Jen angry at my sister. i don''t care if they are best friends, I just want them to get on. I am now terrified that Jen is going to get fed up of living with me because of my Sister. I just want everyone to get on.
The point of all this being Christmas has been a depressing time for me for a while now. I feel like my family is broken and that Christmas is such a hassle. I don't want to come across as woe is me as my life could be much worse. I just struggle to be happy at this time of year.
Well long post over. Now time to just put a smile on and get on with it.