10 Conversations That You Avoided Having On Christmas, Or At Least Tried To

10 Conversations That You Avoided Having On Christmas, Or At Least Tried To

How about we talk about it... never.

Christmas is a time to be with family and celebrate a holiday that will forever be a favorite. But, as you get older, the table becomes a place where you have all of your family members asking questions that you would rather not discuss on such a joyful holiday. Please, save it for another day like never.

1. “So, have you met anyone at school?”

I like how my family is more concerned with my love life than I am. Well, I wouldn't even call it a love life. I would call it more of an observation of life as I awkwardly stare at boys and do absolutely nothing about it.

2. “What do you plan on doing after college?”

This always seems to follow with a statement about what they would do if the were me. Little do they know that I don't actually care. The less I think about it, the more I can pretend I will be in college forever without having to go into "the real world."

3. “Any internships yet?”

It's not as easy as it looks!!!

4. “How are your grades?”

I don't really know, I refuse to check. Checking is usually filled with disappointment so I decided to just save myself the headache.

5. “What were you wearing in that picture you posted? It looked a little revealing.”

Yes, it was. No, I don't care. I am in college so let me do what I want.

6. “Why don’t you have a job?”

You know I'm just really busy with school, homework, Netflix, eating, hanging out and other important stuff. Maybe next year.

7. “I saw Sarah's mom posted about this club Sarah joined at school. Do you do anything?”

If you count watching an entire season in two days then yes, I do stuff.

8. “What happened to Billy from high school? He seemed like a nice guy.”

You take a look at his Snapchat stories, and then let me know what you think.

9. “I saw a picture of you on Facebook with a red cup. What was in it?”

Oh, that... it was just coffee, we ran out of mugs. We were studying all day so our other cups were all dirty.

10. “ Let's discuss your bank statement, and tell Aunt Margret what you've been spending all of your money on.”

How about we wait until later so we don't cause a scene at the table? Thank you! P.S. Aunt Margret would totally back me up when I say that Uber is for my safety and those food charges are for my health and growth.

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A Granddaughter's Love For Her Grandpa

We didn't get to spend enough time together, but what we shared, left an imprint on my heart that can never fade.
I always knew that I was special, but I didn't comprehend what that really meant; I kind of had to wing it.

My first recollection of getting a vision, message or seeing the future was when I was little. My mother's parents lived in Englewood, Florida, and we used to go visit them when I was growing up. We didn't go every year or anything like that, but we went often enough to where I got to know my grandparents.

I knew that my mother grew up in Detroit and she had two younger siblings: my aunt, and uncle. My uncle became my godfather, and he used to live in Battle Creek and tell us stories about when Kellogg's would provide free cereal for the entire town.

He was a funny, goofy guy, but also serious. I suppose they had to be as my mother never spoke of her childhood giving an indication that it had been perilous at times. She was always said to have had, "a rough childhood," which was often used to excuse allowing me or my siblings anything she had been deprived of.

In many ways, I felt like an adult by the age of seven. When I was sick, I knew I was ill and therefore responsible to manage myself. On the plus side, this made me very resourceful, creative, independent and self-reliant, although I'll be the first to admit that I was plenty sheltered to the point of believing that evil things would never find me. It was more naivete than was required and truthfully, allows for a healthy amount of dislike as I see the well-meaning wishes of my caregivers as basic as selfishness while also, potentially destructive.



"How is your daughter going to learn how to protect herself when she believes that everyone out there is as good as her? If you don't teach her to expect nefarious characters, she will ultimately fail when one finds her."

Luckily, I'm not that girl anymore, but it took arriving in adulthood to learn after being consistently harmed by people who swindled and deceived innocent females like me.

The first time I ever swam in the ocean was when I visited my grandparents in Florida.

I recall that all four of us dug a hole in the sand as we sat inside of it expecting it to hold its form, but the waves filled it up, and our structure was lost. My little sister tried to eat sand that day, while I felt liberated and wished the sun had shone just a bit brighter that first day at the beach.

It was Easter and that year, they hid a birthday cake for me in the back of the house. It was white with blue frosting and had flowers on it; I even got to wear a birthday hat. Every year after that, I requested the same thing for my birthday: white sheet cake with colored, frosting flowers. It was my favorite, a tradition, probably because that was one of my first, happy memories as a kid. A lot of the time, things always seemed a whole lot better when we were away from home.

My grandmother was withdrawn, and a lot like my mother. They both were very quiet, reticent and could be very distant, almost cold. The reason I noticed this was that even as a young child, I tried to connect with people, especially, my relatives, friends and their families. I liked to share stories, jokes, feelings, and bond. Whenever I attempted to get to know my grandmother, she ignored me and after repeated attempts, I gave up on her.

I accepted who she was, AKA her personality, along with how it was unlikely to ever change and stopped trying. For whatever reason, she seemed to want her space which I get as an introvert, but as her granddaughter, who seldom saw her, that, I did not grasp.

If anything, it explained much, most notably, why my mother was the way she was. To be truthful, I was on the fast track to being just like her, but somehow, I managed to avoid repeating the cycle of withdrawn resentment, coldness, and isolation. I broke a barrier that was literally stitched into my skin and rebelled in a glorious way.

My grandfather, on the other hand, was a cheery man. He had a chuckle and called me Chrissy. At least, he paid attention to me, he smiled and laughed a lot; he seemed to genuinely enjoy being a grandfather, which made me happy.

This is the only remaining photo that I have of me and my grandpa, since most of my childhood possessions and memories were forever lost. I was four months old, sporting one hell of a hairstyle while grandpa had his trademark grin.

I notice he was not wearing his wedding ring which is something I once did when I could no longer love for two, felt unhappy, unsupported and miserable. I was searching for a way to leave one of the worst commitments I ever made to another. In a similar vision that I had with my grandpa, I had one where my ex would leave me once we older and I couldn't sit through that.

Whenever we weren't at the beach or Walt Disney World, we were stationed at their small, white house that had lemon trees growing in the backyard. Grandpa talked about snakes, although I never saw any. There was a smell to their house like the sea, salty air mixed with memories and my grandpa's laughter.

He was an accountant back in Detroit, that was all I knew of his profession. My grandma was a housewife and my dad's father was a soldier and worked for Ford. Both of my grandmothers took care of the household and even as a little girl, I had my "Business Girl Barbie" and just knew that I was going to be a career woman.

The thought of being a stay-at-home mother was disappointing to me, for I knew I was too smart and gifted to waste away without giving back to the world. I'm not saying that stay-at-home mothers are wasteful, but for me, to not work was a shame.

I suppose the apple did not fall too far from the tree as I was gifted with accounting and math skills just like my grandfather. My godfather went into the CPA field, as well, so I knew I got that from my mother's side. I also got a fair complexion and a sense that I could see into the eyes of my grandpa and godfather. It was a sight that meant "all-knowing" to me. It's like our eyes could speak of depths without saying a word, a silent comprehension with just a look, which always struck me to my core-much more palpable than a phrase or word could have.

Besides playing inside the screened in back porch doing make believe things with my willing siblings, there wasn't much discussed there. Like I said, there were glances, looks, and wordless acknowledgments mostly.

On the bright side, there was never any real drama or yelling, unlike in my dad's family. The rock on that side always seemed to be my grandma, who baked cherry and apple pies and allowed me to have a piece even after I brushed my teeth. To me, that was exciting and by some mystical stroke, I was blessed with the ability to bake, as well as, work and apply myself. I was just too ambitious and driven to only consider raising kids. I wanted to do both and knew that I could.

One summer, after a visit to Englewood, we were all saying our goodbyes and piling back into the car for the long drive back to Baton Rouge.

As I sat in the back seat and my family certainly seemed preoccupied with other affairs, I got a nudge to turn around and look back at my grandparents while they stood in the street and waved us off.

As I did this, I felt a tremendous fear because I knew I was being guided by something I did not understand and it was quite scary. As I glimpsed at my grandfather standing on the road, I instantaneously knew that would be the last time I would ever see him alive and it crushed me. I was overcome with despair.

On the long ride home, I continued to ponder what I suspected, and then I did the most remarkable thing. I must have been only ten years old, but as soon as we returned home, I anxiously wrote my grandfather a letter. I did not tell him what I suspected, but I did tell him how much I cared about him, what I liked about him and how much he meant to me.

Going to see him meant a lot to me and although I half expected him to not have any idea what I was talking about, to my surprise, my grandpa wrote me back. He sounded genuinely touched in his return and began to open up. In a word, I started to see my grandpa for who he really was. Aside from his quant chuckle, he was a sweet, kind and loving man and once I wrote him, the floodgates of feelings rushed through me.

I can say I never really felt close to many of my relatives, with the exception of a few who really got me and at that point, I understood why he made a good grandpa, dad, and husband.

My grandpa gave me hope, and to answer the question: yes, I was right. That was the final time I ever got to see my grandfather alive. It might have been tragic if I'd heard that message and done nothing. Because I knew that time was of the essence with him, I took whatever measures that I could to get to know him and try to make sure that he knew he was important to the little girl who couldn't really comprehend her gift but was really trying.

I'm so glad he opened up to me, and I got to know my grandpa in a way I think few ever would. I believe he is in heaven watching over me, and sometimes I can still feel his smile, hear my name whispered amongst a breeze or find a steady hand guiding me because he loves his granddaughter and he's proud.

"I love you, grandpa. I wish we had been able to spend more time together when you were alive, but I will always cherish the letters we exchanged."

Love, your Chrissy


Cover Image Credit: Christine Gates

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It's Not You, It's Them: Signs You're In An Emotionally Abusive Friendship

Some Friendships Are Meant to Be Broken

It’s happening.

Again.

Your friend (yes, that one) is pushing you so hard that you’re about to a hit a record low of stress and negativity.

You’re powerless, you’re embarrassed; as a friend, you should have a better handle on dealing with this, right?

“Maybe I’m too hard on them”

“Maybe I just need to brush it off” (AGAIN)

“This is just how they are. . ."

Before you resign yourself to your friend’s behavior, know this: If you’re in any sort of relationship with someone who is toxic, chances are you’ve been bending and flexing for a while to try to make it work.

Stop.

Just STOP.

You can only change the things that are open to your influence and toxic people will never be one of them. Here are some of the ones to watch out for:

1) They belittle and trivialize you, your accomplishments, or your hopes and dreams

2) They constantly play the victim in order to deflect blame on you rather than take personal responsibility

3) They repeatedly cross boundaries and ignore common courtesies

4) They do their best to put you down

5) They'll make fun of you in front of other people to try and be seen as better than they are

6) They use your friendship to manipulate your beliefs and actions in order for you to do what they want

7) They try and use your friendship to make their terrible actions seem more bearable

8) They make it clear that in comparison to them, your accomplishments don't matter

9) They withhold from spending time with you (but not with others

10) They refuse to believe that they are the ones in the wrong when you bring up previous bad behaviors

As someone who's had multiple experiences with emotionally abusive friendships (some in the distant past and some within the past few months), I know that it's hard to admit that the negativity in your friendship could be coming from the one you want to be close to. You may feel as though by admitting that your friendship is past the point of no return that you've ultimately failed in the whole 'friendship' game. But it's important to remember that abusive friendships are just as real as abusive relationships and emotional abuse can be extremely damaging.

You don't deserve to be anchored down by selfish people; you deserve to be surrounded by those who will lift you up and cheer you on rather than tearing you down for their own happiness.


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