Surviving the Holidays

The Zebra is a symbol for those of us with a Rare Disease but I know it applies to those of us that are adopted as well.



I started out writing another post and just couldn’t get it going because the upcoming holiday is on my mind as it is with so many of us.  Post after post after post is about family and Christmas.  Pictures of beautiful trees, and snowy lights twinkling on the front porch scroll by.  Recipes for the best turkey ever or the gluten free version of Xmas dinner with pictures included leave you drooling over the computer keys.

There’s only one problem.

This is one of the most difficult holidays aside from birthdays of course, for thousands of us who are adopted.  Thank goodness for the internet and people who understand what it feels like to be suspended in animation not belonging in either world of adopted or biological.  So much emotion.  So much sadness expressed when the desires of being part of….don’t come to fruition.

I remember my biological family reunion.  Movies of Christmas’s played with pictures around the tree.  Happy kids tearing open gifts and family around the table.  My absence not even known.  It brought home the loss of what never was and would never be.  Such a place of grief I  had never imagined. I think of those times a lot, not so entrenched in the devastation anymore but acceptance of what never was, what never will be.

Christmas as a child was not something to be remembered with fondness.  I know many of us experienced this.

I just came from getting tubes and tubes of blood taken with a very bubbly technician caught up in the excitement of it all.

 “Aren’t you excited?” she says, grinning as she pokes around for veins.  “Excited for what?” I say, knowing full well what she means.

“Oh, you know…the family coming and the tree and stuff.  I love it all!” she says a tiny snake of blood flowing down the minuscule tube curling down my arm.

“Well,” I said.  “Me..not so much.  I’m just staying quiet.”

She pushes another tube into the socket and smiles in that way we all know is pity and unimaginable to someone so full of life and innocence.

I’ve noticed in my newsfeed that so many of us will be alone.  It really is just one day, I say to myself as I scroll the feed.  But in between the lines of words I feel the pain.  I’ve been there and know the darkness, the feelings of rejection and dismissal, of not being wanted.

The old writer Henry James says:

“There are three important things in human life.  The first is to be kind.

The second, is to be kind.  The third, is to be kind.”

So often, we offer kindness readily to others but find it difficult to be kind to ourselves especially when we are struggling  around holidays.

Being a Zebra and accepting the reality that you are unique, rare, beautiful and interesting can help remove the sadness.

We need to start with ourselves by being present and accepting what is.  We can’t change the past so let “the ghosts” go.  Try to stay present in the moment.

Try Positive phrasing.  Visualize more what you want to be and less what you want to move away from. Positive action and thought is far more powerful than negative.

Recharge.  Some, prefer to be in groups and soak up the energy coming from other beings.  Other’s recharge in quiet environments or nature. Find out what works for you and then do it.

Share your difficulties or volunteer.  Sharing your feelings about the holidays without focusing on specifics may help.  Balancing sharing your “real gifts”, your compassion and understanding not material things with your community.  Volunteer for a shelter, or seniors centre.  It shifts the attention from you to other precious beings and you reconnect with your true nature.

Of course, the usual healthy instructions about eating properly and exercising go along with managing stress at holiday time too.

When you are in a quiet environment, where you feel safe and in peace…enjoy the blissful experience.  Gently touch your wrist or hand and notice how it feels.

If, at any time or for any reason you find your inner peace being disturbed just centre your attention on your breath as it is and gently touch again your chosen spot.  Your breath and your peaceful spot have always been there, now and later.  And so is your ability to enjoy life as it unfolds during these days and the ones to follow.

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”

Pema Chodron

4 thoughts on “Surviving the Holidays

  1. Beautiful post, Claire. This part stood out to me: “We need to start with ourselves by being present and accepting what is.” Though it has been a long, hard road, I have found acceptance of my adoptee experience to be key in my ability to be at peace.

  2. Hi Claire..Thank you for sharing :-)..I hope you will be feeling well and continue “reconnecting with your true nature” .as you have so beautifully in this article.

    The world would be a more beautiful place if we all remembered the essence of this.

    Lots of Love

    D xo


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s