It’s holiday time, which means for a lot of us, it’s time to visit family.
While for many this is a joyous time, for a lot of people going back to a childhood home is difficult and sometimes painful. Perhaps you have differing political or religious views or your family disagrees with what you’re studying in college. Maybe you came out to your parents and they weren’t so thrilled or they don’t support your job choices.
Whatever the reason may be, going home can be hard. Personally, I try to avoid political conversations with relatives and bring out my queer feminism only when it is important to my safety or if people ask. However, there are times that uncomfortable situations are impossible to avoid.
For the moments when the unavoidable happens, here are five ways to take care of yourself while visiting relatives this holiday season.
Plan activities that don’t involve your family.
If you don’t get along with your family, it’s important that you plan out activities that you can do without them. See old friends, go for walks or bike rides alone, go to a concert, do some work in a coffee shop. Put these things in your schedule before you even get home, so that by the time you are there you already have plans that don’t just involve sitting in your childhood living room.
Bring a sketchbook, a journal, some yarn and knitting needles, or some other quiet activity that uses your hands and your full concentration.
Commit to drawing/writing/knitting/etc for at least an hour every day. This will give you an excuse to be focused on an activity that doesn’t involve anybody else. It also can be a great way to get family time in without having to have a conversation that may end up in a relative telling you your queerness is just a phase.
When you need to get away, take a bath. This luxurious alternative to showering, takes way longer and can be a great way to spend an evening at home. Bring a good book or Netflix and let yourself zone out in the warm water. If you’re feeling extra dangerous, use this time to masturbate because nothing perks you up like an orgasm (just make sure to lock the door!).
Plan activities with your family that don’t require a lot of conversation.
You’re going to have to get some family time in as that is often a pre-requisite to visiting family. Choose activities that you can all do together, but don’t allow for constant grilling about the color of your hair or the life choices you’re making. Go see a movie (it’s Oscar season, so this is a great time for movies), see a theater performance, take a cooking class, or get a pedicure with your mom (or dad or brother or sister or third cousin twice removed). Do activities that get you out of the house and focused on something else.
Don’t forget to check in with yourself.
Remind yourself that you are a full, wonderful human being just the way you are. Whether you recently came out or your grandma thinks your purple hair makes you look sloppy, remind yourself that you are more than your family’s opinion. Text friends when you need support. If you start to forget all the things that make you awesome, make a list of why you are great. Because you are great even if your family can’t see it.
Happy Holidays y’all! Hope it’s filled with intersectional feminism and yummy baked goods.