2021 Holiday Support Plan

I don’t wanna attend Thanksgiving this year.

Why not?

It’s based offa genocide, erasure, racism. I don’t wanna celebrate things that uphold White Dominant Culture.

We don’t celebrate it because of white supremacy; it’s celebrating family. We know people will have the day off and we can come together.

If it’s about family we can come together any weekend. I’m choosing to not celebrate this holiday.

Are you choosing to tell your granny you don’t want to see her? Are you going to call her and tell her you’re not coming to a family event because of white supremacy?

Have you ever had a conversation similar to the one above? Or maybe you’ve tried to tell someone no, but by the end of the convo it turned into a meek yes? I’ve written about navigating the holidays (and the toxic positivity that permeates this time of year) before, of how we can choose ourselves while potentially seeing family members who do the opposite. This year, boundaries have been on my mind as I mutter vague non-answers to questions about visiting family for the holidays, as my “no” becomes firmer and my voice quivers a little less when explaining why I won’t be attending certain functions.

I began focusing on boundaries after realizing certain family relationships felt like they were happening to me, rather than something I get to co-create and be an active participant in. I swallowed a cocktail of frustration, confusion, dejection after not being able to voice how I wanted to and was able to show up. Throw in the awkward blanket cloaking me of still wanting some sort of relationship after emotional abandon, and I was really struggling to find a way to navigate through it all.

Here are some things that have helped me figure out what boundaries will look like with certain family members, especially La Maldita:

  1. Being clear on what I want the relationship to look like. Do I even want a relationship where we talk everyday? To get through a phone call without arguing? To have conversations about feelings and impact? For my own sanity, I needed to figure out exactly what I wanted from the relationship.
  2. Figuring out if the person is realistically capable of giving that. Once I had number 1 written out, I had to figure out if the person is for realsies able to provide what I’m looking for. Have she demonstrated that she doesn’t believe her words and/or actions are harmful? Then perhaps wanting to have conversations about what I’m feeling isn’t feasible at the moment. Are there certain topics where we can potentially disagree and still converse without attacking the other? Then perhaps my phone calls stick to those topics so we can get through the call without arguing. Maybe we’ll even have an affirming call.
  3. Is there a middle ground? Once I determined realistic expectations, I started to wonder about middle ground. Even though I may still desire affirming me in my moments of vulnerability, I understand La Maldita is unable to provide that and instead, I only share less intimately personal information with her. I’m still working through this, of starting small and assessing whether we can grow into a more vulnerable relationship.

Overall, I have to see certain family members, such as La Maldita, for who they are and not who I want them to be. As Maya Angelou said, “when people show you who they are, believe them.” I’m actively working to see La Maldita for who she is as a person, stating the ways I need her to see me, and we can hopefully grow together in our relationship from there.

How are you navigating the holidays and family relationships this year? Holla at a homie.

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