"Home is where the heart is." -Gaius Plinius Secundus
Going home for the holidays is always an emotional experience. While some of us revel in thoughts of lazy days spent at home during the holiday season, others don't share or can't relate to that experience. For others, going home is an emotionally exhaustive experience that we try to avoid at every cost. Here are some ways to handle being home for the holidays (or any day for that matter):
Don't lie. Listen, I already see how this is going to end for you. Don't do it. Even if you feel like all of your cousins have somehow become successful overnight and you're scrambling for something sufficient enough to make sure that you don't seem like a complete and total failure, please, just don't do it.
Tell Grandma Tilly that she needs to sit down and shut up. We all have that one family member who is just out of pocket (see reference no. 3) with everything that they say and do. No matter what the discussion, everything is just wrong. These are the people who volunteer information that no one asked for. They're the type of person who makes unthinkably rude comments (that everyone was probably thinking anyway, but had enough sense to keep quiet). In the words of my aunt, they're "local." Meaning, these people have zero filter and don't know how to properly conduct themselves. More times than not, they're older than you. Now that you've identified who that person is within your own family, it's about time that you set things straight. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to put up with your family, just because it's the holidays. Growing up in a Nigerian household, showing respect for your elders was of the utmost importance - and it still is. Even though my parents were less strict than other Nigerian parents, respect is so deeply engrained in the framework of my culture. Therefore, it was a expectation, and I made sure that I always adhered to it. It took me until my freshman year of college to recognize that adults can be wrong, and that part of the responsibility of being an adult is to actively learn from your mistakes. I also learned that there is no cut-off age for growth. With that, this holiday season might be the time for your trash talking grandma to grow a little. Please be advised that I am not advocating for disrespecting any rude or politically incorrect grannies during the holiday season. Still, it's important that you know that you are not, by any means, required to stay quiet while grandma says whatever she wants. Our elders are not outside of the realm of criticism! However, you just might have to be the one to give it to them (respectfully).
Again, don't lie.
I already know that some of y'all were still wondering whether or not it's a good idea. It's not. Stop playing.
Be present. If you, like me, are away from home more times than you are home, coming home for the holidays means that there's a lot of catching up to do! Someone in your family is bound to have something new happening in their lives. Whether its starting a new academic pursuit, purchasing a new car, beginning a new job or a new relationship - something is going to be different the next time that you go home. Use this time to catch up. You've been off doing your own thing, so now is the perfect time to get back in the loop (and drama).
Be yourself. Set boundaries. Being home is not a walk in the park. It's an adjustment and a change of pace. As a result, we have to compensate for that. It gets easy to feel lost in the swarm that is family, so be mindful of that. You shouldn't have to alter your personality while you're home. Still, I understand that not all of us have the privilege of of being our authentic selves while we're home for the holidays. This could be for a variety of reasons: safety, trauma, fear/level of comfort. However, it's important that even if you can't be yourself around your family, for every day that you're home, give yourself at least 2-3 hours outside of the confines our your home. Use this time to be you. This could be as interactive as meeting up with old friends, or as simple as taking a walk.
I hope that this holiday season, you feel a little more prepared and supported as you make your way back home. As for me, I'm ready to be back home!
*Disclaimer: God's good grace brought this blog to life.