Hello and welcome to my December column! The weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been cold and icy this week, but we got some beautiful snow as well to put us in the holiday spirit.
You might have seen the infographics going around near Halloween, explaining the reasons behind some less-than-desirable behaviors that kids could exhibit around the candy bowls. Well, this is that—sort of—only regarding the queers whose families have bailed.
I know, a lot of people have found their large family of choice and love the holidays. Many—family of choice or not—just don’t. We’re not bad people, we just don’t think or feel the same way holiday-lovers do. It’s not something you’ll hear a lot of talk about—it’s just not socially acceptable to be riddled with anxiety about the holidays, or outright loathe them.
Some of these might only apply to me, but some are from other folks entirely and I reserve the right to preserve plausible deniability. 🙂
- If you get an email that doesn’t ask about your Thanksgiving or whether you’re ready for Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule/etc., that person might not be a mean Grinch. They could be super-rushed.
- Or, they could have barely made it past Thanksgiving with their sanity intact and are grateful it’s over;
- Or, they could be experiencing so much anxiety over the holiday season that they spend hours editing the holiday greeting sentence and still feel it doesn’t sound normal enough to send;
- Or, they might have so much anxiety about it that they delete the whole email and end up not answering you at all, even if they really want to keep in contact.
- If someone isn’t talking about their holiday plans—where they’re going or who’s coming to their house or what they’ll be cooking—consider that they might not want to discuss it because in their world the holidays are a time to batten down the hatches and ride things out, not a time to celebrate.
- If you’re organizing a work potluck and someone says they’re not into it because they’re trying to lose weight, consider that they might be using that excuse because it’s easier than saying “potlucks remind me of my mom, who cut me out of the family because I’m queer”. They might honestly be trying to lose weight or eat healthier, but all three are good reasons to bow out of a potluck or resist sampling every treat brought to the office.
- This might seem a little off the track, but bear with me. In some cultures it’s seen as respectful to call people cuz—as in cousin—or auntie. I know they don’t mean to hurt anyone, but consider the person whose family won’t let them be an aunt/uncle/cousin because of their orientation or gender identity. If you call someone “auntie” and they’re unhappy about it, maybe stop calling them that without a big discussion about why.
Some people don’t have families to celebrate with, and even some who do have a hard time around the holidays. Your quiet acceptance can go a long way toward making this time of year more bearable. Hugs might also help, but you might want to ask permission first.
If you like a little angst with your holiday stories you might like my Christmas story Holiday Weekend, Buchanan House: Book Five. It’s releasing next Friday, the 16th.
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This post originally appeared on my Charli Coty blog for #QueerBlogWed.