I begin writing this only after the dust has settled. Staring hard on my laptop screen, trying so hard to collect my thoughts, to pick the pieces flung into far corners barely two hours earlier. Also, conscious of the fact that the taste and feel of the holidays is still in the air, and that outside the walls of our drama, the world is carrying on in full cheer, celebrating Christmas in very imaginative ways.
But there are families that do not celebrate holidays in isolation. In circles like that, Christmas typically would come with rice, turkey and a few hot-headed arguments. If it’s one of those years, decade-long resentments will force itself out, taking a bold and ugly stance amid the festivities. I suppose there are other families where dinner is perfunctory, and where the concept of siblings is nothing but duty and sacrifice.
It is for those people that I share this piece. The ones who are clawing through the holidays, searching for peace, familiar comfort or just the distant sound of joy. And the ones who have filtered away the tear stains and have been made Instagram perfect by their ready smiles and punchy captions. People who can’t wait for the holidays to be over so they can sneak back into the grind of life, choosing instead to be hard pressed by the corporate world than to deal with blood relatives already so fixed in their ways.
If you fall under this category, here are a few tips that may help.
Be grateful, still
It may sound like a cliché or a scam, but gratitude will save you. Yes, the holidays are a bit twisted and yes, you wish your family or situation were a little more conventional. But you have a family, people you can call your own, stories that no matter how dark can still give way to light. Celebrate that. Be grateful for what is possible, for the redemption that can still turn things around.
Don’t soak it in
Yes, refuse to over process, or worry or think. Don’t give into your emotions. This is not personal, and it is not about you. Assess the situation without leading yourself to self-condemnation and judgement. It is also not a time to judge others or sink into pity.
Talk to someone
Well, not just anyone, but people you can trust. It’s okay to decide to protect your family members, but it is more important to find an outlet. A trusted friend and mentor can be very helpful. You will find that merely getting it out will reduce the weight in your mind and will give you the freedom to creatively seek out solutions.
Resist the urge to stomp out of another family event. Sit it out, maybe. Forgive the sharp cutting words. Remember what was mentioned earlier: don’t soak it in. It is not about you. Don’t let the experience linger. Don’t let the thoughts trail you into the new season.
Yep, let nothing spoil that. Holidays are a good time to get a break from the demands of the world, and also to create new memories. So, make sure you do something for yourself, regardless of what is happening around you, be intentional about the treatment and priority you place on you. That is one thing you have control over. No one can take away.
How do you deal with family drama?