Feeling peevish about being around family this December? We feel you. We’ve been there. And thought we’d put together some helpful tips that aid in emotional regulation, setting boundaries, and prioritizing self-care.
You deserve to be loved, feel safe and lots of pleasurable experiences this season. So have a fa-la-la-ntastic time.
No guilt or crime in masking. It’s ok if you want to mask and be closeted around people you don’t feel safe with. You might have to wear clothes that don’t affirm your gender or brush off homophobic jokes. Remember to take some time before the family event to prepare and come to terms with it. Consult with your psychiatrist if you feel the need for SOS medication. Ask a friend or peer from the community to check on you and send you affirming messages – it will remind you that your current state is temporary and soon enough, you will be able to reunite with your chosen family.
But if you wanna show ’em you got it, then flaunt it. On the other hand, if you’re out to them and are feelin’ sassy, then feel free to go all out. Be extra, take up lotsa space, cut ’em short with your biting sarcasm. But remember to limit your time and assert your boundaries.
That might sound like saying: “I came to spend time with y’all because I cherish you. But I can’t stay longer than 10pm.”
That might also look like going to the bathroom, balcony, kitchen or the outdoors (mask on 😷) to take a break and telling people/texting on the family group that you don’t want to be approached.
Harm reduction is healing.
Whatever your poison is, it is probably not ideal to resort to it in an atmosphere that you feel vulnerable in. Nonetheless, if you are indulging in it, be mindful of your intentions for this experience – perhaps you’d like to have just one drink for that nice holiday buzz. Stay accountable and stick to that. Should you feel the itch to drink more, it could be because the environment is causing you more discomfort than you anticipated. Feel free to excuse yourself and exit the space. It’s ok to lie while setting this boundary to protect yourself.
On the other hand, if you are around families that don’t serve alcohol, then feel free to pre-game. If the discomfort persists, exit the space nonetheless.
Head out for an after-party.
After such an intense experience, you’re bound to want to decompress. This can look like spending some time alone, watching a queer stand-up comedienne perform or having a Zoom dance party with a friend from a different timezone or spending the next day with your chosen family. Plan for this so you have something to look forward to. Ensure that it is something that makes you feel seen and cherished.
Change your mind. You had confirmed but now you have cold feet? It’s ok to change your mind, cancel all plans, call in sick, and burrito at home all by yourself. You don’t owe your time to anybody but yourself and your well-being.
Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for any outbursts, meltdowns or face-offs that happen this time around, despite all the planning. You still deserve love, forgiveness and to be cherished.
It’s ok to prioritise your safety – emotional or otherwise – during this time.