Thanksgiving is upon us, and I would hope that you are enjoying your time with whomever you chose to spend this day with, however the fashion.
Thanksgiving has never been a holiday that I much enjoy. I spent 14 years living with an eating disorder, and holidays that center almost solely around food were (and still are) a nightmare for me. I do not care for the chaotic nature of the whole thing; so many items being cooked at once, not enough counter space or ovens, people falling over each other. Last Thanksgiving I was fairly drunk before the food was even remotely ready. Even in the years I have been a guest, the whole pomp and circumstance of it all was exhausting to me. My dream Thanksgiving would be sleeping until 2pm, rising only to eat a Tombstone pizza and watch reruns of Friends.
This year seems as though it will be tumultuous for everyone. With the repercussions of the political climate looming over our heads, there are bound to be… well… fights. Disagreements. Mashed potatoes thrown at each other. I jokingly wrote on Facebook: Raise your hand if the holidays are going to be awkward!. There were a lot of raised hands.
My advice to you this Thanksgiving, and every holiday thereafter, whatever you celebrate, is: if it’s too much for you, don’t do it. This life is too fucking short to tolerate your drunk Uncle Pete’s tirade about how protestors are whiny babies; your sanity is not worth the exposure of great aunt Germaine’s fears regarding Black Lives Matter. Your sobriety is not worth the test of having your family berate you until you spend Thanksgiving Night sobbing in a tub with a bottle of Pinot Grigio in your clenched fists. If you can’t handle it, or don’t think you can handle it, don’t do it. Just stay home. Call up some friends. Eat a pizza for me.
But maybe you can’t avoid it, for whatever reason. Maybe you have to show up, pumpkin pie in hand, teeth gritted. If that is the case, here is my advice for you: don’t tolerate any bullshit. Be vocal about racism, sexism, white supremacy, and homophobia. Get real mad. Nothing ever changed by people being passive, and I am not a fan of the high road lately.
If you don’t feel like calling out the numerous false information factoids that are bound to rear their ugly heads, just state that you are not interested in discussing politics today. Be firm. Be sarcastic, if you have to. My favorite thing to do when confronted with garbage I don’t want to debate is respond with “K”. It is so passive aggressive; it shows you do not think highly of that person but are not willing to engage. “K” them to death.
If that doesn’t work, become the most obnoxious person at the gathering, so obnoxious that you will guarantee to be on the blacklist for the rest of your life. Go into how Thanksgiving is really just a holiday celebrating genocide and colonialism. Tell your relatives you are donating to a NoDAPL charity in their name for the holidays. Get real detailed with how shitty Columbus was. No one likes a know it all, and no one likes to be lectured while they’re trying to watch the big game.
If all else fails, bitch about your holiday experience online. Live tweet it. Start a Facebook thread of all the dumb shit you’re listening to. Tag me in it (@KolleenCarney on Twitter). Or take out your phone and immerse yourself in Friends. Let me know how you rank the Thanksgiving episodes by season. My ranking: 6, 8, 9, 4, 1, 5, 3, 10, 2.
Good luck out there.
I publish all questions with a veil of anonymity. I would never want to expose someone, especially if their question is a sensitive one, such as domestic violence, sexuality, and the like. Therefore, I may edit questions down if I feel they are too specific, but please keep in mind that I am considering the whole picture when responding to you.
The advice given is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace the legal, financial, medical, or professional advice of trained specialists.
Kolleen Carney is a Boston- born, Burbank- based poet with a B.A. from Salem State University in Salem, MA, and an MFA in Poetry from Antioch University Los Angeles. She has served on the editorial team for Soundings East, Lunch Ticket, Paper Nautilus, and Zoetic Press. Her poetry and other writings have appeared or will be appearing in Currents, Vision/ Verse, Lunch Ticket, MassPoetry.org, Golden Walkman, The Watershed Review, Incredible Sestinas, Uno Kudo Vol. 4, A Quiet Courage, Yellow Chair Review, Drunk Monkeys, Odyssey, and Five 2 One. She is obsessed with California, Pez dispensers, and macarons. Her website is www.kolleencarney.com.