Celebrate Without Fear

Happy Good Friday!

Many of you already know that Easter season is upon us. I realize that there are those of us who do not celebrate this holiday, so please bear with me 🙂
Today I intend to talk about holidays in general, not just specific to Easter.
I know that for me personally, holidays are somewhat of a drag for me.

This, of course, is not because of the holiday itself, but because of the people that I spend it with.

First off, let me begin with this statement: I adore my family. I love them and I wouln’t trade them for anything.

However, for some odd reason, whenever my family gathers together over a holiday celebration, they decide that it’s time to ask questions about life. And in the past few years especially, my life.

This is completely understandable, as annoying or as frightening as it can be. I’m the third oldest grandchild on both sides, the oldest child in my family, and somebody who has a lot of dreams and aspirations. I do well in school and I work hard. Of course my family is curious about what I plan to do in my future. And that’s okay. What isn’t okay is pressuring me to talk about things that I don’t want to talk about.

At every holiday family gathering, I can tell you which questions will be asked the most.

Family member: “Have you started looking through colleges yet?”

Me: “No… I know I need to get on that though.”

Family member: “Yeah… You’ll definitely need to start doing that soon. What about careers though? Do you at least know what you want to do?”

Me: “Not right now… I’m still unsure about it.”

Family member: “What are your current areas of interest?”

Me: “I’m trying to figure that out too.”

Family member: “Okay, let’s talk about boys instead. Do you have a boyfriend?”

Me: “No.”

Family member: “Do you have any potential boyfriends?”

Me: “Um. No.”

Family member: “You’re a pretty girl, you should at least have some interest.”

Me: *smiling awkwardly* “I’d rather not talk about it right now, if that’s okay.”

Family member: “Oh, come on, *insert name here*, I’m just trying have a little bit of fun.”

Me: “Yeah… What have you been up to lately?”

Family member: “Have you thought about marriage? Kids? You’re not planning on getting married right out of high school are you? And are you planning on having as many kids as your parents?”

Me: “…Um.”

And it goes on and on and on. One family member after the other. Some offer me their input and advice on career choices, colleges, and how to get a boyfriend and others simply ask the questions.

Either way it’s uncomfortable for me and it’s made me hate family gatherings.

My family members seem incapable of understanding that I just don’t want to talk about some things.

Here’s how the conversation happens inside my head:

Oh no. Here comes so and so. Let it begin.

Me: Hi, Aunt Inquisitive! How are you today?

AI: *hugs* Hey, *insert name here*, how have you been?

Me: I’ve been busy, but I’m doing well. What about you?

AI: Let’s see here… What’s new since we last talked? Have you found any colleges that interest you?

Oh no. Please no. I need no reminders of how I don’t have my life together. I know that your kids do and that you did when you were my age, but please no.

Me: *smiling* Um, not yet. *laughs* I know that I still need to get on that… but a lot has happened since Christmas.

AI: Ooh, like what? Any boys?

Oh my word, please noooo.

Me: Um, nope. I’m still the socially awkward potato nerd that you left here at Christmas.

And I just finished dealing with an abusive relationship that I’m not telling any of you about.

Anxiety: *evil laugh*

AI: *laughs airily* You don’t give yourself enough credit. You’re a pretty girl, *insert name here*, you can’t honestly expect me to believe that there hasn’t been any interest, can you?

Me: *laughs uncomfortably*

AI: *laughs again* One of these times I won’t give in and you’ll be forced to tell me all the details *winks* What about careers? Have you thought about what you’d like to go to college for?

Thank you, Lord. No more about boys… Now I just have to get through the career questions.

Me: I’ve been thinking about photography… And writing. I like to write.

AI: Oh you do? *thinks for a moment* That’s interesting. I don’t think that I knew that about you.

Me: *smiles sheepishly* Yeah, I’ve been seriously considering —

AI: *interrupts* But you’re not seriously considering those areas for a career, are you? I mean, they work as hobbies, but they don’t really make you a successful person.

Oh. Well. Um.

Anxiety: *another evil laugh*

Me: Yeah… *forced laugh* I’ve been thinking about other things too. Just nothing set in stone yet.

AI: Well, when you do figure things out, I expect to be in the loop *winks, laughs airily, and walks back to the buffet for more cheese dip*

Well, that went… well.

Anxiety: Haha, are you kidding me? That was awful. You were awful and you’re going to be a failure in life because you can’t figure things out. And when you do get something figured out, it turns out to lead to nothing.

Me to anxiety: Shut up, here comes grandma.

Yeah. Without fail. Every. Single. Holiday. I know that I can’t be alone or in a minority of the teenagers who experience this. So, long story short, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to deal with these situations. You can try them this Sunday, or over the next holiday that you spend with your family.

  1. You are not required to tell your family anything that you aren’t comfortable with. In most cases, family is loving and supportive and they’re just curious about your life (I realize that there are people who don’t come from this situation). However, there is a line that can and will be crossed. Your life is yours and you are entitled to whatever privacy that you feel necessary. I choose not to talk about my mental health with my immediate family members very often, so heaven knows that I’m not going to talk about it with my extended family at all. I don’t feel comfortable with discussing those things and that’s okay. I don’t have to feel comfortable with it.
  2. Avoid family drama at all costs. If you’re not in the heat of a family drama, chances are that inquiries and uncomfortable conversations will be easier to dismiss or to deal with.
  3. Remember that you can’t please everyone. Even if you do have everything figured out about your present state and your future, it’s virtually impossible to please everyone. There’s always going to be that one critic who tells you that what you want to do is impractical and that you should consider what they want. Just remember that it’s your life and you’re the one making the decisions about your future.
  4. If a family member is making you uncomfortable, listen to your instincts. If this family member tends to be dominant, overbearing, and even mean in certain circumstances, it may be necessary to ask a parent/another adult to step in and talk to them. If it’s someone like my inquisitive aunt, remember that she’ll move on to a different conversation in two minutes.
  5. Try your best to be nice to people. Smile at them. Remind them with your body language and your behavior that you love them, even if you have differences in opinion or lifestyle.
  6. Lastly, remember that it’s okay to not have everything figured out. Laughing and telling somebody the truth is okay. Most likely, they’ll just laugh and ask another question. 🙂

I hope that these ideas were somewhat helpful to you 🙂

Remember: You are fearfully and wonderfully made. This isn’t a conditional statement. It’s true always.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend celebrating the resurrection of our Savior. And if you’re not celebrating… I hope you have a wonderful weekend just the same! 🙂

 

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4 thoughts on “Celebrate Without Fear

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  1. Oh, I feel this. I feel this very much.

    I mean, it’s not *that* bad for me. I’m happy enough to talk with my family about my plans and ideas, and they’re generally not too pushy. I’ve actually been known to come to some of them for ideas because, well, there’s still that thing where I need to have a “real” job. (And yeah, I know it may sound bad that I’m “giving in” to that mindset, but I really don’t want to not have a steady source of income, so I’m kind of wanting to get one of those “real jobs” anyway.) But honestly, I’ll take talking about college or dreams about other things, mainly because they’re the ones initiating that conversation, and it’s one that I’ve had enough times that I know how it goes and I can just go right through the usual,

    “I’m going to [such and such a college] right now, doing the dual enrollment thing, probably going to do two years of my senior year instead of the one so I can keep getting the dual enrollment prices. … Oh, I’m taking English Comp II, Multicultural Lit, and Oral Communications! English Comp is hard, mainly because of a lot of extra work my professor tacks on, but it’s all good. … Yup, I’m still writing! Or, thinking about writing. It’s a little sporadic, what with how crazy school is and such. … Eh, kind of seeing someone. It’s complicated. *ensue telling entire story of relationship*”

    Haha, yeeah… I pretty much have that whole thing down pat. It’s nice to have that conversation pretty much memorized to whip out at any moment to compensate for my social potatoness. It’s better than awkwardly stumbling through a conversation about their life in which I’m afraid I’m coming off as uninterested in their life when nothing can be further through the truth, but I honestly have no idea what to say to what they’re telling me.

    Anyway, hope you make it through this Easter and the ensuing extended family time well, hon. Just try to focus on enjoying the holiday itself and enjoying your family’s company, even with all the awkward questions. I know you can do it. ❤

    Like

  2. Oh my gosh, yes. This happens more often with people in my church who don’t know me that well, since I only live near three family members. And it always seems that there’s the same judgement when I tell them that, no, I’m not going to college at the moment, I don’t have money, I don’t want debt, I don’t need a degree for my chosen career, I am a writer, etc… I realize that they are being curious and maybe even trying to express genuine interest in my life, but asking personal questions isn’t socially acceptable anymore, if it ever was.

    Thank you for sharing this, and I’m sorry that your family spoils holidays for you,

    Like

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