Supposed to love Christmas
Well… it’s Christmas Eve and we can finally see the finish line for 2020. What a strange year… did any of our futurists or experts predict this one?
As we head into this break I wanted to put together a quick episode to share Holiday survival tips for LGBTQ2S+ Christians or for anyone who might have all the happy joyous feelings that we’re ‘supposed to’ have at this time of year.
- supposed to prioritize and want to spend time with your family of origin
- supposed to be excited with your friends and colleagues at work about the break
- supposed to visit your family’s church or take part in religious traditions
- supposed to ‘tone things down’ or told not to ‘rock the boat’ so that more ‘conservative’, older family members or children don’t feel out of place
- supposed to dress a certain way, be a certain way and smile ‘like a normal person’ so that we can take the perfect picture as one big happy family.
For some of us, we’re told:
- we would love you to come… but… I need you to leave your partner at home
- I need you be ‘straight’ (or you can come, if you come as the gender that I want you to be) so that you don’t upset your Great Grandmother… cause it might be her last Christmas you know.
- you can be the ‘fun gay uncle’ but watch out for the many unwritten and unspoken rules of what you’re allowed to say
And others are told:
- we need you not to come because you being there and showing up authentically would cause too much tension for others in the family.
- you can show up but we’re not going to acknowledge, affirm or ask any questions about the ‘other parts of your life’ that we might not agree with
- You’re pressured by other families members… “come on… do it for mom. Why would you want to ruin Christmas just to ‘make a point’? It’s Christmas”
- You’re pressured and beat up by YOURSELF! You go inside, chastise yourself for making such a big deal. You hate yourself for not being able to be thankful or to appreciate everything that you do have. “You need to be thankful for the family you’ve got”
Does any of this sound familiar?
Beating myself up
Seeing the light
Grief and loss
7 Holiday Survival Tips for LGBTQ2S+ humans
- Your number one priority is personal physical and emotional safety. Your number one job is taking care and loving yourself. It’s not your job to manage the feelings of other members of your family.
- The holidays can be one of the biggest trigger times for Religious Trauma Syndrome… and if you haven’t heard of that… it’s a thing. Know that any of the trauma responses that you may be experiencing, they are very real. And they are happening to you because of what may have been done TO you and NOT because you are broken or a bad person.
- Feel all of your feelings and try to be as gentle and as non-judgemental with each feeling. When you deny, shame or try to suppress your natural feelings you’re continuing the cycle of abuse and you’re wounding yourself. It’s okay to be angry while watching others open gifts on Christmas morning. All of your feelings are valid AND your feelings do not define who you are. Not feeling full of gratitude and joy doesn’t mean you’re broken or a horrible person… it means you’re human and having a natural response to something that may have been abusive and/or traumatic. You’re even allowed to have feelings that you may define as negative towards family members or others in your religious community. For some of us, these people were and continue to be our abusers… even if they say they love us and care deeply for us.
- Listen to your body, go inside and ask yourself what you need to feel safe and loved. Many of the body sensations, thoughts and feelings you have are signs and signals to help protect you.
- You are allowed to define your own boundaries and limits. You don’t have to follow any rules, traditions or expectations that don’t make you feel safe. You are allowed to have a voice. You’re allowed to make your own rules. You can show up for an hour, you can go but not attend church service, you don’t have to spend the night… heck, you don’t have to go at all… if that isn’t what YOU want to do.
- Know that YOU and who you are as a human isn’t the problem. Hate, fear and homophobia is the problem.
- Finally take some time to ask yourself, ‘what would make this holiday break special and fun for me?’. What would fill you with joy and surround you with the love and support you deserve?
For the last several years I’ve had a wonderful Christmas Day tradition with my best friend Brent; we’d sleep in, meet up at the gym for a good workout, head to a dinner reservation at a great restaurant we wanted to try and then we would go out to a movie… it was a perfect Christmas FOR ME
You are loved