As the holiday season approaches, many of you may be feeling an impending gloom just on the edge of your vision. A flicker, a shadow, just outside of your field of view which is gone just as soon as you notice it. This, my friends, is the glumph.
The glumph ™ is the word I invented many years ago when people asked me about going home for the holidays. “Are you excited to see your family?”, they would ask. I would reply simply, “glumph!” which is basically the sound of me swallowing, sticking my tongue out, moaning, and rolling my eyes all at the same time. (it’s really not as sexual as it sounds)
For all of you who dread going home because your family doesn’t understand:
- your life choices
- your sexual orientation
- your choice of hair color
- your cute new piercing or tattoo
- your desire to live in a country not ruled by a bunch of misogynistic patriarchal assholes
- your desire to drink bourbon
- your horrified face when someone puts their gun on the table because it was their back pocket
- abortion/right to choose
- you don’t have an answer for when are you getting married/having a baby
- why you aren’t more like your other siblings
or any other of the myriad of reasons drunk uncle Joe feels the need to grill you about why you live in the city where “everyone gets shot”, I am here for you.
First of all, take care of yourself.
You need to know “when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em” as the song goes. It isn’t your job to educate your family. While of course, I encourage you to engage them, you need to take care of yourself and when there are six crazed relatives trying to tell you what is best for you and why, it is ok to say NOPE and leave that situation, head over to a friend’s place or just go for a brisk walk whilst muttering obscenities under your breath.
Second of all, know the triggers.
If you know that someone is gonna lose their shit when you start talking about the president, avoid that conversation entirely if you want to. However, you can also go in and throw some grenades and totally blow that place out if you know what gets everyone going. There have been some holidays where I have styled myself a modern day Eris, dropped the golden apple, and just sat back to watch the shenanigans. This is an effective escape strategy when your back is against the wall.
Third, know your allies.
If you have a cool cousin or aunt that has lived with her “roommate” for many years with their 3 cats and 2 dogs, flock to them. There is strength in numbers, and it is much easier to repel an onslaught from your grandmother who just doesn’t understand your outfit with a united front.
Finally, it’s ok to not engage at all.
Many of my friends feel obligated to go home, but if it is going to be too much for you, if you fear for your own mental health and well being, just say no. It may seem like the world is going to end, your mother may fall to pieces on the phone, there may be gnashing of teeth and tearing of the garments. However, as an adult at some point you need to take responsibility for your own well being, and that may mean you spend Thanksgiving hanging out with your friends and going to the movies, or Christmas with your work colleagues at the all you can eat buffet, gleefully free from the glumph.