Despite the holidays being the one time of year where you gather with the extended part of your family, the turkey dinner isn’t the only thing that receives a thorough roasting.
I’ve had mixed feelings about holiday get-togethers for a while now. On the plus side, I’d get to reunite with my cousins and extended family after having lived in a predominantly white neighborhood (we all lived very different lives). However, every year during some point of the table discussion, either my weight, speech, or singleness became the centerpiece of the dinner table. Nowadays, it’s all three being talked about.
Early on, I’d reached my boiling point with the comments on how many plates I was getting up for (that food was damn good and it’s THANKSGIVING, bruh). But what irked me most was that most of my kin are – in fact – plus size themselves. The hypocrisy of it all was enough for me to get over the pain it caused me.
I realized the only way to get them off my back was simply to ignore them. My sister became my best friend and essentially the only dinner guest I’d recognize at the dinner table. I even stopped campaigning to sit at the “adults table” because I knew it’d just be a setup for insults anyway.
For a long time, I’ve dreamed of having the so-called “perfect” family like I’d seen all my friends have – celebrating Thanksgiving without having to explain my size, why I “talked white” and why at 23 I choose not to settle down with just any partner. A Thanksgiving free of judgement, replete with love, laughs, and passin’ the peas. Instead we’re here, with this.
Essentially, the way that I deal with my family during Thanksgiving is to not delve too much into my life, and I choose my battles. I only speak (politely, of course) when spoken to. I choose to exist unapologetically and extremely unbothered. I’m living my best life, and I don’t need their validation to be successful or feel secure.
…now pass me my second plate.
by Arielle Bines