Opinion: It’s the most difficult time of the year


by Riley Fletcher, Staff Reporter

There’s no place like home for the holidays… unless you’re going to spend your whole winter break arguing with members of your family. 

While some people can’t wait to go home and see their friends and family, others are dreading the upcoming three-week break. I am one of those people. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. However, I do not love arguing over which humans do and don’t deserve rights. 

Family can be truly exhausting sometimes. There often is an expectation that because we’re family, we must all think and feel the same. There’s always the classic, “You’ve grown so much,” but, if you’re anything like me, you might hear things such as, “Why would you do that to your hair?” 

I like to think families are like this because people hate change. We all change and grow, especially in college. While some family members might think they have brainwashed you while you were away, really, you just had time to become your own person separate from them.

While you may feel pressure to smile and nod even when you’re screaming internally, do not change who you are to please your family, or anyone. Take a timeout for yourself and walk away from situations or conversations that are frustrating. Hide in the bathroom for a while and take a breather.

There are times when this is difficult. I find it hard to bite my tongue when family members berate something I feel passionate about. I find it impossible to say nothing when someone tells me something I believe in is wrong, that certain people don’t matter and certain issues aren’t that big a deal. 

Going into Thanksgiving, the first time I had seen much of my extended family in years, I told my mom that I was willing to fight anyone that dared to say something stupid related to COVID-19. My mom is a respiratory therapist who has been completely overworked throughout the pandemic. She is a superhero, and I would defend her to the grave. I am glad to report I did not have to fight anyone that day. 

I am fine with comments from family about me, though not appreciated. I am angry when it comes to people I care about. I don’t want to hear how the pandemic my mom is battling is some crazy control-motivated conspiracy. I don’t want to hear how my trans friends are just confused and mentally ill.

I wish everyone understood each other. I wish we all agreed. I wish people didn’t have to dread going home for the holidays. I wish people didn’t ostracize other family members for who they love or how they identify. I am beyond privileged and thankful to have a family that welcomes me home for the holidays. My heart aches for those who don’t.

This holiday season, take time to care for yourself. Avoid topics you know will cause arguments and walk away if you need to. If you cannot avoid dreadful conversations, keep your composure, and don’t let them ruin your holidays. Spend time with people who matter the most to you and make you feel good, whether that’s with friends, family or by yourself.