Photo taken by Ben Marcin
If you’ve ever had to decide where relatives go for the holidays, you might recall the feelings similar to mine. Over the past couple of years, the holidays have been smaller family events, but during my high school days (and younger) it was always a trip to go to a small town in Oklahoma to have Thanksgiving dinner with cousins, uncles, you name it. Except, I still don’t know half of their names.
While we are not in the holidays right now, I have begun avoiding family gatherings during that time, because of all the stress that comes with meeting people. Mainly, it’s all small talk with family members on my Grandmother’s side of the family.
Typically every summer, there’s a large family reunion in Oklahoma, even though I grew up in Texas. I haven’t been able to attend the past few years because I’ve been working, but these events even can cause me to panic (more on that later). I preferred the summer reunions, because I could always leave people alone easier than if it was snowing.
While I am from Texas, even going back to my hometown is a never-ending cycle. Friends and family tend to bully me into coming around once or twice a year. I didn’t go home this winter (because work and money) but again, everyone’s asking the same question.
“When will you come visit us?” All my friends ask.
Okay look. I’m going to sound really mean here, but I realize not everyone judges everyone, but it is part of our human nature to do so (I’m still breaking my bad habits). When you are making small talk with friends, or family, everyone tends to judge you: what progress have you made over the year? Or, they may not judge, but they might gossip.
It’s one of those moments where I know I have personally had success, but you can’t see it.
I’m not seeing anyone, still not graduated from College, and still in debt.
What you don’t see is that I am managing to live on my own, and just enjoy life as it is.
Even when family come to visit me, I still get agitated with them staying too long. Over the past year, I’ve started to coil into my little home and only interact with humans enough to survive. Some people, never leave living in the same town they grew up in. You can live where you want, and how you want. I just like to avoid negative people, places, and things.
I had actually been wanting to write about this for months now, but it wasn’t until I took a break from blogging for a few weeks that I realized I had more to say about anxiety, depression. etc.
If you are approaching family gatherings, make sure one family member knows about your anxiety. Pro-tip: Pick the one who will just tell people that you went hiking, or something while you avoid family members. You’d be surprised how many family members might be doing the same exact thing.
Still hoping to avoid my hometown until I’m ready to see some friends and family again.