Hi, I’m Kale. With Christmas coming up, I thought I would talk a little about holidays and traditions, and being a relationship anarchist this time of year.
The holidays are full of societal expectations and social pressures to be a certain way, and to do certain things.
What does this look like for people who value their independence, and want to charter their own path?
For me, it was around the time that I became an RA that I stopped following traditions that I wasn’t really into.
I stopped traveling to my parent’s home for Christmas, I stopped decorating, and I pretty much gave up on buying gifts.
At the time, I didn’t really think it had anything to do with relationship anarchy, but I can see the connections now.
There is a lot of hierarchy and expectations that take place within families, and that can really come into focus during the holidays.
A lot of us have traditions that we have always participated in, without thinking about why, or if we really want to.
For a lot of people, holidays and traditions may be things we value and really look forward to. But for other people, it might be a time when a lot of conflict comes up.
Bad memories of home, family members who either don’t know or are upset about our relationship status, lots of opinions happening, lots of eggnog flowing. It can be a recipe for a tough time.
Yet because of idea that family must be placed above everything else, we are expected to just go home, and grin and bear it.
Relationship anarchy is about deconstructing hierarchies and expectations. There is value in asking yourself why you are doing a thing – because you really want to or because you have always done it?
If you examine expectations placed on you, and find that they do align with what you want, that’s great! No one is saying you have to change what you love doing.
On the other hand, if you look at some of your holiday traditions and see that some of them aren’t serving you, or might even be harmful to you, it might be time to reconsider what you’ve been doing.
Sometimes we do things with family just because of the implied hierarchy that they should always come first.
In some cases it’s because they do come first, and that’s really who you want to spend your time with.
It’s great to have a healthy relationship with our family, and put them first if those are our most important relationships.
However, it’s also important to have healthy relationships with ourselves, and honor what is best for us.
For me, learning to honor what I needed – to spend Christmas in my own house, with my chosen family, and not feel guilty about it – was a really big deal.
It’s not always an easy path. Sometimes the people I wish I could spend time with have other things to do, and I have to respect that.
That can mean learning to be alone, when there is a lot of social stigma about being alone at Christmas. We are working against the cultural stream that places all kinds of expectations on you.
If you discover that you don’t want to go with the flow, that you want to eschew expectations and go your own way, then what?
First, tell people around you what you would like. Tell them how you envision spending time, without placing any expectations on them.
If your desires overlap, that’s great! You can start working on creating your own traditions.
If they don’t overlap in all the ways you would like, it’s time to get creative. Maybe you’ll end up spending some time alone, and that’s not the worst thing.
Fill your time with things you love doing – cook, ski, read a book, do yoga, get a manicure, play video games, whatever the things are that makes you feel good.
Enjoy the time you get to spend with yourself, and then be grateful for the time you spend with others.
For me, the point of making this video is to tell you that the holidays don’t have to be daunting and scary. They can be whatever you want them to be. If you want to follow tradition – great! If you want to make up something new, that’s okay too.
I’d love to hear how you spend the holidays, join our Facebook group to be a part of the discussion, post a comment down below, or follow me on Twitter. Whatever you end up doing, I wish you all the best! Thanks for watching, bye!