The idea of going home for the holidays is a commonly-heard idea in today’s society. But what if “home” isn’t with your family?
It’s no secret that some people don’t get along with their families. Reasons range from political differences, lack of lifestyle acceptance, to sometimes simply not liking people you’re related to. These days, views on vaccinations cause no small amount of stress between relatives. Whatever the case, not everyone wants to go “home” for the holidays.
That is, not in the traditional sense. Some people choose to be with their found families; the people who they’ve chosen to call their kin. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The act of choice is a powerful thing. Not everyone is lucky enough to be born into a family that accepts them, or acts in a way they are proud to associate with. While it’s easy to judge someone for their family’s choices, the company they keep can tell you just as much or more about what they value. There’s another phrase that people like to use when discussing the relationships we keep.
“Blood is thicker than water” can be used to criticize those who don’t value their families above others. The thought being that your blood, or family, is the more durable, lasting bond. An offshoot phrase, seemingly spawned from an Arabic saying of similar nature, means exactly the opposite. “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”. This phrase, while perhaps a little more graphic, tells us that the bonds we make are greater than the bonds we are given at birth.
I don’t think this is a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s a step in the right direction. Perhaps it’s a bit of my tucked-away rebellious nature coming through, but I have never liked the idea of owing something you never had a choice in.
While yes, we should be grateful to those who raised us and kept us fed and clothed, I don’t think that means anyone should be obligated to continue a relationship with someone who causes them discomfort. Sometimes family members can be people we don’t wish to associate with.
Wanting to distance yourself or take a break from family doesn’t mean you have to hate them either. Family members are people too, and nobody can get along with everybody 100% of the time. You can still love your family and keep some distance from them.
Everyone needs a break sometimes, especially in these days of pandemics and new variants.
With the semester coming to a close, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. Sometimes a little self-care and “me” time can do wonders for your health, even if it means taking it easy this holiday break and doing something away from the family.
Be with the people you’re thankful for, and who are thankful for you.
Andrew Michaud can be contacted at