“I am going home for Christmas, and it is the first time that I am out to everyone as gay: my parents, my cousins, my aunts and uncles. I am really anxious about it. No one has even done or said anything to make me feel like it won’t be fine, but I just feel like there is some kind of weird spotlight on me that I don’t want!! Do you have any advice for how to calm down?!? I’d also love a little advice on what to do if someone does say something that is upsetting…”
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Be Steadwell Says:
First: take a moment to recognize how brave you are! You came out to your family! You should be deeply proud of yourself. Look at your fine self in the mirror and say, “Yea boo. You did it.”
Now Christmas. The spotlight. The eyeballs. The questions! The comments. The strong drinks, ugly sweaters, weird gifts, bad jokes, all of it. Holidays are a lot, even without a big rainbow elephant sitting in the corner. Even family members’ gestures of kindness can feel extra. In theory, the ideal way to receive a loved one when they “come out” is to thank them, ask what they need, and continue loving them as you did before. Anything other than that (unless solicited) feels like work.
There’s a lot of literature about online about how to support your family after you come out; how to answer questions, or what to do when/if they say something hurtful. Of course you want to be sensitive to their journeys… but Christmas is a lot, and taking on everyone’s separate journey at once may be a tall order.
When it gets to be too much, give yourself permission to step away. Take a breather. Make some tea. Meditate. Go for a walk. Maybe you’ll find the thing to say, and come back with love and knowledge for your confused kinfolk. Maybe you won’t come back. It’s your call. Keep in mind, you deserve peace too. It is not your job to educate every member of your family at once. You may want to circle back and chat with family members in small doses. But for the holidays, find the space that feels safe and comfy for you. I know–as a queer person, a Black person, and a woman–when someone says something ignorant in my presence, I rarely have the words to respond in the moment. I’m so shocked and hurt that I can’t articulate–I can’t even wrap my head around the possibility that someone could say something so cruel. I usually need to regroup before I can address it, if that’s what I choose to do. The point is: take care of you, and find your happy place.
Let this playlist be your Christmas cup of tea/coffee/cocoa/toddy. These tunes will give you some calm, warm, and affirming vibes to adorn your safer space. This space could be a brisk walk in the woods, it could be a room with a candle, it could be your cousin’s car. Wherever you find peace, allow yourself the time refuel, smile and remember: “Yeah boo, you did it.”
Be Steadwell is a singer songwriter from Washington DC. With roots in jazz, acapella and folk – Be calls her blend of genres QUEER POP. In her live performances, she utilizes loop pedal vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Be’s original music features her earnest lyricism, and proud LGBTQ content.
Cover Art designed by the incredible Isabella Rotman!