Back by Popular Demand (or a delusional brain-fart) from Last Year:
Do you regress as soon as you return home and a family member simply gives you a funny look? Would you like to know how to make it through the holidays without turning to food, alcohol, and embarrassing tantrums that smear your mascara and replace the "merri" in merriment with "de" at the beginning and "ed" at the end?? (pǝʇuǝɯǝp)
Here are a few creative survival tips gathered from extensive studies in the Muse laboratory where empirical results were extracted from subjects all over the world.. or from my mind, um . . . I forget which one.
1. Pretend like you are spending the holiday with the family of a friend of yours. It can provide distance and perhaps even seem entertaining. Too hard to get your mind around that? How about being just 5% more detached from the drama -- for instance, wear glasses and a mustache.
2. Whenever a family member pushes one of, you know, those BUTTONS, saying THAT THING or behaving THAT WAY THAT MAKES YOU CRAZY, making you FORGET EVERY GAIN YOU'VE PAID HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS FOR IN THERAPY --have one of the following automatic responses:
A. Say to yourself, "Well, bless their heart!" (Southern accents are particularly helpful here.).
B. Think to yourself, "My bodyguard is on the field," i.e. imagine handing your feelings over to a big burly bodyguard and pay no mind to the offending party - cuz things are taken care of.
C. If you can't avoid incoming torment, brush it off your body as if it were cat hair, cheese cake crumbs, or gnats. (Use a lint roller for special effect and consider waving the roller at the offender, catching the debri ON the roller before it lands on your mild demeanor).
D. While they are talking to you in their button-pushing form, stare just above their eyes in the middle of their forehead with a blank expression on your face. Stay in that position 15 minutes (or more) after they've finished.
3. Just talk at the same time they are talking but replace their words with ones you'd like to hear instead. Do this without hesitating, EVERY TIME they speak (even if they are speaking to someone else). Premeditate and list all the compliments you'd like to hear ahead of time to make this easier.
4. When they are speaking, DUCK down, dodging their verbal ickiness and letting it fly over you, sparing you of any reason to be anything other than Audrey Hepburn-like or if you are a male, Gary Grant-like.
5. Spend the holidays with someone else, go to the desert, or visit a friend in the hospital. Life is short.
6. Know that you are blessed because: It's all fodder for writing, and those of us with messed-up families are amazingly creative sometimes BECAUSE of that. THANKS FAMILY!
7. If any of these suggestions made you laugh, just bring them to mind during those trying moments and remember the plethora of blessings we have in this life, including our creative minds, the miracles of nature, art, music, and pumpkin pie.
If that doesn't work, just squirt whipped cream in your mouth straight from the can.
In gratitude and whipped cream,Jill Badonsky
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