I am very fortunate that I don’t dread the holidays and visiting my relatives. I enjoy every.single.moment. of it. And it’s sad because that’s not the norm for most people.

Every year, I read all of the stories on social from my friends who are gearing up for a horrible Christmas. In the days before, they reach out for much-needed support for the family BS that is sure to come as a wave of of pre-holiday, ‘here-we-go’ anxiety starts to wash over them. Mother-in-laws who hate them, family who ask intrusive questions about their reproductive plans, and friends who don’t even hear from their families any more because of how they have chosen to live their lives.

For all of you who have to endure uncomfortable situations, the kind that make what could be a very magical and happy time into something that you just have to survive, I want you to look to your left, your right, to your friends on social, or whomever it may be that you vent to regarding all of the family slights and shade throwing.

That’s the person right there, the one who makes this all worthwhile. That’s the person that holds you up when a select few try to tear you down during the few times a year they see you. Screw the person who told you straight to your face “you’ve gained weight.” (Yep, right to my face.) Your mother-in-law can go straight to hell for saying that you spoil your dog. (Maybe she’d get some of your affection if she weren’t so rotten. #JealousOfADog) And forget that family member who hates your guts because you live your life happily, without them in it. (I have one who hates me too, for no reason at all. Ignores me at every function. Won’t even talk to my 2 and 5 year old sons. #HelloUncomfortable)

I know that you’re all grateful for the people in your life that make it worthwhile, and I know that it’s all in good fun to air our grievances about the ridiculous things that people actually say to us. (Keep it coming, I love being there for you to tell you how awesome you are when you need a friend.)

What I’m trying to say is that I feel for you, and I wish for better for you because you deserve it. I don’t want it to be a crap time for you, I wish for everyone to have it as good as I do; I hit the in-law lottery and couldn’t ask for a better, more close-knit family. But as time goes on, I realize that it’s not very common these days and I start to see what has the potential to be a beautiful time of year morph into an inconvenient obligation to make an appearance.

Those assholes in your life, they probably won’t change. Unfortunately. The holidays don’t suck; a few people suck. And we let them do it to us for whatever reason; maybe it’s just easier, maybe we’ve been conditioned to ‘be the bigger person.’ But that is where I see room for interpretation. To me, being the bigger person isn’t shutting my mouth and walking away. Being the bigger person, to me, means finding the courage (and that takes time) to say what you really want to say to that person, even if your voice is shaking while you say it. No matter what the cost.

And if you don’t have that person to your left or your right to support you, bring me to your holiday soiree, and I’ll stand on whatever side of you that you’d like.

Love the ones you’re with, for someday they will be gone. There is no past and no future, only this very moment. We live in the now, but so rarely do we actually LIVE in it.