The holiday season is always a strange time of year for me because I'm not as close to my family as television, movies and Hormel canned food commercials suggest I should be.
I left home at 17, four months into my senior year of high school under tumultuous circumstances. For the following three or four years, I didn't go home at all. Not even for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
In the past few years, my relationship with my mom and my stepdad has improved enough for me to come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day and a few other times throughout the year. For context, they live 20 miles away.
Even harder than physically going home for the holidays, is navigating the social pressure to want to. I know that a lot of people must have complicated and strained relationships with their families, but you just don't hear about it between November and December. At least, I don't.
During my senior year of college, I worked at the graduate library on campus. I remember my supervisor asking me about my Thanksgiving plans, to which I responded with a lack of enthusiasm for going home. Then to my surprise, he said "I don't get people who complain about having to see their family. It's Thanksgiving." I was offended by how presumptuous his comment was. It felt like he was just calling me a brat and that I was upset with my parents for refusing to pay for my spring break trip or something.
So now, I don't talk too much about it. If someone asks about my Thanksgiving plans, I just answer factually. I'm eating dinner at home. My mom is cooking. I might bring an appetizer.
Another important factor in going home for me, is what I wear. Because being in the home where I came of age (11-17) can make me feel out of sorts and unlike myself, I like wearing outfits that are undeniably me and help me remember and maintain my power.
So here are three outfit options I'm considering for Thanksgiving this year.