Prepare for the Sh*t Show that is Thanksgiving Like a Bad*ss Broad
Debbie Scheer and Taryn Atlas of Broadsided Comedy | Guest Contributors
Here we go, broads! And game on, Thanksgiving 2017!
Stretch it out so you don’t pull a hammie and get your head in the game because this one is bound to be as exciting as the last one. You know, the Thanksgiving immediately following the presidential race? The one forcing you to double up on your anti-anxiety prescription because perhaps the results of the election didn’t go the way you had hoped?
Over here at Broadsided Comedy we know how challenging it can be to sit next to a family member with political views a smidge or fifty different than our own. So as we prepare our tolerance and patience muscles, we suggest turning to the the five S’s of sports training or as we like to call them, the five S’s of surviving-political-differences-with-family-members-during-Thanksgiving-dinner. Follow these tips and you are on your way to owning this holiday like the overstuffed turkey it is!
Stamina, Speed, Strength, Skill and Spirit
How do you prepare for the big event and a day of drunk uncles and nosy aunts who insist on asking why you are still single? Just like an athlete who carb loads on pasta and bagels before an endurance event, you must load up on positive self talk prior to facing your biggest challenge: those family members who make you want to drink whiskey before wine and pull your hair out!
It is essential to get yourself in a positive, grounded mental space. Listen to Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle Melton, Iyanla Vanzant, Louise Hay, Esther Hicks, Beyonce. Hell, listen to anyone who is way better, kinder, and smarter than you will ever be. You know the shame spiral you’ll be heading into pre carving of the turkey, so loading up on affirmations of worthiness and self love will help ensure you will not get sea sick as you board the Willy Wonka boat ride from hell. You know the one. It involves the tunnel of your deepest and darkest triggers as you sail down that chocolate river of Thanksgiving togetherness.
There’s no earthly way of knowing
Where the conversations going . . .
There’s no knowing what we’ll be throwing
Once the alcohol starts flowing . . .
If loading up on Brene Brown doesn’t work for you, then we encourage you to to visit your local dispensary and load up on edibles followed by a trip to Costco to pick up a handle of your favorite alcohol and several boxes--and we do mean several boxes--of wine.
Just as an athlete does copious amounts of sprint drills to train for speed, you must also be prepared to sprint through the Thanksgiving meal with precision, speed, and agility. At Broadsided Comedy we have found the best way to train for a speed meal is to practice by either parenting young children or, at the very least, spend a few dinners with young children.
Parents of little ones know how to scarf their food down between throws of pasta against the wall and tantrums in the highchair. This is perfect training for the highly desirable goal of being able to finish the Thanksgiving meal and being excused from the table within mere minutes of sitting down. After all, you have young children to deal with! So while you would love nothing more than to sit and engage with your creepy Uncle Harvey, you must tend to the children. The goal is to finish your meal before your drunk Uncle sidles up against you ‘accidentally’ grazing your breasts as he re-positions his tushie in his seat. And remember to count your blessings because hopefully this Thanksgiving he will be fully clothed, unlike last year when he showed up to dinner in nothing but a bathrobe and asked everyone under the age of 55 for a massage.
Athletes lift weights and exercise profusely in order to take on the most challenging of foes. They train hard to get their physical bodies as strong and efficient as humanly possible. When it comes to preparing yourself for a holiday family meal, we have found emotional strength is typically more important than physical strength, at least when it comes to dealing with family members. And do you know what is the epitome of emotional strength? Solid boundaries.
Going back to channeling people who are way better than you are, seek the guidance of the master boundary enforcer, Brene Brown. When Brene says boundaries, we say, how wide, how long and how firm should we set them?
The key to setting boundaries is to first recognize your feelings. You can’t set boundaries unless you know how you feel about certain things and thereby know what might set you off or trigger you during the meal. If you know you and your gun-loving Aunt are on opposite sides of the gun control conversation, you will, at the very least, have an awareness that something may come up for you when she starts talking about the concealed weapon she is carrying (because one never knows who might try to interrupt the family gathering!). And when she spells out N-R-A with the Reddi-wip on top of the pumpkin pie, then you know, without a doubt, you should go for the apple pie.
Elite-level athletes spend countless hours reviewing their performances and mastering the skills needed for their particular sport. Knowing what techniques to use to bring you back to your center are critical, because, let’s face it, at some point, you will feel triggered during the family gathering. Your initial reaction to the never-ending comments by your sister about your lack of awareness when it comes to parenting your children will stir up some emotional stuff in you, especially because your sister doesn’t have any damn kids! The ability to breathe deep and bite your tongue, in the most gentle way, of course, is key to not engaging in an unhealthy debate that will only end in tears and ill feelings. Deep breathing, snapping a rubber band on your wrist, meditating, drinking water, calling a friend, going for a walk and getting into nature (even if it’s just around the dinner table to stare at a plant), are some things you can do in order to keep the food on the plates, the alcohol in the bottles, and the communication flowing between you and your family.
An athlete must be strong in spirit to survive the most difficult of challenges. You, too, must be strong with spirits in order to survive family members who have different political beliefs. Our favorite of the spirits is the holiday version of the seven layer bean dip, only our version has alcohol . . . a lot of alcohol. So much alcohol in fact, we typically ask our friends to sign a waiver before we share the recipe. Broads, you’ve been warned!
Don’t Kill Your Kin-tini
*An adult beverage created for potentially uncomfortable family holiday gatherings, served up or on the rocks.
1 oz rye whiskey
1 oz bourbon
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz canadian whiskey
1 oz colorado whiskey
1 oz scotch
1 oz irish whiskey
However, since most athletes do not imbibe prior to taking to the court or field, you too must be able to be strong in spirit, not spirits, in order to withstand the intense emotional chasms created when some families get together for the holidays. For us, it’s key to remember family isn’t synonymous with DNA or blood relatives, but instead can mean the people who challenge you while they support you, love you even though you all hold different beliefs, and cherish time with you because, let’s be real, who wants to eat pumpkin pie by themselves?
Stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit are not only measured by winning games or political debates but in remembering what the holiday season is really about: appreciating the entire experience. The good and the bad. The awkward conversations, political differences, and raw humanity all congeal to make the Thanksgiving gathering what it is: a slightly unappetizing but nevertheless strangely comforting turkey loaf of food and family.
Good luck to all of us, broads, as we all head onto the field and face the Super Bowl of Family Gatherings that is Thanksgiving dinner.
Broadsided Comedy: An Estrogen Fueled Comedy Show is a collaborative effort between Taryn Atlas and Debbie Scheer. Both single moms over 40 years old, Taryn and Debbie wanted to create a show where they could poke fun while getting real about the topics society would prefer women keep quiet about. They use stand up, sketch comedy, improv and education to peel back the layers of all the things that can often leave women feeling, well, BROADSIDED!