Dealing With a Difficult Family During the Holidays

My family for a good portion of my life hasn't been difficult. My maternal side of the family is very close and we usually spend the big holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving around each other. It's always been a fun, festive time and for the most part still is, but the older I have gotten the more challenging it is to want to go to my mother's small southern hometown, and having to surround myself with their small town southern ideals. My family on both sides is very conservative. My father is a preacher's kid and my mother grew up in the very standard nuclear family. My mother from an early age was taught what is and isn't becoming of a "young lady" and needless to say she attempted to instill these ideals in me as well. Up until I went to college I was pretty much on board with the ideals they passed on and the beliefs they had, but then I came to college. My beliefs changed drastically as well as my appearance, I discovered my appreciation for tattoos as well as discovering things about myself like my sexuality, political beliefs, basically everything you begin to form as a young adult, everything seemed to do a 180.

To sum it all up, a lot of the conclusions that I came to when learning about and understanding myself were the entire opposite of everything that my family preached about and wanted to instill in me. Although my family doesn't know all of these intimate things about me, hearing their generalizations and opinions when the topic of things such as politics, LGBTQIA rights, etc. come up has become increasingly hard to sit through while around the dinner table. 

My parents have become used to me voicing about being uncomfortable with being around my family, since I have become an adult they have been understanding about my discomfort and don't force me to go anywhere or do anything. I have taken advantage of taking much needed breaks during the time I am around them when the discussions becomes too triggering, stressful, or I feel myself becoming angry. My grandmother is perhaps the most conservative and strong minded of my family. She is the kind of person that doesn't have her mind changed no matter the circumstance or implications. I love her very much and know full well that she does as well but I have come to understand that our conversations often must remain brief and stick to the normal "How are you? Fine, how are you? Good, that's good." type of conversation and I am learning to accept that. 

I am choosing to prioritize my mental health and my feelings as oppose to making people, particularly my family, feel comfortable. As a people pleaser it isn't easy, I want people to like me but the older I have gotten the more exhausting I have realized it is to uphold this people pleasing mindset. I have become my own person and am living a different life from that of my family members, I can accept that, and if they cannot that is not my problem.