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Ke Dezemba, stop asking people invading questions

Group of diverse people are gathering for Christmas holiday
Group of diverse people are gathering for Christmas holiday
Image: 123RF/ rawpixel

Welcome to Dezemba. We are all just pretending to be working. Workdays feel longer and bosses sound more annoying than usual.

Weekends now have a different vibe and hit the sweet spot differently. Waking up on Mondays has become difficult.

Dezemba is a mood, a spirit. It's electric and comes to us in the month of December.

Do not confuse the two.

We party hard when Dezemba visits, like when Phillip visited us back in 2010. But that is not all that we look forward to.

It's a never-ending sense of joy and happiness.

Because of the migrant labour system, many of us have family and loved ones scattered all over the country. Similarly, even the people from our childhood congregate in the same place to enjoy the festivities.

Loved ones and relatives, as much as we like them, can be the one thing that ruins Dezemba for lots of people.

'Wena! How fat are you?'

I don't know, should I sit on your face so we can find out?

Why is it always the fattest aunt asking you this?

'You still don't have a child? Dithaka dia go tlogela.'

I don't know, maybe let's go back and harvest the egg from which you came so you never need have existed?

Children, husbands, weight, salaries and anything of a personal nature become the basis of greetings and goodbyes.

As a result, these holidays tend to be hugely triggering for a lot of people, leading to a spike in the number of depressed people.

I remember when I had burnt out and my doctor needed to admit me at the beginning of last year but there were simply no beds available at any of the mental health clinics.

In a world where mental health is increasingly under the spotlight, we need to stop being triggers.

I'm talking here about people who have experienced this as victims or as people who think that doing this to others is OK.

People gain weight because they are on anti-depressants that save their lives. Some gain weight because they've been eating.

In both instances, it is still none of your business. No one needs your live commentary on the body that they wake up in daily. Especially if no one has come to your house begging for food.

People don't have children because it's a struggle and not because they have not been trying. Sometimes people have chosen not to have children, for whatever reason. In both cases, it is still none of your business.

Do not ask people invading questions, especially if you aren't equipped to listen to the stories of the miscarriages they have had. You are not entitled to people's traumas.

There is also the 'why have you not bought a car yet?' question from an uncle who has just asked you for R20 to buy a beer.

So while on holiday, you must be reminded of a boss and system that overlooks you for a promotion regardless of how hard you work and prove yourself.

Unless we have a relationship that has always allowed us to sit down and talk, please don't ask about my personal decisions or struggles.

Family is manipulative because you are supposed to love it, but love need not be abusive.

If you have been a victim and have been re-traumatised by family over and over again, this year I wish you the strength to stand up for yourself.

Should you be able to do this, you will be guaranteed immunity from nonsense every single Dezemba.

Set boundaries, be clear about what you will and will not tolerate. Remove yourself from toxic situations with the family.

They will tell you to respect your elders when you retaliate, but the elders need to respect themselves and watch their mouths.