We all know how stressful the Fourth of July can be when you spend it with family. You're currently doing a juice cleanse and are committed to daily facials in order to put on your best front for your relatives you maybe see biannually.
You want to look better than your cousin, Rebecca, even though you're aware she received her first boob job a couple of months ago. You want to be able to win the beauty competition, as well as the competition for attention from all of your older relatives.
You spend most of your time sitting in front of a full-body mirror, staring at your figure until your eyes dry out. Today, you haven't left that mirror. You have a cognitive timer on for your eyelash curler to ensure all of the lashes are laterally curled. You'll stop at nothing to look the best you have in months.
You haven't had water in 12 hours to ensure you don't bloat, and you're wearing the tightest thing possible to show off every square inch of your figure that you've been working on tirelessly for this day. You've also whitened your teeth so harshly that they're blinding to the naked eye, and your boyfriend has to wear sunglasses on the days you choose to smile.
By the end of today, you'll be ready for the occasion. You're preparing for the slew of questions your Aunt Sally is going to ask about your career, relationship and whether or not you're planning to finish college.
If you're the typical basic bitch mentioned above, like myself, you know how hard it is to maintain a stress-free demeanor on a day like this. But if you're stressing this much about your Fourth of July family reunion, listen. There might be an easier solution.
Instead of panicking over every detail, I've calculated a less stressful method of dealing with your folks to make your Fourth of July barbecue life not only easier, but also kind of enjoyable.
Here's my eight-step guide to surviving a family reunion this Fourth of July weekend:
1. Cut the bullshit, but not all of it.
You know what I'm talking about, ladies and gentlemen. Use your eyes, ears and nose and try to be the best listener in the room. If talking to your family about your life stresses you out like none other, make yourself as comfortable as possible by just listening to their life stories.
Compliment Rebecca on her newly formed boobs and eyebrow job. She likes that shit. The better of a listener you are, the less you will have to talk and, therefore, the more relaxed you will be.
Studies show that even if you're not happy to be somewhere, smiling can provide a positive illusion to yourself (and others) that you're actually happier than you feel. Keep a smile on your face at all times, and try to pretend you're having a good time and that you actually want to be there. And realize it's a choice to act this way.
Your family is well-aware that a good time for you means sitting at home and complaining about the most recent episode of "Pretty Little Liars. " But put your best (read: fake) foot forward, and make your family believe you're not stressed AF all day.
3. Provide minimal information, but still give your full attention.
Relevant to step one, people like to talk about themselves. You haven't seen your family in ages, and you're looking forward to leaving as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the best way of making this time go as smoothly and quickly as possible is to keep the bitch talk inside, and let the relatives do the talking. Times flies when you're... getting your ear talked off?
4. Focus on the food and environment.
Do yourself a favor, and try to enjoy the great outdoors/indoors/wherever you are. You're probably being attacked by mosquitos, and you need to change your tampon, but we also know you'd rather be eating sushi while getting your hair done at your local salon. Eat good food, have good laughs and try not to go to the bathroom every five minutes to fix your bra. The ladies are set, I promise.
By focusing on your food and observing the environment around you, you'll probably have a less stressful time than if you force yourself to converse with the cousin you barely get along with. Sorry, Rebecca.
5. Have your SO do the talking.
It's always stressful to bring your significant other to a family event, especially if it's their first time meeting everyone. Let them do the talking. Your family will be amazed by their amount of talent (or lack thereof) to converse with the whole family.
It's likely that, even though they have lots of questions for you, they're more interested in this new figure in the room and have a slew of questions to interrogate them with.
6. Pick up a catered dish.
Are you panicking because you spent too much time getting ready, and not enough time cooking? Probably. Stop by the local bakery, and get something sweet. Scratch it up with a fork to make it look homemade. No one will know, trust me. It works every time.
7. Drink, but not too much.
Let your alcoholic, somewhat bitchy alter ego stay home for the day. Instead, bring in the strong bitch who has self-control and doesn't become sloppy after two glasses of wine. Make sure to eat something before you show up; you want to prove you can hold your liquor.
Eat bread, pasta, you name it. Bring on the carbs, mama. Today's your cheat day, and that cheat day involves some vodka cranberries.
8. Remember the meaning of family.
After you've spent the whole day pretending you're not stressed, remember that family is family. Although family reunions have always been stressful, there is one group that will always love you unconditionally (even through your resting bitch face, your obsession with makeup and bad Netflix series): your family.
Fly on, you bad bitches. Have a safe holiday, and have some pride for your country and your family. Holidays are a perfect time to keep the bitch inside and to let the better you come out. Think of it as an exercise in wellbeing. Don't forget: Mama before drama.
While this Fourth of July reunion will be stressful and long, at the end of the day, family is family. And they love you just as much as you pretend not to care.