That One Time at Thanksgiving

It was a cool afternoon in Alabama. The leaves had fallen, school was out for the week, and I was an awkward teenager visiting my (ex) boyfriend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I had carefully picked out my outfit and did my hair. I even applied a little make up besides just doing eyeliner which was my signature makeup look during high school. I really wanted to make a good impression on his family after all.

The introductions went without incident. In fact, most of the afternoon went fine! I felt a little less awkward by the time dinner was ready. I grabbed my plate and headed towards the Thanksgiving spread. After getting a little bit of everything, I sat with my (ex) boyfriend and started digging in.

Slowly everyone emerged from the kitchen to take a seat with their full plates. I was still chowing down and pretending to watch whatever football game was playing on TV. Then I heard his mother clear her throat pointedly. I looked over, and everyone was staring at me. Even my (ex) boyfriend.

I swallowed my mouthful of food and looked at him. He didn’t say a word, just looked at me with a mix of disappointment and embarrassment. His mother cleared her throat again. “We say prayer before we eat our meals in this house,” she snipped. My cheeks immediately flushed red, and I apologized shyly.

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She started to pray so I bent my head down and closed my eyes, feeling incredibly embarrassed and more than a little pissed at my (ex) boyfriend for not giving me a heads up. She finished the prayer, and everyone muttered an “amen,” as you do. Everyone except me.

As everyone (finally) started eating, I finished my plate. Not knowing what to do, I sat awkwardly next to my (ex) boyfriend with my plate still in my hand. He made no move to give me any guidance or to make conversation. His mother saw this opportunity and moved in on me like a hawk hunting a mouse.

“Do you pray at your house?” She asked as she took a seat across from me, picking at her dressing.

“Not as much as we used to, but yes.” My face felt hot, and my hands were getting sweaty around my plate.

“What religion do you practice?” Her eyes darted over to my (ex) boyfriend before landing back on me.

“I would say that I was raised Baptist.” I hated talking about religion. Wasn’t there some kind of rule about not talking about religion or politics at family functions?

“Raised? Does your family practice another form of Christianity now? You are Christians right?” This could not be anymore of an interrogation at this point. I hoped against hope that my (ex) boyfriend would butt in and save me.

But he didn’t.

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“My family are Christians.” I so did not want to get into this. Especially with her. How do I get out this conversation without looking like an asshole? I looked at my (ex) boyfriend, but he was avoiding eye contact with me. Freakin’ coward.

Her eyes were staring hard into mine now. “Are you a Christian?”

And there it is ladies and gentlemen! The real question she wanted to ask! Unfortunately during this time in my life I had yet to grow a spine so instead of telling her to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine, I answered her truthfully.

“Um… I’m agnostic.” I stuttered out. My face was beet red at this point. I was sweating through my cute top. I hated this feeling. I hated being cornered and made to feel ashamed.

She looked… angry. “Agnostic? Do you even know what that means? Have you read the Bible? I think it’d do you some good.” She finished the last bite on her plate and walked away.

I looked at my (ex) boyfriend who I will now refer to as Blank. “What the fuck, Blank?”

“Shhh! Don’t let her hear you cussing like that.” Blank looked over his shoulder towards the kitchen where his mother was getting dessert.

“You didn’t even step in! You just let her steamroll me!” I whispered angrily. I shoved my empty plate in his hands. “I gotta go.”

I took the keys from my pocket and headed out the door. Blank didn’t even get off the couch to see me out.

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While that was a million years ago, I can look back at that moment as “That one time at Thanksgiving when I was shamed for being agnostic.” Yeah, it sucked, and I would have handled it much differently today. I learned that I shouldn’t be ashamed of who I am, but also that I needed a person who would stand up for me when I was being treated with disrespect!

What is the worst Thanksgiving family dinner conversation you were ever involved in? Let me know in the comments! Check out Daily Inklings on Normal Happenings for more prompts like this one!

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13 thoughts on “That One Time at Thanksgiving

  1. I would have spilt my drink in Blank’s lap and then loudly asked if he had an accident again, before walking out.

    And just to clarify, my liking of your post is in response to your reaction and not the crap you had to put up with.

    Growing up in England I don’t have any Thanks Giving stories…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh nooon that’s such an awkward and embarrassing situation 😱 I hate it when someone makes you feel bad about your opinion…!!
    I personally don’t have any stories like that, being raised in a quite close minded and stubborn family made me learn that the best thing to do to not feel bad is to say “yes yes you’re right” for anything 😂 at least as long as they do no cross the line of decency 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh fuck that. I hate “spirit of the staircase” where you think of something good to say long afterward. If I’d thought about it, I would’ve replied with, “I’m agnostic BECAUSE I’ve read enough of the Bible to know it’s no great moral guide, and I’ll thank you to not shame me for my beliefs or lack thereof.” But I have to think of those things before.

    The year of the 2016 election my sister-in-law’s husband’s mother said that we should “pray for” whom I call/consider the White House squatter, and I had a lot to say about that. She also went off about how vaccines are dangerous and then tried to say that Black Friday was so called because that was the day they sold slaves (she’s Black and yeah, I definitely see the incongruence of wishing POS45 well and this, but rationality wasn’t her strong suite). I eventually just walked away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I had a better come back for her but I was still young, and people’s rudeness would catch my naive self off guard. Not so much the case now!

      I’m so sorry you have to deal with that. When it comes to family, sometimes it’s best to walk away from crazy. I have had to deal with similar people who thought because I am white and from the south, I must agree with 45. They look at my husband and see a white man, not an immigrant. They’re pretty rude when I tell them off but it’s whatever. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Saaaaame. When I was young/younger I’d be so thrown by someone’s audacity that I wouldn’t be able to say anything. It still happens now because I’m just shocked at some of the messed up things people can think.

        From what I’m seeing, there are lots of pockets of blue in the south, but because of gerrymandering a lot of your votes just get lost in that bureaucracy. It sucks :\ My husband has had people assume he’s a republican because he’s white. He was actually registered as one once even though he’s never been. I know quite a lot of people who are “white passing,” and it’s QUITE the rude awakening when someone says something bigoted to them and they tell them their background. >:)

        Liked by 1 person

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