It was Christmas Eve 2016 when my Mum and I were arguing once again at dinner. This time, her anger was triggered by me putting her phone on silent, and catapulted when I corrected her mispronouncing a word. Though I apologised, she snapped back and told me to shut up. Despite trying to de-escalate things when running an errand, it ended with me walking out from her car into the Midwestern cold. Through tears, I planned to fly home as soon as possible.
We were in a suburb of Minneapolis – the first place we lived after moving to the United States. I knew I never belonged there. I not only felt this upon arrival, but my classmates, teachers and random strangers made it clear on a daily basis. After two years, I essentially ran from the area to go to uni in New York. I could no longer endure racism, misogyny and xenophobia. Regardless, I was still expected to see this place as my own.
Less than an hour after I arrived at her house for Christmas 2016, it was this discomfort that ignited our first disagreement. For the rest of the trip my mum twisted my words and mocked my voice as she told everyone we saw that I thought her and Minnesota were beneath me. At this point I had lost count of the arguments that happened at this time of year. It was one of many reasons that factored into my decision to be alone for Christmas moving forward.