Ten days before my, “Alone for the Holidays,” blog was scheduled, I sent this text message (pictured on the left) to at least four of my girlfriends. With the holidays approaching, I figured a post about surviving the holidays single would be appropriate. The only problem was I had writer’s block because I’ve never truly been alone for the holidays. Single.Yes. But, alone. No.
Even with the responses, I still wasn’t inspired. When I write, it’s coming from a very honest place which requires a certain level of empathy. During the holidays, I’m surrounded by so much love from my family that I’ve detached myself from my love life--or the lack of. Most of my friends replied that they dealt with the loneliness by spending time with their families. Over the past few Christmases, I buried myself so deep into the roots of my family that I couldn’t realize my own loneliness--so much so, I had to seek the feelings in four women outside of myself. Well, if you know God, you know that he has an interesting sense of humor. Those ten days would pass by and soon, God, in all his ironic teachings, would make me dig up what’s been buried.
Saturday, I woke up with a sh*tty attitude. There’s no classier way to describe my mood. The day before didn’t turn out quite as I hoped and unfortunately, I let it set the tone for my Christmas Eve. Also, Jeremiah was with his father for the holidays and that helped damper my festive mood.
For the last 23 days, I spent my time working and Christmas Eve turned out to be my only chance to shop. My day started at 8 a.m. in the mall for some last-minute shopping. Of course, the mall was filled with hundreds of other procrastinators. As you can imagine, bobbing in-and-out of stores like a gopher, waiting in lines as long as the Nile, and depleting my hard-earned savings account for gifts was enough to crush any Christmas spirit I might have had left. I spent hours up and down escalators trying to find the perfect gifts for my family--not joyfully might I add. If I had it my way, I would’ve been home throwing a pity party for one with balloons, streamers, and a cake.
Just as I am finishing my last purchase, Jeremiah called. He was in the mall with his father and he wanted to see me. That was just what I needed to cure my Grinch-like symptoms. I hurried pass the hoards of people to meet him. There was Jeremiah and his father, but they weren’t alone. His father’s girlfriend, who I only met recently, was with them.They looked like one big happy family. Full disclosure: I do not want nor am I attracted to Jeremiah’s father anymore. When I saw the three of them together, it did not spark feelings of bitterness; rather, it was my first reminder that I was alone for the holidays.
After meeting up with Jeremiah, I was over the mall altogether. Eight hours anywhere starts to feel like work. Regardless if Jeremiah was home or not, I was still going to cook a huge breakfast for my family; that would cheer me up. I headed to the market to buy groceries for my annual Christmas breakfast. Before entering the market, I had already mentally prepared myself for, yet, another crowd. However, I hadn’t prepared myself for what was next. It was couples’ night at the grocery store! Okay, that’s an exaggeration. It did seem as almost everyone was out shopping with their significant other and here I was, solo, buying all this food. This was my second reminder that I was alone for the holidays. I retreated home as fast as possible. Pity party of one was sounding more appealing now.
Finally, I was home. I walked into my house relieved. I had just been on the front lines braving the crazed Christmas Eve shopping and panicked pre-Christmas market run, alone. Then. Boom. In the living room, my sister and her boyfriend were wrapping gifts together. My third reminder that I was alone for the holidays. The only thing I could do was cancel my pity party and head to bed,alone.
The next morning, I woke with the heaviest cloud over my head.I felt so beat up from the day before. It was Christmas morning and I just wanted to start the the entire weekend over. I rolled over to check the time on my phone. 8:06 a.m. If you have children, you know that’s late. But, I didn’t have a child on Christmas morning. I didn’t have a reason to wake up--early. I couldn’t possibly be alone for the holidays. Could I? I went roaming through the house to find one living, breathing soul to wish a Merry Christmas. But, the house was quiet. It was just me, home, alone for the holidays. My heart sunk to the bottom of my chest. I was. I was alone for the holidays.
Well, I wasn’t going to take this lying down. I called all of my family and I told them to be home for breakfast. I decided while,I may have woke up alone, I didn’t have to continue my day that way. By 10 a.m, my family all returned home to enjoy breakfast and open gifts. My heart lit up like a Christmas tree. My loneliness didn’t disappear, but it did shrink.
Surviving Loneliness During the Holidays
Here’s is one of my friend’s replies to the infamous texted question that began everything:
Loneliness is a state of being. This means whether you are aware of it or not, you have complete control over it. When we are alone, we tend to alienate ourselves from the world around us. This increases the feeling of loneliness. More than likely, I was not the only one shopping alone on Christmas Eve. However, I let my mind play tricks on me. Perhaps, when I came home, I joined my sister and her boyfriend in wrapping gifts. Maybe, I called a friend that I haven’t talk to in a while just to say, “Merry Christmas.” Go back and reread the story. Is it possible that I could’ve made different choices? If you are single, like me, there are moment when we let our minds run wild with negative feelings. At 8 a.m on Christmas morning, I told myself that no one loved me. Two hours later, my house was filled with people who love me.
A few weeks ago, this blog was supposed to give you tips on how to survive the holidays alone. However, I couldn’t write it because I did not have a chance to truly experience it. Would I be able to truly help someone if I was just regurgitating information from my research? Not at all. Here’s how you survive being alone for the holidays: You realize you are not alone. Write down a list of your loved ones, even if your mother is number one. Then, try your hardest to connect with everyone on that list before the holidays are over.
Now, let’s be truthful. Would I rather wake up to a beau on Christmas morning? Yes. Would I probably still feel slightly uncomfortable around other couples during the holiday? Maybe. But, at the end of the day our sole job is to make the best out of our current situation. If God did not grant me the chance to be “alone” for the holidays, would I be able to write this post? Probably, not.
Remember, here’s the beauty of being single. You,alone, are in charge of your feelings. If you claim being alone, then you will be lonely. If you want love, then create it. All of this starts with yourself.
The holidays aren’t over yet. Do you want to hear the second part to this story? Stay tuned,next week, I’ll share how a happy hour with my girls the day after Christmas made me realize I’m “THAT FRIEND”. And, what will happen on New Year's?
Also, are you single this holiday season? How are you dealing? Comment below.