If you haven’t heard its Thanksgiving in Canada and with it comes the turkey, family and times of celebration. I’ve always struggled with all holidays, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, because they always filled me with fear and inevitability of pain and violence. As a child Christmas approaching meant taking on an acting role in a movie that didn’t pay particularly well, developing a knack for pretending to be happy and over joyed for the gifts I received, but never really desired. Failure meant more bruises to hide and more lies to tell classmates. Thanksgiving was a time of egg shells being shut away with the mother-ship, although the dinners at my grandmother’s were at least a reprieve from reality that waited at home. I think the only holiday I enjoyed was New Years Eve because I stayed up late, watched the ball drop in New York City while thinking “one day I will be one of those faceless celebrators. I’ll be with friends, dressed in a nice outfit and kiss someone at midnight. One day.” I always felt New Years as a sign of hope for the holidays and future ahead of me once I was able to flee my current circumstance.
It’s been quite a few years since my childhood, and while I found the first few years with my then boyfriend difficult because I had to celebrate the holidays with his family, I still enjoyed the sense of inclusion holidays brought. I’m not longer with that boyfriend, but he taught me about family and holidays in a way I’d never experienced. Holidays could be happy, carefree and exciting. Yet, four years later I sit alone on most holidays, cuddling a bottle of wine (or more) and try to fight the feeling that I do not deserve a life like others seem to easily find.
Instead of becoming angry or alienated by the holidays, which would be the easier path to follow, I look at the holidays as a time for things that I enjoy. I often worked sixteen hour days while attending school before my most recent change in employment status, so holidays brought about a sense of freedom to do things that bring me joy. I broke rules of my diets, read books I’d been waiting for read forever, watched television (something I never did) and even spent time with my lovely border collie mixes at the mostly empty dog parks.
I guess the point of this post is that there are those of us who have sad and lonely holidays and they are often forgotten or ignored because it makes people uncomfortable to admit such situations exists. There are those of us who do not look at the holidays as a time of celebration, but as an another moment in time to feel ostracized from society or even bitter that they have no family or are unable to visit home. I want to not only raise awareness of this fact, but also to reach out to those who are alone on the holidays and say:
“Its okay! In fact, being alone on the holidays is amazing because we do not need to spend hours over the stove cooking or stressing about the in-laws coming over or even cleaning up the mess at the end of the day knowing that tomorrow the work week starts again. We are blessed in a way because we can sit on the couch with a massive bag of chocolate watching television or reading a book or whatever our interests may be without the responsibility or stress of the holidays. We can rise above these feelings and our pasts. We can enjoy “me time”.
I don’t know, maybe some day I’ll meet Mr. Right and my whole understanding of holidays will again change, or I’ll spend the majority of my holidays alone fighting the urge to feel unloved, but its better to fight than give in to that temptation. It’s better to find the light in a situation rather than focus on the darkness. You are not alone, lonely holiday-ers and that’s okay.