I love the sound of Christmas cheer, jingling bells, and joyful tunes, but I hate the holidays. It’s the expectation, the presumed procurement of “loved ones” with whom we’re supposed to spend our nights. For some of you, you’re alone, just as I’m alone. You walk into the kitchen and imagine the laughter and smiles across the table as your family digs into the lovely feast you’ve prepared, your partner winking at you from the kitchen sink. It’s something both you and I can dream forever about because we know that when we walk into the kitchen tonight, the lights are dim, it’s cold, and the only thing you hear is the beeping sound of the microwave as you reheat leftovers, ready to eat alone.
I love the excitement before the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, how crowds gather ready to ring in the new year, but I hate the holidays. Each year I’m forced to distance myself from the celebration, knowing I do not possess the tools to bring me contentment, the joy elicited by others’ warm welcomes and soft embraces. But the daunting truth that I present to myself is, even if I did have everything I ever wanted, company during the coldest and coziest time of the year, I would find a way to destroy it all.
Although we may not like to admit it, those who have isolated themselves, or even those reluctantly abandoned, have come accustomed to living through these times alone. I myself admit that I may even like the silence; I’ve gotten so used to being alone, the feeling is familiar, even calming. I’m not sure I would even know how to react to a cheerful New Years’ Eve, spending time with friends and even some special if the opportunity was ever presented to me.
If you feel like you’ve come to be a friend of loneliness, so much you may even sabotage your own happiness, I’m here to tell you, you’re not alone. For some of you, you may have been invited for dinner this holiday season, and you turned it down. You did this because you’re scared of feeling something remotely close to happiness, you did this because you know next year an invitation may not come, and you’ll end up back to where you started, alone.
It’s scary letting light into a life where happiness is scarce. The holiday season requires people to find joy in other’s company. The “holiday cheer” derives from reliance on other people, trusting that their presence will elicit the feelings of togetherness to make you feel whole. I’m going to be honest; it would be hypocritical to advise you to accept the invitation or create your own opportunities as we approach the new year. I say this because here I am, isolated in a dark room writing to pass the day, trying to find something to do rather than ruminate on my low levels of self-worth and the fact I reside in an empty home alone.
But I guess that’s really the point of all this, here I am, and there you are. We’re alone. But are we really? Tonight and through the rest of the holiday season, I want you to know that although you may be lonely, I promise you, you are not alone. One year we will know what it’s like to feel whole during the holiday season. One year I promise, we’ll be free to feel joy.