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Alone at Christmas

Lately I’ve been feeling sick. No, not Coronavirus sick (although that did cross my mind and I started looking up symptoms).

I haven’t been able to really eat since Thanksgiving, except after I exercise. I have a whopper of a headache that doesn’t seem to abate. I have alternated between not being able to sleep and falling asleep on the couch last night at 7. I can’t decide if I’m restless or if I just want to curl up in bed. My focus swings wildly from being hyperfocused to not being able to remember what someone told me 2 minutes ago.

So what’s going on? Well so far I’m just self-diagnosing (with some help from Mom), but I think it comes down to the fact that it’s December and Christmas is just around the corner. (I need to remember to ask my therapist what he thinks next week…)

Now, if you know me at all or have even just seen my Instagram, you’ll know that I absolutely love love love Christmas. The lights really do brighten my day (pun partially intended), the music is some of my favorite to blast (and annoy my students with), the movies are just the right amount of sappy and unbelivable full of all that Christmas magic. I love everything about this season.

But for the past few years it has been a double-edged sword. Let me recap my life for you:
4 years ago – I had my tonsils out and was still recovering while hosting my (then) husband’s family at our house before traveling to see my family.
3 years ago – I was trying to save my marriage after finding out about my husband’s affair while hiding it from our families. I was pretending to enjoy myself while it felt like everything was crashing down around me.
2 years ago – I was separated and living not only in a new place but also for the first time by myself – with my dog. I still didn’t know which way to turn as I navigated along the new reality of being on my own.
1 year ago – It was my first Christmas after the divorce had been finalized in August. I tried to create new memories while still doing the things I loved – I took Pugsley (my dog) on a drive through the Christmas lights in town.
2020 – I don’t know what Christmas is going to look like with how everything has been going in the world, but Pugsley is gone now too. I don’t think I have ever felt so alone even though home has become my sanctuary.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have a great family and wonderful friends. I made amazing connections and I have learned more about what I need in my life. I love the personal trainers I work with and the strength I’ve gained; I need my yoga practice and the challenges it provides. I crave the adventures that are found in the books I read and the discussions that I find with my book club. But this time of year seems to hit differently…

December is the time I want to share most with someone, but I think I have forgotten how to do that. I crave the connection and cheesy moments you see in the Hallmark movies, but I think I’ve become afraid. I’m afraid to let someone get too close because I want to avoid the heartache that I have felt. I want to hold hands through the Christmas lights drives, but I don’t know how to be vulnerable enough to get there. So for now, I am still learning how to be alone at Christmas.

Alone is the best and worst place to be.

And so the journey continues…


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