Well Readers, I survived. I survived the Holidays. The first Holiday alone, not really alone, just single. You see it in movies, hear about it in songs and read about it in novels, hell you’ve more than likely experienced it yourself. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I figured challenge accepted. I could do it, I knew I could.. I just didn’t realize I’d still struggle a bit, nor did I expect to feel sorrow in the thrall of happiness. But isn’t that life at it’s finest? We’re all struggling in a sea of people, surrounded by their happiness, their sorrows and yet we all manage to put on that face that shows everyone “We’re ok.” Now I know you know which one I’m talking about. The one that uses so much effort, the one that we use to fight back the burning tears in our eyes and the stinging in our noses. The one that buries our souls and leads others to believe we’re happy. But when we get home, we release all of those emotions we so desperately covered throughout the day.
Thanksgiving wasn’t that bad, mainly because I still had two dinners to go to and my best friend was there with me. I didn’t really have the time to slow down and realize I was on my own for that Holiday. I was running around baking pies and delivering them to both dinner locations. I spent the first part of my afternoon with my best friends family, enjoying in their company, cracking jokes and just having fun. We then loaded up into my car and zoomed off to my familys’ Thanksgiving. I had my Uncle and cousins over as well as my immediate family. We ate again and followed the night with various board games and raunchy card games. It helped that JP (my best friend) was by my side. When we did board games everyone had a partner. JP and I know a lot about one another and have adapted to each others mannerisms. We played one game where we had to act out various things or use clue words, we zoomed through the answers, thankfully from knowing each other so well. There wasn’t a minute that went by that I wasn’t smiling. But I again also had no time to think about how different this Thanksgiving was from the previous year. The previous year I was surrounded by a different family, screaming children and cranky adults. They couldn’t even compare if I wanted them to. I left my parents house smiling and singing as I drove JP home from the festivities, with both of us having to work Black Friday. It was when I got home that my heart broke a little. Realizing I was coming home to an empty home, with no one to carry the days happiness with. To prattle on with about how happy I was with the day. My heart was happy that day, but it wasn’t completely filled. A few tears hit my pillow that night, as I wished that I had someone to share my day with.
My crazy Holiday schedule came and went. Leaving not a lot of time for me to realize I didn’t have many to shop for this year. I did a lot of online shopping in between my crazy schedule and even managed to find time to go on various dates. Dating around the Holidays is weird, because you’re unsure to make plans with them over the Holidays or to leave those days to only close friends and family. This year I would prep to put Christmas up in my house and then would have no energy or desire to put it up. Christmas movies, music and books just weren’t cutting it. I could not get into the spirit of Christmas. I knew why of course, but I was hoping I could slap some liquid band-aid on the wounds and go about my Holiday loving self. JP and I made plans to put up Christmas together one day so I was not alone. I got everything ready, pulled down my Thanksgiving/Fall decorations and cleaned for the tree. Unfortunately, he had to work late and was unable to come help. Thankfully my friend L, who lives down the street was bored and wanted to stop over. He helped me decorate the tree and hang indoor twinkle lights throughout the cottage. I hung the outdoor lights up earlier in the day, of course on a day that was absolutely freezing. I had The Holiday playing on the tv and cocoa on the stove to try and thaw my frozen Holiday heart. By the end of the night I was in a very festive mood and my house looked like Santa’s little cottage. There were twinkle lights everywhere and little decorations on every shelf. I did not think the break-up would have such an impact on my Christmas decorating desires, but I was beyond grateful I could surpass the sorrow.
Christmas Eve I was working until about four o’clock and was heading to my parents house after work. I did not want to wake up Christmas morning alone, trying to load up my car with my dog and presents for the family. I was fearful if I did I would not have any desire to get out of bed. So I told my mom I would be spending the night at their place. She was beyond thrilled that I would be spending another Christmas Eve in their house. I secretly think she missed having us kids in the house. It was nice waking up Christmas morning to my mom yelling Merry Christmas and my dad making fresh coffee. My pup was running around the house playing with their dogs and there was even fresh snow blanketing the ground. It was the first Christmas in a long time that we had actually had snow on the ground. My heart was full in that moment. Full for being with my family and feeling beyond blessed for being able to come home when I wanted as well as stay in their guest room with my pup. I had asked my parents to open one of their presents early so I could share my joy. They loved their present and could not wait for me to set it up for them. My baby cousin, not such a baby anymore, was home from his study abroad trip and I could not wait to see him! He was coming over early that afternoon, so we all scurried around to get ready and see him. It was nice to catch up with him and my family for a bit before our dinner festivities began. JP had to work at his family farm and was unable to join us for dinner. I think that’s when I felt alone. Not that he was to blame, but it was very different from Thanksgiving. I was surrounded at the dinner table with everyone coupled up, everyone being my immediate family. My mom with dad and sister with her boyfriend. Then there was me, all alone on one side of the table. Where my ex usually occupied the spot next to me and would put his hand on my lap under the table to soothe me during little tiffs with my sister. At least at Thanksgiving JP was next to me at the table or near me at the table and would shoot me looks across the table to show me he understood my pain. During Christmas I was happy everyone was able to be present and just have so much love and joy with them. I won’t lie it was bittersweet. I was sad and put on my mask for the majority of the evening during dinner and board games. There were times I’d try and look to my left to say something and realize it was just me. I didn’t want to wake up in my home alone that morning knowing that the previous years I’d have woken up next to the man I’d loved who had hidden gifts for me throughout the house. Gifts that he tried to make me smile with or tried to even be practical with. It was hard this past Christmas to not reflect on the past Holiday and see how different they were. Knowing that the last Christmas I celebrated I had said that would be my last Holiday before I was married. I packed up my presents, dog and overnight bag and headed back to my empty cottage to prep for work the next morning. That night I cried myself to sleep, a lot harder than I had on Thanksgiving. I allowed myself to slip off my mask and I just let the darkness and sorrow overtake my heart. Reader’s you know those really deep cries? The ones we all need every once in awhile to alleviate the stress and sadness on our hearts.. The one in which you close your eyes, hug your pillow for dear life and just let go. That was how my night ended. Don’t get me wrong I had an amazing Christmas, but the going home to an empty home.. that was the hard part. Reliving the parallels of my Holidays was what gashed my almost healed heart. I did wake up the next morning feeling a lot lighter and ready to take on the day… Sometimes you just need to mourn the loss of.. well everything. The loss of a loved one, not to death, but in general. The Holidays in which you won’t have and the people lost within a breakup. I mourned my last Holiday realizing it was vastly different and was grateful that this years was beyond blissful, hopeful, and heart warming.
A week went by and I was more than ready to take on the New Year. 2017 was a year of changes, many I could never prepare myself for, but I could not wait to say Goodbye to it and bring on 2018. New Years Eve I was spending another night at my parents house. I was watching the ball drop with my friend L and his girlfriend as well as a guy who I’ve appropriately nicknamed Trouble. We played games, drank until our words were less filtered and laughed until our sides hurt. At the stroke of midnight everyone kissed the person they were with. I smiled realizing I had made it through one of the hardest years of my life. I kissed Trouble a little after the ball had dropped after soaking in my victory and strength. New Years Eve wasn’t ever a Holiday I had really struggled with. The year prior my ex had decided to go to bed early so I had rung in the New Year with JP, L and his girlfriend and my family. JP had to work New Years Day 2018 so I was unable to ring it in with him, but I wouldn’t have traded the people I was with that night. It had gone by so quickly, but I never stopped to think that I was unhappy or alone. I think mainly because I wasn’t and I had grown a lot over the weeks prior. L and his girlfriend left shortly after the ball drop, and my parents went to bed not long after. Trouble and I stayed up to talk and just watch the other drops throughout the world. He left around 2 am and I carried my tired butt up to the guest bed, which was slowly becoming my own. I drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face, knowing I had survived the year as well as looking forward to what the New Year had to bring.
New Years Day I awoke to my mom jumping into the room asking if I wanted breakfast, with my dog bounding behind her. I was definitely exhausted and wanted more sleep, but my hunger won out. I hugged both my parents to start off the morning and started talking to mom about our new bullet journaling we were getting in to. After breakfast my mom and I journaled all afternoon and then got ready for dinner. My mom out did herself like always, but it was a nice dinner. Just us five again, parents, sister, and her boyfriend. We all toasted to the New Year and talked about our New Year plans and how we survived the previous year. That night I left happy, with a full heart and happy mind. I went home and went to bed, with no tear stains on my pillow case to be found.
I learned a lot from 2017, more than I thought I would have to learn. I endured a lot in 2017, things I never thought I’d have to experience. But, I made it. Reader’s I survived one of the hardest years of my life. I am beyond grateful for my friends and family. For when I’d text or call them at random times they knew I needed some type of social connection for the day, or human interaction. For days when I put on the brightest mask they could still see through it and were there for me even if I didn’t want them to be. For holding my hand when I was weak and my hair when my stomach was weaker. I have so much to be grateful for. 2017 threw me for a loop, but it made me stronger and showed me what I really could handle, and more. I cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store for me. Reader’s I raise a figurative glass to 2018, to the adventures I’m going to take, the uncut paths that I will travel, and for the people I will meet along the way. I know nothing can prepare me for what’s to come.. and that my dear friends is what makes life worth living. Alright 2018 let’s make this year the one for the authors to tell for years to come.
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