Most often times we forget about the fact that "the most wonderful time of the year" isn't so wonderful for everyone... except for those of us who've been (and may still be) on the side where the grass isn't greener.
The holidays really became an emotional, sensitive trigger for me back in 2011 when my father was no longer a part of the picture. His absence felt stronger in moments where celebration and joy were to be expected. Traditions that my father and I held during the holidays were no longer and now I had more time on my hands. Time that felt like empty voids I couldn't seem to fill. Still to this day, I am coping.
Every year since then, I'd dismiss the holidays and make them out to be like they were just any other day of the year. A defense mechanism of some sort to protect me from the pain if I were to acknowledge that it is in fact a special day.
This year, beginning on my birthday (November third) - when the nostalgic, holiday triggers begin - I somehow found a light and strength to rewrite the story. To mend the wounds between me and my relationship with my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc.
To dismiss my dismissal of "the most wonderful time of the year."
For my birthday, with this newfound light, I told myself that I'd make it a very special not only day but entire week for myself whether I was in good company or alone! And I did. I carved a pumpkin for Halloween - alone. I went out dancing - with friends! I coordinated a birthday dinner with people who really made my year special in one of my favorite restaurants in town (Penca). I flew out to Long Beach to attend Complex Con - alone. It was, hands down, one of the best birthdays ever!
For Thanksgiving last week, I actually decided to spend it alone this year. First time ever! All in the sake of self-care, which I have made a priority. It was strange and it was different but it was... nice. I was able to truly reflect on what I'm grateful for. I had breakfast with both my grandmas, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. It was so lovely.
Basically, rewriting the story so far for me is really just asking myself what would make me feel good on these days. What would a fun and safe space look like for me on each holiday? Rewriting the story is making an effort to do something different.
It is, of course, easier said than done but you never know when that light of encouragement, that light of hope that exists in our spirit, will begin to glimmer once again after hiding in the darkness of pain and trauma. It just... happens one day and when it does, hold on to it. Do something with the light! Even if it's just a teeny bit.
So what's the slice of my pie? The slice is these words. Words that have the intention of letting you know you aren't alone during the most wonderful time of the year. And perhaps, one day, it can once again be the most wonderful time if it isn't already.