I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.
It's the Most Conflicting Time of the Year
Sometimes, you can be surrounded by people and feel absolutely alone.
There's no rhyme nor reason about why you might feel that way, but this is what sometimes happens. Sometimes, it's just a feeling, and there might be absolutely no reason for it but it still exists. You can attempt to ignore it all you like, but wishing doesn't make anything so. You might notice a bit of a pull with it, like a hand trying to pull you into a dark room that you're a bit scared to enter.
We often hear that the holidays can be a rough time for many, and it's probably because of feelings like the one I just described. A lot of people spend the holidays in an environment which is not truly their own, which can certainly compound the issue. Feeling alone is one thing, but when you're feeling alone without your "stuff" with you is quite another matter. There's no retreat to a safe zone in those instances, and if you don't have a soft spot to land during the holidays, that can make the season that much more challenging. The holidays might just be about chilling in your pajamas and eating junk because that's just what you do, but when everyone else is bustling about and you feel pulled in 40 different directions, that makes things that much more difficult through the holidays.
It's also not like you're making a deliberate choice to be lonely. That's not what the holidays are supposed to be about; they're supposed to be about camaraderie and having fun together, and all of that greeting card stuff that makes millions every year. You gamely try and get into the spirit of the season, but meanwhile, all you might want to do is crawl into bed and wait until the holidays are done.
It would be incredibly easy to wallow in that dark feeling and hide under your warm and fuzzy blankets, but given how busy the season does get, that is probably not an option that's open to you. Life isn't always easy, as we all know, and it's not supposed to be - how else are we supposed to grow as individuals if everything came easily? If you've got kids, especially young ones, in your life, you especially can't just say "screw it" when it's time to socialize with your family. You're the grown-up, and you can't encourage your kids to spend time with family and then turn around and hide in your bedroom. That's not how life works.
A sense of isolation through the holidays can hit especially hard, though, for a variety of different reasons, and trying to figure out how to deal can be difficult if not impossible, especially if you're out of your element.
So, what do you do?
Sometimes, you have to shower, and smile, and be the role model your kids need you to be. How else are they supposed to learn that you sometimes have to muscle through the times that seem tough? Sometimes, you have to engage with people even when you don't want to - and that's true even when it's not the holidays. How many of us have had to deal with people we don't always enjoy or even like from one day to the next? I see you, you folks in the back, and I understand.
Even when that hand is resting on your shoulder, trying to coax you into a tailspin of depression or just the blahs, and you want to give in and go to bed until the feeling goes away, sometimes, you've got to play the fake it til you make it game, no matter how hard it might be. Too soon, you'll be heading back to whatever normal the post-holiday season offers you, and hopefully some measure of sanity that provides. It's never an ideal situation—when are we ever offered an ideal that didn't ultimately cost us something in the long run?
However, the only option we ever have is to play the cards we're dealt, which also means that sometimes, the only choice is to get in there and be a part of the action, even if you're an outlier.