I don’t know about y’all, but is it starting to feel like a ghost town up in here? At least that’s how it was feeling for me a few weeks into my divorce. Once the dust settled and the rumor mill had stopped production for summer break, it seemed all was quiet on my block and the phone wasn’t ringing....
F*CK The Holidays- Just Call Me Lady Scrooge
I remember my first holiday season single again. I was trying really hard to put my best foot forward to try and pretend to be excited about this new “single” life, but in all honesty, I was not thankful for anything at Thanksgiving, the party I threw for myself for my birthday in December just felt more like people were pitying me to be there and Christmas Day itself, well, I chose to spend most of the day alone because I didn’t want to subject my parents to my mood. And don’t even get me started on New Year’s.
What I wish I had done differently is not load up on all these social activities. I also wish I hadn’t been focused on Kansas & the Christmas tree (read: my book), but I think I thought if I kept myself so busy at Christmas, I would forget about all the pain I was actually going through. I thought I could avoid it and deal with it after the holidays.
There’s no avoiding those emotions and feelings. Whether you got divorced the beginning of the year in January or if your divorce is being finalized at the holidays, your first holiday season is going to be emotional. You are allowed to cry. You are allowed to be mad. You’re allowed to be sad. All of these things are normal. If you’re feeling frustrated with yourself, that’s ok too.
I’m no therapist, but what I would recommend is:
- It’s Ok to Say No. You don’t have to say yes to every single holiday party, happy hour, friendsgiving that you’re invited to. Pick 2 or 3. If you were the only one in your friends group that was married, then luck you, you’ll get to be mingling with a lot of single friends. However, if you were friends with a lot of couples, and there is a chance that you may run into your ex at some of these events, it may get uncomfortable. You also may not be emotionally ready for that yet either, so it might be best to pick the events that you know you’ll have a good time. A work happy hour or family Thanksgiving.
- Set a Time Limit. At any event, family, work or friendly gathering, it’s ok to leave when you’re ready to leave. Divorce can suck your energy and your emotions. It’s ok to set a time limit on your activities. Don’t let the pressure of family or friends persuade in any other direction than doing what’s best for you. If you decide calling it a night and going home to watch Christmas movies with wine at home, be proud of yourself that you went out and socialized.
- Buy Yourself a Christmas Gift. I do not care if it’s a lipstick from Walgreens to put in your own stocking, buy yourself something small to open on Christmas Day. Wrap that shit too. As much as it’s going to suck not having something from your significant other this year, you need to be reminded that your love for yourself is the most important. Knowing that and getting back to the self love, and true independence will eventually open you up to find true love again one day. Start with a little treat for yourself this year.
- Remember, people love you. While it is easy to hide, and if you cannot bring yourself to socialize or make it to holiday gatherings, please remember that there are people there for you. Friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, or even this community of women. You may not be ready to face the world this holiday season, but don’t be afraid to jump on online and talk with someone in the community.
You are going to get through this. You have to go through it to in order to get to the other side of it. Everyone will say “Think of the New Year as a chance to start anew” or “It’ll be the new you”. I don’t know if I’d say it’s the “new you”. Rarely does one’s morals or values change in a Divorce, but your mindset of looking forward may change. How you value yourself and your self worth is a good goal at the New Year. Each holiday season it will get easier. I know you have the strength to get through this holiday season. I am here for you.
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