I used to love holidays. All 40+ of my family in one house? Yes, please. I couldn't hear my own words much less think a single thought without someone chiming in. It was glorious.
But the year I was first divorced changed all that. Even though the same people were there (actually probably more because of all the babies being born at every turn), the same volume was present, I couldn't get my mind to STOP. I felt alone in a sea of family. I felt pitied. I felt like I couldn't wait to go home. But what was I going to do there? Cry alone?
I smiled in photos. Like the one below. But I felt like there was a spotlight on my ring finger, which was bare.
No, I didn't want to be married anymore. Not in that marriage. But this was the first time I was alone on a holiday (besides Halloween) post-divorce, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Honestly, I thought it would be somewhat liberating, but all it did was show me how "far behind" I was from all my cousins who were happily married and having baby after baby. You might not want to be married or have children, and that's totally cool. But I've grown up wanting to make a family of my own, and this day shined light on the fact that I was no where close to that. In fact, I was back at square one.
tI felt embarrassed. I felt lonely. And then I thought: Well, of course you're not happy this year. It just happened in June! Give it time, Ash. Next year will be different.
And then the next Thanksgiving came and went...cue the depression. Looking back, I probably should not have given myself any sort of deadline to "be happy". But I did because I thought surely in 365 days, something better would have come my way. That's just not the way it works, y'all.
If you're struggling this holiday weekend, or during Christmas time or Hanukkah or New Years or whatever...know that you're not alone in that. And reach out to someone who understands how it feels, even if she is no longer in that place. i.e. ME! I'll never forget these feelings even though I am in a different place. And you shouldn't have to go through it by yourself.
Email me: Connect@howtomoveonandbehappy.com