The end of 2019 has been really good to me – in a way that I didn’t expect. A tough love kind of growth. In a nutshell, it wasn’t what I wanted (at all) but it’s exactly what I needed.

I’ve always been an open and honest person in all facets of my life. I don’t think it’s a secret that I went through a breakup that deeply hurt and affected me a few months ago. But it’s crazy, it was the best break up I’ve ever had. Afterward, I had to repeatedly look at myself in the mirror and honestly realize and accept that the love I felt was real, but that love just wasn’t meant to last. I still have an immense amount of respect, love (it’s different now), support, and hope for my ex. He is gonna fucking kill it in life and I’m so excited to witness it all unfold. As much as I love the holiday season, sometimes life just happens and the holidays just don’t feel the same as the year before. Last year, I did the most and threw parties, potlucks, and gift exchanges galore. This year, I felt like I blinked and suddenly it was the end of December.

The holidays are literally deemed “the most wonderful time of the year”, but they’re not wonderful for everyone. Pain, trauma, and past scars don’t acknowledge what the calendar says. Breakups. Unfortunate family situations. Trauma. Painful memories. The list goes on.

Not everyone has family that can be with (or even want to be with). Some people have painful memories associated with the holiday season. But you don’t have to be merry, happy, cheerful, or bright. It’s okay to be sad.

My #1 recommendation is always just “FEEL WHAT YOU FUCKING FEEL”, but here are some tips based off what worked for me:

1. Dive deep into a new hobby or passion – it’s immensely fulfilling (and distracting).

I’ve recently discovered a new passion and have been taking dance classes every month since September. It fills me with so much joy and a sense of physical achievement. And it’s wild to think that I never would have discovered this level of euphoria if not for my most painful breakup.

2. Just take a step back, be still, and breathe.

I must admit that this is something I need to practice more. I jam pack my days with activities because I don’t know how to pause and relax. As a result, my body is always sore (sorry muscles) and my mind is constantly running through to-do lists.

3. Accept that you’re always growing and changing and that you’re never going to fully be there.

Society has fed us a lie that we’re supposed to be this or achieve that once we hit specific ages, but it’s just bred anxiety, dissatisfaction, depression, and fear within our generation. The self-care articles out there on this topic are endless. My advice? Acknowledge your pain. Sink deep into it. As deep as you can possibly go.

Pain is like a pool of water. You have to drink it down, maybe even dive in and stay there for a while, then cry it all out until your soul finally feels lighter. Your pain is not your shame. You have to feel it – for as long as it takes – to overcome it. Suppress it... and roots itself in you.

In this time, I’ve personally realized that I like being alone. For the first time in my life, I’ve grown on my own. I’ve stepped closer to the version of me that I truly love and respect.

I am living in the present, chasing nothing, and ready for anything. When life deals you a hand that you don’t see coming, it forces you to adjust and pivot in order to stay balanced. Even if it knocks you off your feet, the act of getting back up makes you stronger. So it’s cool if the holidays aren’t your thing. Who said you had to be festive? Feel down if you wanna feel down. Just don’t give up and don’t stop going.

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