I Prefer to Be Solo Over the Holidays
I have #CPTSD and am fraught with anxiety and shame from October to January. Having estranged parents and a sister I haven’t spoken with in years, I usually recoil and distance myself from everyone this time of year. It gets harder and harder because the more people have an inkling about my situation, I get invitations to spend a holiday with people I don’t know very well. And where I’m grateful to be asked, I’m also supremely self-conscious of my situation during occasions where the world revolves around family. Not having one feels like there is no place to belong for a good quarter of the year—and then some if you factor in the other handful of traditional family celebrations.
I used to be with friends when they were single and friend gatherings were a thing. Now those friends have children and in-laws and the spotlight on my head felt bigger being amidst their family circle. I don’t have a significant other… I don’t expect to find one as I’m inching ever so frighteningly toward my 50s.
This life is a solo ride. But the world doesn’t have a place for those without familial connections. I don’t feel comfortable being around other people’s families. I wish I could find a group of adult, single orphans to hike mountains with on Christmas—or something with equal solitude in company.
I am writing here because I just got a last-minute invitation to Christmas dinner with a casual acquaintance. I cried. It’s thoughtful. But I would really rather just hide in my place with a movie and cobbled together dinner for one. Maybe I’ll clean or do some writing or painting—anything to pass the time away.
I also don’t know what to say: “thanks but I’m looking forward to staying home and letting the world do it’s thing out there while I’m cocooned in my own solo safe space”? I want to lie and say I have other plans — which I do, they’re just solo. But it feels bad to not respond with some celebratory note: “oh thank you but I’m going to x,y,z.” I don’t even have the energy to make up a fake event. I don’t even know what to call a fake family event.
I’m thinking about running out to the grocery store now to buy stuff for a gluttonous meal for one. It’s not great but it is what it is, as “They” say.
Please let me just make it to January 2nd.