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What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas?

Christmas just ain’t Christmas without the one you love.  This is the time of year where every urban radio station across the country plays the old school urban holiday classics by Donny Hathaway, The O’Jays, The Emotions, and let’s not forget the romantic chiller, “Let It Snow”, by Boyz to Men and Brian McKnight. Songs of love, family, and children laughing is what Christmas is all about, right? I agree, but I also have a slightly different narrative to share.

I truly enjoy my solitude. There is nothing like laying down on my couch, covered from head to toe with my plush blanket, candles flickering, Egyptian Musk incense burning; and looking at a cheesy movie or binge watching  “Law and Order: SVU”.  I love me some Sgt. Olivia Benson!  Solitude is not loneliness, although many confuse the two.  I have experienced both.  When I am mindful of my solitude, I experience calmness, curiosity, and a lazy state of mind like no other. There is peace in this space. However, when I get lonely, life gets very hard.  I feel disconnected from God, tears of uncertainty flow, self-doubt occupies my mind, and I am so much more aware of my pinned up sexual energy, lol.

Some people avoid solitude by any means necessary because it brings forth so much discomfort. Despite being an INFJ (my personality type), I am often mistaken for being a social butterfly. Yes, I occasionally enjoy the company of others and I love to travel and experience new things.  I often try to push myself past the outer limits of my own fear, anxiety, and comfort zone. Yet, I have something to admit.  I sometimes feel like I am missing something that I can't quite put my finger on or even explain easily.  It is something about the holiday season, specifically Christmas time, that makes me want to scream aloud, “I should not be alone!” There is such a strong emphasis on family and children during the holidays. Every commercial displays the perfect mom, dad, and two children, shopping for holiday gifts. There is a plethora of toy drives because every child on Christmas should feel the excitement of opening a gift. Let us not forget the anticipation of everyone waiting patiently to see the new bundle of joy that will continue the family tree. 

I am very fortunate to have the love and support from my immediate family, and I often try to either be with my parents or my sister and nephew during the holidays. However, when I pause and truly think about it, it hits me all at once that it is just ME (and My LenniBoi). I am a family of ME! I am a family of one. I do not have a spouse or partner. I do not have children. Christmas equals children, family, and gifts. The focus on it all is heavy at times.  I recall having so many great childhood memories of being at my grandparent’s home in North Carolina, alongside my many cousins. We would receive all kinds of gifts, but most importantly, we received an abundance of love! The feelings I felt then, I have not been able to recreate in this lifetime. I wonder if it is because I do not have a family or children of my own.  Maybe.  What I do know is that this time of year women like me are often forgotten about. I think the O’Jays got it wrong.  Christmas IS Christmas without the one you love. A positive outlook and reframe goes a long way!  In addition, what is the answer to The Emotions class song, “What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas”?  Well, we enjoy our solitude, travel out of the country,  run a 5K, do community service, engage in some QT with extended family and friends, or write a blog post, lol.  No need to stay stuck in loneliness. I’m waiting for the day when tis the season to be jolly is an intentional holiday commercial featuring black girl magic of women who are single, fierce, fabulous, and childfree! Sweet home alone is a wonderful state of mind! Yeah, I may not have children, a partner or even the traditional family of my own this holiday season.  Nevertheless, I also know many who would love to trade places and occupy my space all year around, lol. Sacred solitude is the gift I give to you this season. Let those jingle bells rock! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

***Please take the time to leave a comment below.  I appreciate the feedback!***


Anonymous said…
Well Doc...definitely hit the nail with this one and you perfectly described how you, me and many others feel at this time of year. Thanks for helping MY MIND decipher the difference between solitude and loneliness.

Family definitely is great but oh to sing the song, “ain’t no woman like the one I’ve got!”๐Ÿ˜„ I believe we’re being shown patience. Flowers grow and it times must be trimmed so our Higher Powers are the Florists right now; keeping us trimmed but still growing!

Thanks for sharing and keep the content coming! You are the bright light to many dark tunnels.

“Da Bum”
Kim C said…
Leave it to Christmastime to remind you of your “singleness”. I can so relate. I’m glad you see it as solitude because I struggle with loneliness. Every other time of year, I’m good being single with no children...but there’s something about Christmas that makes me long for a family. I have found ways to combat it. I adopt a family or two every year and I spend time with children in my family. It definitely helps.

Merry Christmas!
Anonymous said…
Embrace the journey. God has a plan for you!!!
Anonymous said…
Awesome read, thanks for your honesty! I’m married with no kids so I understand the comments.
Anonymous said…
Your words resonated with me,the state of mind and embracing the solitude. Even when we are in the midst of others, I find I need that quite place.
Anonymous said…
Very thoughtful perspective that doesn't get talked about enough. Great read. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ
Kellea Tibbs said…
Well, I think we're twins because everything you mentioned, is the exact same for me. One difference for me is that I do not have siblings so the added pressure or spotlight to be there with family and present is all on my, one of the only children on both sides of my family. And yes, the holidays are definitely all about the kids, however, I've found that the older I get, I'm still, one of "the kids" just a more grown up sometimes more mature version, lol. I find that instead of looking at it from the perspective of not having a partner, that I need to cherish the holidays for the opportunity to spend time with my family. My dad is 80,mom 79, and for me the holidays help me put things in perspective as to how much time I have to spend with my parents and other relatives. I've been able to witness them celebrating 60 years of marriage and I feel blessed to have the example and the opportunity. Now, with all of that said, one of my new years resolutions each year is to not have to do Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, family reunions, and other significant high profile family events, by myself, or alone. For once, I want to be able to roll up to the family event with a Boo, as I seen so many other cousins do. But once again, I am by myself, only left to send holiday wishes via card and text and give shoutouts to family and friends, all from the comfort of my family home. Yes, I've longed to have a picturesque holiday couple/family situation where my partner and I have to decide who's family we'll see for Thanksgiving and who's we'll see for Christmas, going to holiday parties with friends as a couple. I long for the first time I can host either of our families at our home for the holidays, that's always been a dream of mine, but not in the cards just now. But I know in due time, it will be a reality. I just hope my parents and others are around to witness it. And interestingly enough, my dating/love/relationship interest (whatever we want to call him lol), sent me a text saying, "I wish I was there with you for Christmas" (if you could see my face when I saw that - screw face). So my reply was something along the lines of this exact discussion. I told him, if that's something you want to happen, for us to be in the same space during the holidays next year, then that will be on you to make it happen,otherwise, I'll be at my family home per my usual. So let's see what 2020 holds for me.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for your honesty. Being by yourself certainly doesn’t mean loneliness and sometimes being around others doesn’t mean you are fulfilled - it all comes from within.
Joan said…
Excellent post! I can relate on each level. I’ve grown to really enjoy my space and solitude, especially with some incense and good food! I did not go home for the holidays and last week, let singleness get to me. But I let the emotions flow and then I sat in gratitude. I have great friends and colleagues and life is good. 2020 is our year to make it happen...whatever it is. Thank you for being so honest Angela!
Anonymous said…
Perspective is EVERYTHING. I love how you view things and I appreciate these blogs.
Kellea Tibbs said…
I also forgot to add on my post that, as an only child, being alone has never been an issue, in fact I enjoy being alone, having my own space, my own things, not having anyone or anything else to take care of (no offense to the did moms lol) but I'm good. I love staying by myself if I can and if it makes sense when I travel. But yes, I have my moments when I do get lonely or depressed about being single or childless or not necessarily in the place in life I thought I should be, but then, I snap out of it and realize that I have a very good life, good health and a good support system of family and friends and I'm good again.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for this blog post. There is a big difference between loneliness and solitude. I have gotten used to my solitude over the past few years. I've also been intentional about spending time with others when I can. There's a healthy balance.

Living life on my terms
Anonymous said…
Excellent post. I’m certain that your message will inspire and encourage other unmarried women without children. ♥️
Anonymous said…
Wow! If you didnt just write my entire life story!! This blog is what I feel from the Thanksgiving family meal of where is your plus one to the holiday playlist telling me I am less than if I sont have someone when actually I am enough. Thank you for being so open to share your story and for reassuring me that I am not alone in this journey
Brigette said…
I luckily learned to differentiate between loneliness and being alone years ago from something I read.
It is definitely about your perception and how you feel.

I don't have kids and am tired of people feeling like they should feel sorry for me or why am I waiting type of attitude. Its a good thing I am not barren and want kids because I would see how it would have been a problem for me.

Society tends to "brainwash" us at times with lots of ads constantly about families especially around Christmas time. And yes, I get the whole family thing.

They need to incorporate the single people too.

When I was single I learned to embrace my alone time.

Thanks for writing this blog. Very on point.
Anonymous said…
I usually spend Christmas with family but this year I decided not to. I went out to dinner with a friend and had the rest of the time to myself. Being single while surrounded by married couples, with and without children, is difficult, especially around the holidays. You make a good point about the difference between solitude and loneliness. I do enjoy my solitude, it's peaceful, and I think I need to focus more on that and not so much on what I don't have.
James said…
Very interesting post and I relate to it in many ways. One needs to be comfortable with who they are to begin with. However, we inherently want and or need to connect with another. I guess my question is do you desire to spend time with someone else and are you open to it. It is definitely your choice and everyone cant handle it the way you do...partly because the need to have someone there may have them not choose wisely or not be able to dictate what that means. I am able to be secure enough in the myself that being alone is something I can deal with. However, there are times I want that connection to someone else.
Anonymous said…
Well said!
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