Holiday Anxiety

*Reader submission*

I totally embody the Danish term “Hygge” shortly meaning comfort, a coziness that brings about a content feeling. I look forward to autumn, pregnant with anticipation for the inevitable show of jewel-toned leaves, warm beverages enjoyed in cozy sweaters, football games, and deep, solitary contemplations. For an introvert like me, it is undoubtedly my favorite time of the year.

I generally am optimistic in the fall, as it is the precursor to the holidays. These months bring about a chance to see loved ones that live at a distance, the comfort of lazing around my family home with tall socks and leggings drinking tea by the fire, holiday music, and loads of comfort food. I spend every day from September through December sipping up the delicious colors, smells and moments these months have to offer. It’s sensory overload.

With the joy of fall and holidays, comes romance. It’s all around and totally unavoidable.

It’s with those glaringly cutesy-love moments that fill my social media feeds and my ears through friends’ love stories, that this time of year is also admittedly one of my most anxiety-ridden and saddening times. I am in my late 20’s and have been practically single my entire adult life. I was a late bloomer, coupled with a fiery focus on building a successful business. I had no time for dating, until I desperately wanted to date. I clung to a depressingly awful situation with a guy who didn't love me but kept me around as a “best friend”. It was always around the holidays that I would feel the painful stabs of our relationship, missing our first year when we were dating and he promised that he would take me home for the holidays to his family’s farm. It sounded so romantic and perfect, and I couldn’t wait to see his mom and grandparents again, who I had come to love so dearly. I was rudely awoken to the harsh reality when he brought another woman home—one he was newly dating and fleetingly told me about, and she got to celebrate my Christmas with them. I sat up in bed, heart racing, anxiety coursing through my veins, wondering why I was so pathetic, and when I would find someone who wouldn’t treat me this way.

The anxiety around love and the holidays has only built with the passing years, leading to an inevitable night, somewhere in late December, when I notice my loneliness. It sits deep in my bones, and it hurts. I realize that I will face my family, once again, with no one to introduce them to. No one to sit next to me with their hand on my thigh in reassurance. No one to cuddle with on the couch watching cheesy holiday movies after everyone has gone to bed.

I catch myself at night, lying awake, tears streaming down my face. I can almost feel his big thumbs gently rubbing my salty cheeks, wrapping his body around mine in a comforting embrace, telling me that I was dumb to ever feel this way. But I feel trapped—out of control. It is the one part of my life that I can’t do anything about besides wait, stay positive, and know that one day, we will find each other. Yet every year, my “singleness” punches me right in the gut. Its blared across social platforms, in every movie. “You are single, and you suck”, is what it all translates to.

Two years ago, I sat at the table with my family, and my 15 year-old cousin asked, “Do you have a boyfriend?” “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “You must be ugly or something”. And even though I know not to be bothered by a teenage boy’s words, it stirred up my obvious insecurities of being a viable young woman with no romantic life. And here I am, two years later, still single. I get nervous that my family is wondering what my cousin asked rudely aloud. That I have a successful business to show for, but can’t keep a personal life together? What is wrong with her?

I feel anxiety for another year ending with no prospects, losing precious moments to make memories with my person.

I realize that we live in a society where being an independent young woman is a great thing. And I know I am a wonderful person. I live freely, I travel, I am a kick-ass business owner. I come from a loving world. I am so blessed. But the very human side of me wants to share this beautiful life with someone who will celebrate it all with me. Its in this very magical time of year that I can’t help but feel the obvious disappointment of being single.


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Baltimore, Maryland