All I Want for Christmas is Me

There is something about this time of the year that makes everyone, young and old, near and far – want to be less of a “patridge in a pear tree” and rather one of two turtle doves. With less than 12 days left to Christmas – how’s a girl supposed to get through this season without wanting five gold rings (or just a diamond one), a kiss under the mistletoe, and someone to prove to us that really, every kiss does begin with Kay.

Since I started college, and freshman, sophomore, and junior year passed swiftly without a significant other to dote on me during the holiday season – Christmas has served as a nagging reminder that I was (and am) in fact, single. As my friends and their newly found college sweethearts would plan out trips to their respective hometowns (and now are married, by the way), and obsessively describe what they wanted and what they were getting their boyfriend – I silently wished they would all just shut up.

During breaks, I’d work at a retail store at the local mall and constantly watch couples cooing and smiling with their little shopping bags and hand-holding techniques that made me want to gag myself. And of course, at my Southern-inspired Christmas dinner, where at the ripe ol’ age of 20 – I was the strange one who was not only without a boyfriend, but also with no intentions of getting married right after graduation. Nope, I was the crazy misfit who wanted to move far, far away to a scary place called New York City and be a writer. Though they supported me, I’m not sure they ever quite understood.

But this year, this Christmas, this season, something in me is different. In fact – I hadn’t even noticed that I was single for the holidays until a dear friend of mine, K, sought my counsel and said “You know, it is just really hard to be single right now.”

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been well aware that Christmas is quickly approaching. I’m flying home on Friday to spend some much-needed time with my family and long-lost friends whom I haven’t seen in ages. I’ve toured all the window-displays on Fifth Avenue both with my friend E, and Mr. Possibility. I had front-row tickets to watch the tree at Rockefeller Center light up with Mr. Unavailable. I saw the Rockettes in complete style and everlasting wonder with my friend J, and I’ve walked throughout the city admiring the lights and the peace that seems to come with this time of year. Mr. Possibility took me ice skating and we went to Macy’s to check off gifts on our shopping lists. Right this very second and for the last few weeks, my Pandora “Christmas” station has been getting quite the workout. And most important of all, when that first flake fluttered to the Manhattan ground, I was completely alone and completely in awe.

I’ve embraced Christmas, and without even knowing, I’ve been perfectly content without a boyfriend. I haven’t been putting myself down because for the fourth year in a row, one of my best friends, L, will be my date to our Christmas Eve dinner. I haven’t felt ashamed that I’ll reunite with my extended family and they will probably ask me when I’m getting married. I haven’t wished and hoped and dreamed of being proposed to on Christmas morning (as I used to carefully plan out in my head). I haven’t cursed the smitten couples or the newlyweds who are so excited to spend their very first Christmas together.

But for the longest time, this season was so difficult, so grueling, so sad, so disappointing – because isn’t Christmas or any type of holiday at this time of year – supposed to be about love? About celebrating miracles and hoping for all that is to come? Or trusting that even if you can’t see it, it is out there – waiting to come into your life and shower you with gifts not only under the tree, but also helping you hang ornaments on the top limb.

But really, aren’t all of those ideas applicable to being single? Even when we relate it more about being a pair?

That while we think meeting Mr. Right will be a miracle, the true amazement is that before him, we get this incredible time to just love and concentrate on ourselves. We hope to see our children’s faces light up and ask us about Santa and play with our hubby in the snow – but don’t we also hope that we don’t lose ourselves in a relationship, and that we continue to adore the person we’ll see staring back at us in the mirror, each and every day for the rest of our lives? That sometimes it is so tough to believe there is a light at the end of the single tunnel or a glimmer of positivity in truly, finding peace in being alone – but even if we can’t feel it, we know it is possible, we know it can be ours.

This anticipation of a man to enter, to make the holidays brighter and fuller, to give us little boxes with bows, and to love how we look in our red sweater dresses – tears us up inside. Because really, we fear it will never happen. But instead of doubting the process, doubting the fates, and even worse, doubting ourselves – we miss out on how magical and truly beautiful a Christmas can be without a man. How experiencing flickering lights, parties, and travel can be just as entertaining when we’re out of love.

I don’t feel like I’m waiting on something. I don’t feel like I’m missing something from Christmas or that the universe is depriving me of a companion to make the holidays bearable. But instead, I’m excited. I’m so ready to shout from the rooftops that I’m single and that I’m happy. That I have a life that I created, that the presents you see were bought by only me and my money. That while I’m not kissing under the mistletoe – I haven’t lost hope that one day I will. Besides, it isn’t the number one priority anymore – not at Christmas, not at New Year’s, not at all. Right now, in this moment, in the snow, in the lights– the only thing to focus on is myself and this journey. And I can say with confidence that I disagree with you, Mariah Carey – I don’t want you (whichever man that represents) for Christmas, but all I really want is me.

Tis Christmastime in the city, and my, oh, my is the weather frightful

…but the feeling I have inside is so delightful. It is a feeling of wholeness, of completeness, of security, of magic – that derives from the greatest blessing, the most thoughtful gift, and the most incredible miracle I could ever experience – and that’s celebrating self-love. Celebrating…me.



A Single Snowflake and a Single Girl

Yesterday morning, as I frantically hurried out of my apartment to catch the train that probably had already left, I stopped dead in my tracks as soon as my face hit the outside air.

It smelled cold.

Now, for some this distinctive scent doesn’t mean much, but for this Southern girl it brings back a whirlwind of loving, romantic memories and hopes. I’ve fallen in love in all different seasons, but there seems to be something unique about the days that transcend November through March.

While everything that nature bore is withering, something more inviting is always growing inside the buildings that protect us from all the conditions beyond the front door. People are gathered together around something – a fireplace, a Christmas tree, o’dourves and champagne, or a table. And regardless if it is literal warmth – there is something about winter that illuminates electricity. Somehow, when it’s cold outside, there is no better place to be than as close as possible to those you love.

In year’s past, I remember being in my one-bedroom, peering out to the falling snow, wondering when I would have the chance to be hand-in-hand with a man who adored me. I could imagine him, whoever he may be, with this passionate look in his eyes, smiling back at me as I picked up a handful of snow, ready to play with him, and instead, he knocks it out of my hand, wraps his arms around me and steals a kiss. And this Mr., in my dreams, will view me as the single most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, and he will not be able to control his fervor to touch me, to be part of an essence that only belongs to me. And he would be thankful that we’re sharing the simplicity of snow, rosy-cheeks, and hot chocolate together.  Cheesy and completely idealistic? Absolutely. Desirable? Utterly.

Will it happen this season for me? Probably not. But for a reason unknown to me and possibly credited to this blog and journey – I’m okay with it. And not just okay, really, but happy and satisfied.

Like the seasons change, so much of life is an ever-cyclic transition. I’m going through so many firsts the longer I live here: from the first time I about died from the summer heat, to seeing Fall arrive in every brilliantly-colored leaf and wrap-sweater, to seeing trees light up and candy canes line the street corners.

Soon, I’ll feel the first flake fall from the New York City skyline–and for the longest time, I always dreamt of experiencing that moment, that silence that only comes with snow…with a man. But somehow, my feelings have changed. I’ve decided that if I’m not alone when the atmosphere breathes what I used to call “cotton from the clouds” – then the moment will be ruined.

Because as I’ve discovered being a single woman and learning to embrace the solitude that comes with that title – there are some instances where being alone can bring just as much magic (if not more) than being with someone else. And especially if that other person isn’t the person that you really do want to share such a cherished memory with. Sometimes, you’d rather just be a single girl with your single snowflake.

I have so much to do, so much to see, so many places to go, mistakes to make, books to read, articles to write, jobs to accept, plans to break, rules to dispose, and I can’t have every single little thing I’ve wanted in Manhattan within the first year I get here. If that was so, the city that never sleeps would lose its luster. If I can make it here so easily, where would the challenge and mystery be?

I look forward to a winter season that I don’t make lonely or depressing due to my singledom and I’m crossing fingers and toes that when I do see snow for the first time, I will get to be just in the company of myself. Does this mean that I’ll forget those wishes and dreams of romance on the ice or under the gray ambiance? Of course not.

When I see couples kissing in front of NYC landmarks that I’ve always idolized as inexcusably romantic in the winter like Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, Fifth Avenue, Central Park, and so on – a small part of me still aches.

But instead of entertaining the longing, I’ve recently learned to dwell in the possibility.

In the opportunities that I’ve been able to take, the blessings that I’ve been lucky enough to experience, and the love that I’ve shared with some pretty incredible men. And without a doubt, the relationship I’m developing with me, myself, and I, and with this dream city that is finally my reality.

And one day, there will be a man who stands by my side in the sweltering days of summer, in the crispness of fall, and the blistering yet beautiful days of winter. Just because he isn’t here, I know my life isn’t to be put on hold. It isn’t to be spent lingering. I’m not to be a lady in waiting.

But a lady in the embracing, a lady who opens her eyes as wide as she opens her heart – to not only the snow and cold that’ll flush her face, but to the self-love that’s flourishing…and to the love who is surely on his way.