Thirsty

It’s Christmastime. We should be talking about last night’s Bûche de Noël, which turned out to be a particularly sad case of looked-better-than-it-tasted.

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But! No regrets. The peppermint pinecones (and, wait for it: white chocolate mushrooms) were teensy and twee and exactly what I wanted.

We should be talking about twinkly white lights, the heady scent of pine. Beautiful, if breakable, ornaments. The Scotch Tape Shortage, and the songs we’re sick of. The rolls of ribbon only Mom can get to curl.

We should be talking about The Good Chocolate, otherwise identifiable as the ones in the pretty box. The box topped with the bold (belligerent?) Post-it: SAVE FOR COMPANY!

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We should be talking about our surprised faces, on a scale of 1 to 10. Brown paper packages, tied up with string. Pajamas all day, people we love, and the hubbub we’ve missed.

We should maybe also mention the tree of holly, growing merrily, just outside. (It might be a shrub, technically, but it’s so TALL! It’s a tree.)

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But the truth is, a small part of me wishes this Christmas wouldn’t come.

It’s immature, it’s juvenile, it’s petulant, it’s true.

It’s the first year since The Divorce. It’s the first year I’ll be in a place with lots of moss instead of lots and lots of snow.

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It’s the first year I’ll be alone.

Cue the song currently playing overhead, in my new favorite coffee shop: I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.

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I know I can be a grown-up about this. I am going to be a grown-up about this. I am going to give myself 15 minutes to wallow tomorrow morning — when I wake up sans stocking, sans siblings — and then I am going to proceed like it’s any other day.

There’s a yoga class at noon — I’ll go to that. And I’ll watch a movie, one I’ve been eager to see. I’ll make something delicious, even if it’s only for me. I’ll be lonely today, not tomorrow.

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I am lonely. I am lonely without my family, without my friends. Last night I was brushing my teeth, and I thought stupidly, sentimentally: even my toothbrush holder is lonely. There are too many empty slots.

It is hard to remember that it will not always be this way. One day I will have someone to decorate a Charlie Brown tree with. One day I will have someone to snuggle stay-in-bed with. One day I will have a reason to bookmark breakfast in bed recipes. One day I will want to spend the whole night (and half the morning?) in something slinky. Skimpy, sexy.

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One day I will not immediately shy away, every time I have the chance. One day I will not smile and white-lie, say I’m seeing someone. One day I will not switch coffee shops, or start going to the gym a little earlier/a little later. One day I will not keep my head ducked, my eyes averted.

One day I will not have to follow all of these guidelines, day in and day out, and still feel limited to The Floaty Top, The Oversized Sweater, The Stretchy Pant. One day I will not feel like an alien in my own body. One day I will not feel like my skin is suddenly a size too small. One day I will not be afraid to stand in a picture frame.

One day I will not feel so hopeful and then so afraid. So energized, and then so exhausted. One day I will not feel really pretty confident, and then NO, NO, so unsure.

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I’m too vulnerable. Too insecure, still. It would be a disaster, I think, to get involved with someone. Better to muscle through on my own, with the people who already love me, no matter what.

The muscling through…it’s just not going to happen linearly. I’m not going to make a beautiful, full recovery, and then get a great full-time job. Be able to move out, support myself, no problem. And then waltz my way into a lovely group of girl friends. (In Oregon.) And THEN *just happen* to find a roommate, someone I’d love to live with. And an awesome + affordable apartment for us to live in, shortly after that.

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And even if/when/once some or all of those things DO happen, I won’t be able to wave a wand and magically furnish my new place so it looks Just. The. Way. I’d. Hoped!

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I won’t be able to conjure up a man I’d like to have over for dinner, once I finally decide I am ready. Or close enough, anyway.

Hey — do you think the man I’ll meet probably wouldn’t mind if we just held hands, for the first six months or so? I like to think that.

I also like to think that it’s all just going to unfold, and this is just an exceptionally trying time of this one year. I like to think that this is all very temporary, and someday I will have several of the things I wished for this year. None of which could have been carefully wrapped and slid under a tree, apparently already thirsty AGAIN.

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{All-I-want-for-Christmas cabin, via @alexstrohl on Instagram.}

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