To many, the holidays are the most magical, special part of the year. Countdowns for the next holiday season begin as soon as the previous one ends. Decorations go out months ahead of time and holiday plans are made. Traditions are embraced. People are jolly and extend goodwill and cheer. Everywhere you turn, beautiful decorations meet the eye. The streets are lined with twinkling lights. Family and friends gather and share warm meals made with love.
Despite all of these wonderful things, for some, the hurt is deepest and most front of mind around the holidays. It doesn’t take the holidays off.
The holidays used to be my favorite.
Two years ago, sexual assault and the following investigation made the holidays extremely difficult for me.
Despite knowing I was surrounded with blessings and love, I still struggled.
Last year, our beautiful, healthy baby girl came just before the holidays. I still struggled.
Throughout the past year, I’ve struggled more than I thought I would.
I’ve been open and honest about my feelings. I know there is nothing I can do to change what happened. I have a beautiful family, amazing friends, and the best support network.
Still, I hurt.
- I fear for our safety, even though I know it’s irrational.
- I am scared when I’m in public with her alone.
- The doors have to be locked constantly.
- I can count on one hand how many walks I’ve taken her on by myself.
- There haven’t been many days where I don’t think about it or I haven’t felt scared.
Despite having a wonderful support network, my heart is heavy. I feel alone and I feel like I’ll never heal. The holidays make this feeling even stronger despite wanting to embrace and feel the joy of the holidays as I used to.
For some, the holidays exemplify the feeling that something is “off” or “wrong.” Holiday cheer can be even more of a reminder that things aren’t “just right.” No matter what you’ve faced or where you are on your healing journey, the hurt can stop you in your tracks.
This holiday season, be mindful that others around you may have heavy hearts while healing.
Some are without their loved ones.
Others struggle financially.
Many feel alone despite being surrounded by loved ones.
As I continue on my own healing journey, I have a vibrant little one-year-old girl who will be celebrating her second Christmas. The holiday magic is new and bright to her. She does not know this pain, and I am so grateful for that. She is extremely perceptive of my emotions, and it would make me hurt worse to know that I am taking any of the magic away from her fresh eyes, taking in all of the good the world has to offer.
This is an opportunity for me to experience the holidays in a new way moving forward, while still acknowledging the hurt and my journey of healing.
This year, my focus is on the magic she and my growing family have brought to my life.
So I want to send love to you and yours this holiday season. If you are hurting, please know you are not alone. Please don’t feel wrong or strange for feeling that way. You are here, you are loved, and you are a survivor of whatever hardships you’ve faced.