Soft blankets, hot cocoa, rainy days, holiday lights, and fuzzy socks. That’s what comes to mind when I think about winter, particularly, December.
Along with the coziness found in homes on chilly winter evenings come cheery, almost always fun filled holiday parties.
This year, my job’s holiday party invite was sent out via email. I excitedly RSVPed immediately. As the date neared, I occasionally checked the list of confirmed guests. As more people replied yes, one thing became obvious — almost every single person had a plus one.
____ + 1 (my husband)
____ +1 (my partner)
…and on it went.
On the days leading up to the party, I became mildly obsessed with this idea that everyone was taking a +1. And yes, saying Everyone is a cognitive distortion.
Let’s take a moment to rationalize that thought: some people are in relationships and are taking a plus one. Others, however, are going solo, just like you.
That symbol and number led me to spend some time thinking about my current relationship status: single.
I made a cross-country move while being in a long distance relationship with an individual living in the city I was relocating to. I was starting over in a new place. I had left several things behind: friendships, a job — an entire life I had spent 5 years creating.
The difficult reality of relocating hadn’t fully hit me and a big reason was because I had someone there.
My life revolved around work, him, and reconnecting with family and some friends. Along with ridding myself of many physical belongings when I moved, so did the powerful traits that once defined me shed away. Transplant amnesia took over as I completely forgot about the passionate, empowering activities I had spent years committed to that truly defined me. And, I was okay with that because I was in love.
After the break up I took care of my self, focused on positivity, cognitive behavioral therapy, and self-love. Slowly, I began to find myself again and find meaning in my life outside of my partner.
Now, months later, I know and am truly happy taking care of myself by myself. I have once again dedicated my hours and days to fighting for a better, more just world.
I have set short and long term goals and have regained confidence, self-esteem, and levels of productivity. I have become a better person by prioritizing my needs and wants.
Currently, I stand in a place of compassion and self-care, where I am becoming a better version of myself. Along the way, I have created unimaginable amazing experiences and fostered even stronger relationships with others – all which would have not been as achievable if I had not had the opportunity to blossom.
So, tomorrow is my work’s holiday party. Tomorrow, I will go as a RSVP without the +. Tomorrow, however, I will also spend the entire day prior to the party engaging in empowering work that has provided me a space to find myself once again and develop my own life. A life independent of another person, i.e. a man; a life where I am building myself; a life filled with experiences that have transformed me, built my confidence, and surrounded me with love.