As I sit here by myself on Christmas Eve, the streets of London getting quieter and quieter as the night goes by. I wonder how many other people are having a lonely Christmas this year. I’m alone, yet I am not lonely. My girl is back home with her family, our housemates have dispersed to Iceland and the other half are in Wales, and I sit here by myself in what we have dubbed ‘The Putney Palace’. I decided to stay in London for Christmas because I couldn’t bare being in Italy without my father whilst I sat there enjoying warm meals and laughter with his immediate family. Deciding it was too soon to come back to S.A for Christmas, I figured that being here alone during this time was going to do me good. Would I crack? Would I all of a sudden dive deep into sadness? Would I let the Christmas cheer and all the soppy Christmas movies get to me?
I wondered all these things too as the date got closer. But yet here I sit on Christmas Eve absolutely okay with the fact that I am by myself, without my family or close friends. I’ve always been a bit of a contradiction, the loner who likes to hang out with people.
I can’t help but think about the people who are genuinely lonely during this time. The people who have lost family, or have family who want nothing to do with them. The black sheep’s, the people who fall under the LGBTIAQ spectrum whose families have disowned them, the people on the streets who have lost their homes for goodness knows what reason – be it their own fault or not. The people like me who are far away from home but unlike me, are truly lonely. I wonder about the sadness that overcomes them as they watch families walk by, cheering in pure happiness with bags of gifts to take home and wrap up. I wonder what these days feel like for them. A day that to the religious is the birth of a King, a King in many religions and not just one, yet this day has become a Hallmark trademark and money making holiday filled with soppy movies and songs that blur out “All I want for Christmas is you”. I can’t help but despise what the ‘outside’ of Christmas looks like. The Christmas trees, the presents, the exorbitantly priced holiday getaways, the mince pies and the need to want to drink an alcoholic egg drink. Which let me just add that I don’t get the last two, like at all. What is a mince pie even? There’s no mince in it.
Plus I’m from South Africa, we have beach, sunshine and make a prawn braai over Christmas. That whole snow filled, milk and cookies, fireplace Christmas that we see in the movies is not a thing. And the only time that I’ve delved into Christmas is when I am in Italy. You’re surrounded by so much family, family that hasn’t seen you in a while so all they want to do is shower you with love and lots of food. But being here now, in this city during this time, has been quite amazing with regards to certain things. Like real Christmas Trees, not plastic trees, the real deal – which made me wonder, what do they do with these trees come the end of Christmas? I was glad to know that they don’t just chuck them but send them to a ‘recycling pound’ (I just made that term up, I’m not sure if it’s a pound or not, but they do recycle the trees). They make the whole thing so intense for people that they want you to fall into the trap. Oxford Street Christmas lights, malls that looks like fairy lit castles, themed parks, ‘search for Santa’ themed days out in the forest, singing choirs as you walk out tube stations and bloody Mariah Carey singing in almost every single shop. Mind you, Italy is no different.
But as a person who hasn’t fallen for the trap, I sit here tonight wondering about those who are lonely and who have fallen for the trap. I wish them well, I wish for them happiness in their hearts. I wish for them to know that once the 25th is over, it all goes back to normal. That 6 days after this day, we are about to celebrate a new year and in that new year we are reminded of how strong we are, and how we have managed to get through yet another year. We are reminded to live in gratitude for a new day and more so for a new year. We are reminded to be better versions of ourselves and to be bigger and stronger than the previous year.
So I would like to take this time to send wishes of love and light to those of you who are maybe like me this year, maybe in my position or even in a worse position. I want you to all know that even though you are alone tonight, there’s someone out there who is also alone. There is no comparison on who is worse off tonight and tomorrow and who isn’t. But those of you who are completely alone, take this time to reflect. Not on the bad, but on the greatness that is you. And for those who are lonely, surround yourself with those who call themselves friends and together watch happy movies, and share happy stories, and laugh and sing and dance. And for those who are hungry may the ones in their warm homes not waste their food once they are done eating and instead pass it onto you so you too may enjoy a full belly.
I don’t know who will and who will not read this. But for those of you who do, remember to spread love, give light and radiate greatness not only during these next days but everyday leading into the new year and every single day there after. As a person who suffers from depression, I am extremely happy to know that I have not come down with the Christmas blues this year and no I am not in denial either. I have had a good year, a challenging year with many ups and downs and far too many stressful moments that ironically I am stress free right now. I am also filled with so much love and so much gratitude and I know I’ve spent the year helping people whenever I could, and that in its self makes me feel great. But for those of you who are suffering the Christmas Blues, don’t isolate yourself during this time and most importantly rest and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.
Love & Light