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How I plan on making my Thanksgiving of solitude a liberating experience

Spending the holidays alone might seem like a depressing notion, but it can actually be one of the most empowering experiences

How I plan on making my Thanksgiving of solitude a liberating experience
woman throwing maple leaves
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

For many, the holidays are a symbolism of unity, joy and family. It's the time of year when everyone puts aside their differences and comes together regardless of class, race, gender or sexual orientation. Speaking for myself, the holidays have always been my favorite time of year.

So much so, I begin listening to Christmas music in September. Yup, I'm that person. However, thanks to the global health crisis known as COVID-19, the holidays are proving to look vastly bleak this year. Especially if you're like me and plan on abandoning your initial travel plans to stay home.

Also, shout out to the individuals recently single this holiday season. The holidays will no doubt be interesting for us all. But spending the holidays alone doesn't have to be a desolate time of year, drowning your sorrows in a bottle of red, while blaring Joni Mitchell on repeat.

I mean, there's nothing wrong with that option. Lord knows I've done it a few times since this whole pandemic started.

However, there are more productive ways you can spend your solitude this holiday season that don't involve blacking out on your couch for the hundredth time. For me, I plan on embracing my emotions like a distant, dysfunctional relative. This year has definitely proven to be dismal, for more reasons than one.

It also welcomed a bundle of changes for me: both good and bad.

In late July, I received an incredible job opportunity that brought me to New York, a city I've always envisioned living. I ended up abandoning my familiar life in D.C., trading it in for an unexpectedly thrilling one in New York. Shortly after my move, I received news my estranged father passed away. And a little after that, my boyfriend of four years and me broke up. Mind you, this was someone I envisioned spending the rest of my life with, only to discover he wasn't on the same page.

Nothing represents the holidays quite like a broken heart. Am I right?

So, as you can see, I definitely have a lot of emotional baggage to unpack. But instead of shoving my feelings into a box, I plan on wearing them like a badge of honor. I suppose that's the upside to spending the holidays alone: no one around to see you at your lowest. Plus, you get to parade around your apartment in your pjs all day without receiving judgmental glares from your mother.

In all honesty, I'm actually glad I don't have to see my family this year. I get to deal with my breakup on my own terms without having to explain what went wrong. Because to be honest, not even I know the answer to that jarring question. This holiday season, I plan on playing by my own rules, which for me, involves creating new traditions.

I plan on creating my favorite side dishes come Thanksgiving Day, as well as Christmas. I also plan on baking my favorite holiday deserts, Zooming with close friends, watching all my favorite holiday movies and indulging in a few glasses of my favorite bottle of red.

Perhaps I'll even dance around my minuscule living room to Joni Mitchell while I'm at it.

There's something extremely liberating in solitude. It doesn't have to be this dismal experience. I think society has a way of shamming loneliness when it should be celebrated. If this year has taught us anything, it's that there's beauty in isolation. You can learn so much about yourself from spending time on your own. So that's what I intend to do.

And maybe have a good cry while I'm at it.

Children have a place on the frontlines of the culture wars

What Should We Do When the Culture Wars Invade Our Children’s Lives?

Children have a place on the frontlines of the culture wars
Front windshield and lights of a traditional yellow school bus.
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

You know when there’s a controversy whether to include both sides to the Holocaust in a Texas school district, the culture wars have once again invaded the children’s lives. Similarly, in Southern Pennsylvania, books by people of color were banned (or per the official Central York School statement: “frozen” for an entire year.)

These discussions by the school boards are impacted by the bills passed in government, as in the case of House Bill 3979 requiring public school teachers to present various points of view when teaching about current events and social issues. Often, the impulse to clutch pearls and to “think of the children” is a rhetorical device to further political causes. As the larger climate in a racialized society such as the United States grapple with a history of slavery and the fight for racial justice--with the most current iteration being the black lives matter protests in the summer of 2020--what the children learn in schools have become a new battleground for those who land on opposing sides of this culture war.

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Why I don’t always expect my children to be completely truthful

Personally, I don’t expect the kids to always be completely truthful. Sometimes their truth bombs can be very unwelcome

Why I don’t always expect my children to be completely truthful

It's 7 am on a Wednesday.

My five-year-old bursts into our room like a whirlwind, and I blearily say good morning and remind him that he's going into school dressed in his onesie and wellies for a "wild rumpus day."

He replied, "Yes, I know. Don't forget we need to bring in sausages for the party".

Suddenly I'm wide awake and interrogating him; "What sausages? What party? What do you mean we're bringing sausages?!" I have a vague memory of going into school as a kid with sausage rolls or cheese and pineapple sticks for end-of-year parties, but I didn't think that was still a thing.

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