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Audio version:

This time of year used to stress me out. In fact, it stressed me out so much that this post — which I’d intended to be an expression of personal gratitude and solidarity with those who have it rough around the holidays, has a trashed first draft filled with the multitude of nonsense I went through every year. I was being terse and it was PAGES long. And so…

…Ahem. Let’s begin again.

Beginning again is always on the table. As you allow yourself to become the person you have always been, you find yourself drawn to those who are able to see that person. Your circle fills with friends who hear your heart when you speak; some of them will have been in your life since before you can remember and others will be new arrivals. The lines that separate eras will fade and distance will grow less important.

One day, you’ll look up and see yourself reflected in the eyes of everyone around you. And you’ll realize that you’re home.

Home.

Not the place you were born. Not the place you grew up. Not the place you’re obligated to return to on designated days of the year.

Home.

A tangible, internal/external hybrid of peace and joy and understanding and acceptance. And encouragement. You are home. Here, surrounded by those who give of themselves for no reason other than a mutual, boundless love you can shed painful memories and heal years of displacement, fear and anxiety. Slowly, you even begin to believe you deserve this place.

I spent years overcompensating — trying to be forgiving and loving enough for everyone. I wrecked myself agonizing over how to make holidays good enough to sustain my family and our relationships throughout the year. But making other people happy wouldn’t be my job, even if it were in my power.

So, having been released from this obligation, I actively sought out those who want me in their lives. Me. The me I’ve always been. My gratitude overwhelms me as I stare back into the faces of those who care about my thoughts and dreams while asking “How can I help?” and “What do you need?”

My heart — having nearly broken under the weight of overwhelming longing and sadness — spills over through my tear ducts as I muster the words, “Thank you. Just…thank you.”

I look around me now and I know, I am home.

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Categories: Speaking Up

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