By: Emilee Clemons
It is the holiday season. Turkeys are being devoured, families are gathering, and in the luckiest places, snow is falling.
Across the world, these next few months of holidays are known as the most wonderful time of the year. I hope that this note finds you feeling that cliché down in your bones. I hope your days are becoming a perfect blend of work and sleep, rest and play. I need you to know, though, that you are not standing alone if you are dreading the winter and the holiday parties that seem to point out everything you don’t like about yourself. Maybe your nights are coming sooner and you are just craving some bright and merry days.
The truth is that so many of us are worn and battered from a rough year. Our hearts have taken a beating, a few dreams had to die, and we worked ruthlessly. The year didn’t turn out as we had hoped. We thought that we would be ice-skating with our new bae by now, or giving our parents the news of a pregnancy, feeling the happy change of something when the weather changed too.
We feel so-worth-rejecting. Or simply so-not-worth-loving.
I don’t tell you this as someone who has all her mess packed away tidy in a suitcase, as someone that doesn’t know what all of that feels like. I tell you this as a friend, as someone who has been there: you are so worth loving. When you put your feet to the floor in the morning and already feel a rush of defeat, you are so worth persevering. When you are dancing barefoot in the kitchen, you are so worth celebrating. When you feel gross and when you feel gorgeous, you are always worth affection. When you are wrestling deep in the night with covers and with lies that don’t seem to settle, you are so worth fighting for.
In everything that has died this year, there will be a new beginning. For every dream that disappeared, new plans will come. For every identity wound that plagues you, I believe that there is a God who came crying into the darkness as a baby to make all things right again.
I want you to promise me something. Every time you see Christmas lights, swooping gracefully on a front porch or snug tight around an evergreen, know that there is light in darkness. Beyond your comprehension, more than a feeling, stronger than an idea: there is a certain kind of light that makes the dark beautiful. You can start over. There is a path to loving yourself and loving others. A new day and a new way to live. There are merry and bright days ahead, even if they look nothing like what we would expect.
When you see those Christmas lights, remember the truth. That regardless of your current relationships and discouragements and emotions, there is reason to keep going. Remember that because of what you are going through, on the other side of this you will be the version of yourself that the world needs most: soft, strong, and stunning. You will be a light in someone else’s darkness, dancing gracefully like art and hugging hurting shoulders tight because you’ve been there too.
Most of all, whether the days are heavy or light, keep pressing in. Brighter days are on their way, and you are worth every step of the fight.