The last few weeks have been a really strange time for me, with feelings of loneliness and being disconnected from not only other people, but from myself. For the most part I have been watching myself go through the motions as if my body and mind were not even occupying the same space.
Holiday season is a strange time for a lot of people. We are told that it is a time of family and gratitude, love and most of all connection. Yet most of us spend the last few weeks of the year feeling more disconnected than ever.
This might be because of the anxiety of getting together with family that you have strained relations with, or the commercialization and pressure of giving the best gifts, the expectation to be sociable and put on a happy mask when you might not be feeling up to it.
(For me, the fear of certain conversations with my family around sexuality and sex work is enough to make me want to become a literal burrito and never see the light of day again.)
Whatever the reason, it’s a weird time, and a lot of people disconnect and withdraw back into their safe shell when they feel the pressure (myself included).
Last night my love bought me back a copy of a comic that I had been wanting to read for a while, called ‘Love is Love’. It is a tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando, an event that shook the LGBTQIA community to the core. While a lot of it was quite somber, the theme of solidarity, perseverance and love was devastatingly beautiful; enough to cut through my little protective shell that I had spent the last few weeks building up, and I finally broke down and let out all of the tears that had been building up for longer than I care to admit.
When we disconnect, we might think that we are protecting ourselves from being hurt, but what we are actually doing is shooting ourselves in the foot and not allowing ourselves to be accepted and loved, and so proving ourselves right and repeating the cycle of whatever weird made-up story that we have told ourselves about being rejected.
There is a certain bravery in conscious connection that can’t quite be explained, the willingness to be vulnerable and open even when there is the risk of being rejected or hurt. Being authentic in who we are and where we are at doesn’t just feel good for us, but it helps give those around us a safe space to do the same.
I will admit that I had forgotten how to be brave this month, with the pressure of the holidays getting to me and turning me back into a sullen teenager, but being authentic in who I am is no longer a choice, and moving forward with openness and gratitude is an act of rebellion in a society that wants to dictate how and who we love.
Buy Love is Love here.