all is calm, all is bright

“Remember hate is always foolish and love is always wise…Laugh hard, run fast, be kind.” ~ The Doctor, Christmas special 2017IMG_0228

Most years in Christmases past once I got into middle school, I looked forward to but also dreaded the holiday. The couple of weeks out of school were filled with freedom to to be sure…and were some of the most anxiety filled.

Thoughts like, “Will I have gotten or made gifts that won’t leave everyone disappointed in me?” were often running through my head. Often, I would end up feeling the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s was a time of penance and repentance for supposed wrongs toward my family (the word here meaning my parents).

I didn’t acknowledge quite how bad it was until I realized last year that was probably why I chose to come out around that time. There was some intense shame that came from it even though I knew I was simply being honest about who I was.

Let me tell you, this year was the most peaceful Christmas since before middle school.  Because I didn’t see my parents and I spent Christmas Eve and the days leading up to it with my chosen family–my church and my fiance. This year I chose my family and I chose to experience joy, hope, peace, and love.

Saturday before Christmas Eve was spent running trails–being in the middle of the woods with good people and good conversations. And also giving gifts to my sister for family members who think I’m an abomination. Not seeing them was more sad that they’re choosing “truth” over loving their child. I feel like I chose kindness but also self-care.

Christmas Eve was spent at church that morning to hear my pastor echo many things I’ve felt this Advent season–an intense longing for things to be made right and for peace. The candlelight evening service was one of my favorites. There’s something wonderful and breathtakingly beautiful about singing Silent Night acapella surrounded by people who genuinely love you.

Christmas Day I woke up next to the person I’m going to marry and we spent the day cooking and sharing meals together, resting on the couch watching Netflix, and eventually left the house to watch a movie. Overall, it was just calm and the only expectation was to be together.

2017 seems to be coming to a close with more joy than I could have ever dreamed possible, more hope than I had imagined, more peace than I’ve ever experienced, and more love than I ever thought I could contain. The world is a much better place with love and kindness in it. Here’s to fighting for that love in 2018 and beyond.

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