As I was packing to go home last night I was incredibly overwhelmed. I felt like I had finally kind-of in my own unique way gotten some sort of grasp on my life in this new city I had moved to, and now my schedule was being paused because I was going home for a week. This is not to say that I am not excited to see my family– I am very thankful and looking forward to seeing them in a short 3 hours. But the thing is, that doesn’t take away how hard it was for me to set aside all of the other things that are also important to me in my new life. Although these things are small, they add up. For example, I was stressed about my plants dying, my fish and snail not getting enough light, the laundry that I washed and dried but didn’t put away before I left, the random cups on the kitchen table, the clothes I threw around my room as I was packing but didn’t put back… and the list goes on. All of these loose ends really tugged at me as I was trying to fill up my duffle bag. I had a little breakdown and just sat with my feelings for a bit. It wasn’t pretty (and my allergies are so bad right now so you can imagine how messy I looked). Regardless, I am at the airport now and this morning was a lot better than last night was.
I am sharing what my experience was like because I know that in our own ways we all go through different waves of feelings when we go home for the holidays. Something in particular that I am realizing–which has been very hard for me to accept–is that as I have changed these past few years, so has my family; so has my hometown; so has the path behind my house and the way the flowers choose to grow back each year. The thing is, I am excited for my own change, but when other things change I have a harder time being okay with it because I am not in control of them. This is another reason why I struggle with going home. Kind of like how ignorance is bliss, not going home allows for me to keep this image of it in my head for how I want it to be. But then when I go back, it isn’t always how it was in my head. And naturally this can invoke a lot of emotions, possibly even some negative ones.
So what is the best way that I have found to address these pools of feelings? I haven’t figured it all out but what I can say is that first off, you have to feel them. Pushing them away and saving them for another day will turn a light drizzle into a thunderstorm. Feel these emotions as they come. I don’t think there is anything more dangerous than pretending not to care. This looks different for everyone, but I recommend literally sitting there and breathing through all that you’re thinking about. And if you’re up for it, tell someone you trust about what you’re feeling. I can be really strong on my own and put up so many walls but the second I get close to someone I trust, everything spills out (including the tears, and that’s okay). There is no shame in working through what you are feeling. Trying to understand it will help you understand yourself.
Another thing that I am realizing that can also help is actively making choices that I know will calm me down in the future. To this point, I packed the book that I am currently reading so that I could have it on the plane. I have been really wanting to make a good dent in this book but I haven’t made that much progress since this summer when I purchased it. I knew that reading on the plane and putting a good amount of time into the book would make me feel better, and also help calm me down as I physically got closer to home.
Lastly, I think it is helpful to tell the people you will be around for the next week that you are working through some things. You do not need to disclose all of your feelings to them, but letting them know that this isn’t particularly easy for you will allow for you to exist in that space knowing that you aren’t doing yourself a diservice (which could easily happen if you chose to hide how you felt and acted like everything was okay when it very clearly wasn’t). Just allowing yourself to be your true self and simply be as you are with your feelings is so important for your body and your headspace. Also, being open and honest about how you feel might just inspire someone else to be a little more vulnerable as well. How amazing would that be 🙂
I hope that you are able to feel all that you need to, and know that you are allowed to feel all that you do, even if it seems “extra” or “annoying” or “sensitive” or an “inconvenience.” (these some of my most favorite things people call emotions (that was sarcasm)).
If you want to share how your thanksgiving feels tend to go, feel free to comment below. Best of luck, I believe in your ability to navigate these changes <3