I Am My Own Family.  By Evangeline Villa

I Am My Own Family. By Evangeline Villa

. 3 min read

In a world where being alone is shunned upon—what if I’m truly all I ever needed?

I am happily partnered. We have a dog and a nice house and, even though we don’t have children, we consider ourselves family. My parents are still living, and they reside in the house I grew up in, hundreds of miles from where I live now.

Growing up, a lot of internal analysis went into defining my personality. I was popular and social in school, but loved my own space, and craved my alone time. No matter what it was—going to the movies, shopping, grabbing a bite to eat—I preferred to do it alone. My mother didn’t like this and would often chide me for doing things by myself, still holding onto the belief that if you didn’t have a real “date” with a boy on the weekend, then there was something wrong with you.

Looking back, I see how this kind of programming caused constant distress throughout my 20s and 30s. I held onto boyfriends that were flat out wrong for me, and several complained that I was too “independent” for them. In one case, my boyfriend was pressuring me to move in with him, and as I sat down on the floor of my NYC studio apartment with a close friend packing, she remarked, gently, on how she thought it was a bad idea. (It was.) “Every time you’re alone in this place, you’re always so happy,” she told me, cautiously. “Do you know how much you love being alone?” I brushed it off at the time. For some reason, it was difficult to hear.

To this day, one of the happiest days I can recall from my 30s is when that relationship ended, and I chose to spend Thanksgiving alone. I spent the day roaming empty city streets looking in shop windows filled with beautiful things. I bought two hotdogs from a local vendor and, for me, they were better than the most succulent turkey with gravy. It was a perfect day.

I woke up one day recently with the astounding realization that I am enough. I was preparing to head back to visit my parents with my boyfriend, understanding that this wouldn’t be the situation forever.

Because the holidays were approaching, I felt the pull to “do the right thing” and make every attempt to spend the holidays with family. However, for someone like me, holidays are definitely not “the most wonderful” time of the year. And maybe this is the key to unlocking the secret of my stark independence. Holidays have always been, at best, the most stressful experience. When you come from a family that’s so deeply fractured, holidays bring out the worst in everyone. As a child, this behavior was amplified by the need to bring cheer and joy to the season. Let’s just say, there was none of that whatsoever in my house.

So, what does that mean for me now?

Some get older and their edges soften. In my case, I’ve found my boundaries need to be stronger than ever. It’s true, we are that much more needed in midlife. I haven’t deserted anyone; I have been a good soldier my whole life. But now, it’s my time to be sure I preserve my heart, soul and sanity as best as I can. That is my bottom line.

Moreover, I’m completely convinced now more than ever, I’m all I need. This statement isn’t meant to discount the great love and friends I have around me, but I know that my foundation and true self are strong enough that I will be okay no matter what.

So, this holiday season, there won’t be any triggering decorations in my house. I and my little family will spend the holidays honoring the peaceful household we’ve worked so hard to build. Our holiday traditions are made up of whatever makes us feel safe and warm, inside and out. This isn’t for everyone—it isn’t meant to be. But it’s perfect for me. This is who I am. When things change, and they will, I will be okay. I have everything I need.

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend!  And I'd love to have you join us on instagram, facebook & twitter.



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