Let's face it… the holidays can be rough for many of us. For gay men, it can be especially cruel if you are excommunicated from your family because of your sexuality or simply are not on speaking terms because of it or a myriad of other issues that you may have with them,
For myself, the holidays have always been particularly rough as I lost my mother the day before Christmas over a decade ago (see picture above) , and the pain of her loss always hits home for me the most as no matter how hard I try to shake it, the realization that she isn't here for a day that is celebrated more than most can really be a big downer.
Being alone on the holidays doesn't always mean not talking to your family. It can also mean being single and not having a loved one to celebrate it with, being that guy at the bar with no one to talk to or not being invited to any holiday parties as you are seeing all your friends on social media going out and having a great time. Admit it: we've all been this guy at some point, and it sucks and as hard as it is to admit this, is a part of developing a thick skin as a gay man as often we are felt left out because we don't identify as the norm in society.
The next couple of weeks for many of us impose one if not more of these issues, so what are truly the best ways of getting through it and going into January 2nd feeling relieved, happy and even content that you got to the other side smiling, with delicious leftovers in the fridge?
Just a heads up, this isn't a self-help article. I don't claim to be a psychologist with any degree whatsoever, I just come from the gay hard knocks, otherwise known as living in and around New York City, and there are ways to not let these holiday demons get to you from what I've experienced over the past 10 plus years since my mother passed away.
For one, know your worth. Yes, it does sound cheesy, but it's pointless to get yourself down about a holiday that is passing and many of us don't see that there the emotional hill you are going on does in fact have an expiration date. If you truly are alone (in the physical sense), find someone that you love and trust and talk with them as much as possible. FaceTime, Skype, do what you have to do to understand that there is someone out there that cares about you. In the grand scheme of things, we all at least have one person out there who does care, and as tough as that can be to understand during the holidays, you have to search.
For those who are single in the terms of feeling alone, dear lord embrace it! Embrace that you aren't stuck going to your annoying partner's in-law's and feeling like you have to impress them similar to how Will had to impress Vince's mother on Thanksgiving during that Will & Grace episode. Enjoy being alone in this. Masturbate as much as you want, no one is there to stop you. Bring out your inner "ho, ho, ho" and have a hookup or two. Or, just do what we all used to do and go out and find a guy for a night, a date, or something more. There are still two weeks to get that Mistletoe if necessary.
For those of us who have friends but not family to go to, echo what I said earlier: reach out to them. They love you, and many of them understand what you are going through if they know you enough. Enjoy their company, go to a movie, go grab food, go grab a dude (consensual of course). The worst feeling is when you trap yourself alone in a dark room with a hard drink and some gay stereotype movie to cry over. If you do that, do it once, turn the lights on, play some happy music and get yourself out of that head space.
All of these things are what I have done to cheer myself up in a situation that honestly still affects me to this day. But, I am fully aware of how good I have it in terms of the friends and family who does love me, and each and every one of you can find that in yourself regardless of how plentiful your surroundings are. Your holidays don't have to have a "happy" in front of it, but they can at least have the words "contentment" splashed in as a replacement. If you are able to find that, then it can actually be a happy holiday for you indeed.