Merry Christmas Eve, y’all! This year, Kyle and I decided to do things a little differently and stay home. Last year’s holiday itinerary was a doozy, so to avoid feeling like we needed another vacation after getting back from vacation, we wanted to have a quiet Christmas in Columbia with Nala and Nellie. I’m not sure we’ll do it again, but it’s been really nice getting to create our own traditions with the pups. Neither of them know what’s going on, but they know there’s a big plant with lights on it in our living room and two sock-shaped bags of toys and treats hanging on the mantle. We can’t say for sure, but they seem to be fans of both.
Anyways, since I don’t have all of your addresses, Nala and I wanted to hop on real quick and say Merry Christmas from our furry family to yours! This year has truly been incredible, and I couldn’t do what I do without your support. So, thank you from the bottom of our hearts– and have a wonderful holiday with your family and loved ones!
Also, I just reread this post I wrote about surviving the holidays in eating disorder recovery, and it all still feels too real. If you are going through a tough time, remember that social media is a highlight reel. It captures only the happiest, staged, Hallmark-worthy moments of others. It doesn’t show the screaming children, mountains of debt, or family tension at home, and it certainly doesn’t show the agony of loneliness, depression, or mental illness.
Something my counselor taught me a couple years ago was that whenever you find yourself comparing your life to the lives of others, it’s helpful to return to the present moment and identify something you’re grateful for. Maybe it’s the roof over your head or the fact that you still have both your parents. Maybe it’s the first Christmas in a while that you and your siblings have all been together. Find ways to appreciate it. Even if it takes you a couple minutes to think of something, interrupt your holiday anxiety with gratitude. Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family who love you for help. Because, no matter what you think in the present moment, you ARE loved. Heck, Nala definitely loves you, and she may not even have met you yet!
Merry Christmas, y’all!
Photography by Catherine Rhodes.