• Alyssa Piperis

Examining Life & Love During the Holidays

So Long, Holiday Season

Welllll, all the Christmas festivities are coming to an end. I head back to Los Angeles from New York (my home state) in three days, and I’m pretty antsy to get back. It’s always nice to visit “home” for the holidays, but my life just isn’t in New York anymore. People and places I love are, but I’ve created a life for myself 3,000 miles away. I can’t help but miss my bed and different groups of friends and local grocery stores and parks and secret “me time” spots. I get especially antsy to get back to L.A. during my wintertime visit to New York (I usually visit twice a year— once in the winter and once in the summer), because I let myself eat as much as humanly possibly during all the Christmas festivities, knowing my visit is a rare vacation and the new year will set me right back on track (I already cannot wait to get my butt to my local Trader Joe’s for all my healthy shmealthy goodies when I get back!).

Real Life vs. “What if” Life

I walk this interesting line of feeling so connected to New York, where I grew up, and all my friends and family that live in and around here but so disconnected from this state that I left before I was an actual adult and all my friends that have lives in this place I’m rarely in. When my friends show me around their beautiful work buildings in New York City, I’m reminded of this life I could have had if I followed the “normal” path. I could have been on the road to being this badass professional in an office, having lunch meetings with clients and going on weeknight dates with men in business suits (I mean, damn, I love me a man in a suit, but I’m so not into “business men” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). There’s this semi-longing I feel for this “could be” life that I turned down. I don’t want that life, but it’s intriguing to me sometimes, even though I love the life I’ve created for myself in Los Angeles. Then again, I feel an indescribable longing for countless career paths and ways of life. That’s probably part of why I chose to pursue acting and why I want to travel so badly. I want to experience as much as I possibly can in this life.

Heightened Holiday Emotions & The Seasons of Our Lives

And then there’s just the inherent bittersweetness of cold weather months and the holiday season in general. The end of fall to beginning of winter is always such a sentimental time. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, in high spirits or low, your emotions are usually heightened. At this time last year, I was newly out of a relationship, dealing with the fresh wound of that, and this year I’m enjoying my singleness and am pretty dang happy with the people I’ve been surrounding myself with recently. But I can’t help but feel twinges of longing. That’s just how it goes, and that is A-okay.

I’m really good at checking in with myself, treating myself like my own girlfriend (yo, I’m a kickass significant other, lemme tell ya), and getting my mind right. It’s as simple as this: Our lives are made up of seasons, and seasons change. One season might be a dream, and the next might be absolute shit. In one season we might be falling head over heels for someone, and in another we’re falling into our bed in tears, mourning the end of a relationship. In one season we’re one half of a “relationship goals” couple that friends and strangers on Instagram are envious of, and in another, we’re craving someone to run around the mall like an excited little psycho for.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen so many individuals, as well as cute-looking couples, running around the mall on the hunt for the perfect gifts for their significant others, and it makes my heart happy. Who knows how long any of these couples will last, but I’m excited for people who are excited about their life and romantic state. There have been times when I was that person people were looking at with envy or excitement because of the relationship I was in. Now it’s me feeling warm feelings watching others.

There’s room for all of us. There’s happiness and sadness for all of us. That’s unchanging.

I’ve found myself thinking, “This is their time, not mine.” And while there’s truth in that, I could also say the politest of “fuck yous” to that sentiment. Sure, maybe this is other people’s time for two-way love, but who’s to say it isn’t my time for self-love? It’s always time for that. It should always be time for that for everyone. This is my time to be both selfish and selfless— to grow as a person, lift myself up, and give of myself and my time to help others in their times of struggle and hardship. I don’t need a boyfriend to be happy and proactive, but I look forward to having one to add an exciting new element to my life— a life that’s already filled with happiness and productivity. Just pile all the good stuff on top of each other, ya know? Bam, bam!

Staying Present & Looking to the Future

As I sat around different tables of people on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I watched couples, new and old. In my mind, I took note of the interactions between them, as I always do— the amounts of neediness and disconnection, as well as the amounts of physical affection, support, love, and teamwork. I also watched the single people. I listened to stories from recent days and olden days, and I participated in conversations. We reminisced about the past. We shared family gossip. I heard interesting takes on times before I was born. Although I felt comfortable in my singleness, I thought to myself things like…

Who will feel at home with me and my family?

Who will I feel at home with?

Who will I feel comforted by in the big and little moments; in the large crowds and the long silences?

Who will be able to walk around and mingle with my massive family and feel comfortable as part of the group, not attached to my hip?

Who will I be able to feel as comfortable and at ease sitting next to as I do when I'm just a single person sitting at a table with my extended family?

One day I’ll know who I want next to me for all this.

But for now, I can take care of myself just fine. Of course, it's okay to ask for help and to have desires, but it's also important to know how to take care of yourself and show yourself the kind of love you expect from others.

Loss & Hope

On Christmas Day, surrounded by a small group of my dad's side of the family and having the above thoughts, it hit me, as it does sometimes, that whoever I end up with, or just whoever I date next (assuming it isn’t someone I already know), won't get to meet all my grandparents, as three of them have already passed. My forever person and/or next boyfriend might not even get to meet the last remaining grandparent I have, depending on when I’m in a serious relationship next. There’s this deep bittersweetness in that. This brings me back to something my great aunt on my other side of the family said a few nights ago when I was out to dinner with her, her husband, my mom, and my brother. We were recalling fond memories of my grandma, Annie, who recently passed, and my great aunt, Shirley (my grandma Annie’s sister), said, “I hope there’s dancing in Heaven.” I immediately said, “There has to be.” And then she said, “Do you think we’ll all meet again?” There was a silence followed by some quiet chatter that got lost in the air. But I thought to myself: I sure do hope so.

And with that, I sure do hope that you and I and everyone get more seasons of highs than lows. So long to this holiday season, and so long to my holiday ramblings... :)

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