Back in 2015 I decided to spend Christmas alone, for the first time ever. I did a blog post about my experience at the time, but it got deleted through all the drama I had with all my blog content being destroyed by Go Daddy. I remember getting a lot of feedback on how much the post helped and resonated with some of you. Thankfully, I managed to get the post back through me having saved a copy of it in my laptop notes, and it’s images on my hard drive. (Thank you Jesus! Won’t He do it! Haha!)
So I’m reposting this blog post today! I know it’s only July and far too early to even be thinking about anything to do with Christmas right now, but hopefully the essence of this post may still resonate…
I may need to resurrect this hair style… I’m kinda feeling it looking at these throwback pics, haha!
Let me start off by stating that this post is a very different type of blog post from what most of my regular readers are used to; however, I hope it will be a good read all the same. A quick heads-up; I’m actually planning to do more posts like this one in 2016, as I think it’ll be a good way for me to get some things off my chest and share my thoughts about other stuff outside of cheap and cheerful fashion and looking good for less. And I guess it will allow you to get to know me a bit better as well.
So what’s this blog post all about then?
Those of you who follow me on SnapChat (thisisamina) or Twitter would’ve been aware of my decision to spend Christmas alone this year (2015). As in, completely alone. Away from family, friends, social media, and even my 12-year-old daughter. Why?
Well, for the past few weeks or perhaps a couple of months, I’ve been hugely desperate for a quick getaway and some time to myself as life had been getting super hectic to say the least. Although the things happening in my life were all amazing things and positive moves in the direction of my goals and bigger life vision, I was beginning to feel a little swapped and overwhelmed by it all. I guess you could say I was starting to loose myself in the midst of finding my purpose and following my passion. I became stuck in a ‘going-with-the-flow’ gear and never really had time to just stop. Pause… and think.
I’d initially spoken to my mum and siblings and stressed to them that I wanted us to go away for Christmas this year, but it was looking unlikely as mum just couldn’t get the time she needed off work. So it was either continue to wallow in this desperation of wanting to be alone until the next time I could get time off work and everything else I do, or use the Christmas break to finally get away… and yes, I ended up doing the latter, and I was super excited about it!
I broke the news to my family and hoped they wouldn’t miss me too much at the Christmas dinner table, and my daughter was already planning to spend Christmas with her Dad and his side of the family so I knew she would be fine and have a blast.
All I needed now was somewhere to disappear to.
With every fibre of my being totally dedicated to being cheap and cheerful, I definitely didn’t want to spend too much on this getaway and I didn’t want to travel too far, but also didn’t want to just be at home and alone either. I did a few searches on Groupon for quick bargain getaway deals but none of them seemed to be redeemable over the Christmas period and they were mostly offers for 2 people or couples (and y’all know my ass is single as hell)!
Just when I was about to give up on the idea of this getaway happening anytime soon, I suddenly thought about the Hoxton Hotel…
The lovely people at the Hoxton Hotel have allowed me to use their rooms in the past for a few hours, free of charge, for filming YouTube videos, so I thought maybe they could provide me with a good overnight stay deal so I could carry out my personal experimental Christmas escape. I called them up and thankfully they didn’t fail to disappoint! I managed to get one night free and my second night was hugely discounted at just £50. Yep! Two nights stay at the lush Hoxton Hotel in super trendy Shoreditch for just £50! Perfect! #cheapandcheerful
I packed my suitcase and was off! Checked in early afternoon on Christmas Eve, and made myself at home!
It was actually happening. Finally! Some peace and quiet. Away from everything and everyone. Just me. Alone.
That night, after having a lovely hot shower, I got into my PJs, caught up on some online TV, literally danced around my hotel room to some mellow music, did some mandatory social media posts, and sent out my ‘Merry Christmas in advance’ broadcast messages on whatsapp. I then settled down in my huge soft double bed… and prayed.
The following day, Christmas morning, all I could hear was silence.
I sent a quick Merry Christmas message to my daughter and switched off my phone.
From here on out, it was going to be all about me and Jesus.
You see, I’m a believer, a woman of faith, a Christian. And the main part of my longing to be alone was my hunger for God. My desire to seek Him, to hear from Him, and to talk to Him. I had been feeling so distant from Him in all my busyness and preoccupation with life, that I just needed to stop. Pause… think… and figure out where along the road I had left God behind.
It’s not that I hadn’t been praying all these weeks and months, no, I prayed every single day. Neither did I think God had forsaken me, no. His promise to me is that He will never leave me nor forsake me (Matthew 28:19), and I believe that so much. I just knew deep down that I was just going with the flow without really being connected to Him. The connection had dwindled. And I needed to restore it. Kind of like when you need to have a really good catch-up with a good friend that you haven’t really seen much of in a while, even though you may have shared a few words via text here and there, you just really need to see them properly. For me, without God, everything else is meaningless.
So I prayed, I read His word, I worshiped, and I listened…
I found that I was able to to really communicate my thoughts and feelings to God in prayer about various things going on in my life, as opposed to just saying the same repetitive daily prayer I had gotten used to saying. Talking to God without really talking. For someone who finds it quite difficult to communicate how I feel in words to anyone, this was a big deal for me, and it was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I had given it all to God. Nothing more to weigh me down or keep to myself. I didn’t need to carry it all anymore. I could finally exhale.
In the silence I was able to really think about where I was at this point in my life and where I was going, as yet another year was closing and a new one was about to begin. I thought about my goals for the new year, I wrote them down, and I prayed.
I also thought about something that I had never really thought about before, well not seriously anyway; and that was the qualities that I truly desired in a life partner. Yes! I thought about it, I wrote them down, and for the first time, I thoroughly prayed about it. As much as I go on about being single and celibate for 10 years and not ever going on a date, or not really liking anyone, or being really picky, or having a fear of being in a relationship for all those years, this was one area of my life that I hadn’t fully given to God and never really prayed about. But that day, Christmas day, I did. All I’m saying is, don’t be surprised if I announce that I’m engaged by the end of 2016! Haha!
It didn’t feel like Christmas.
How could it? I was alone, in a hotel room, with no Turkey, no loud family members, no presents being opened, and no big belly from over-eating. I hardly ate anything to be honest. My Christmas dinner was a double chocolate muffin that I had brought along with me to the hotel as part of my feast of snacks. But it was okay. I was okay. I was finally okay.
This was what I truly needed.
This is what a lot of us need every now and then. Whether you’re a spiritual person or not. Some times we just need to be alone.
Now if you feel you are experiencing depression or really bad negative thoughts, I probably wouldn’t recommend you being alone for such a long period of time, especially during the Christmas period. I suggest that you definitely seek counsel and speak to someone if you find those negative thoughts and feelings are overbearing. But for those who may be feeling overwhelmed by the busyness of day-to-day life, being alone and having some time to just relax, reflect and process your thoughts may do you a lot of good.
I chose to have this time away over Christmas. To be honest I wasn’t really into the whole Christmas hype this year at all, so Christmas was going to just be another day like any other for me anyway, with just some added extras. But whenever it is that you decide to have a quick getaway, just do it. The Hoxton Hotel is highly recommended, of course, but wherever you decided to go, make sure its somewhere that you can truly experience some level of silence and be at peace; and perhaps somewhere to just stop… think… and pray.
I am so persuaded that you’ll return feeling like the sky is the limit; and with God anything is possible.