Holiday Season Confessions From A Tango Dancing Geek Psychotherapist

For the past 6 years, I have spent the holidays alone.* Thanksgiving. Christmas. Hanukkah. Halloween. All of it. Solitude City. Introvert Overkill.

(photo courtesy of Sherise, Unsplash)

I am guessing you are surprised. Here I am. Popular blogger to the gifted. Geek therapist extraordinaire. Surely, there are people clamoring to invite me to their celebrations. Family? Children? Inlaws? Outlaws? Boyfriend? Girlfriends? Acupuncturist?

Well, as many of you already know, I am childfree. And single. Extended family members live in other cities. Girlfriends have their various commitments with children, grandchildren, inlaws, and outlaws. Or they live in Colorado. (That would be Tina.) And my acupuncturist, well, she has good boundaries.

Of course, now that we have a pandemic, more of you may be solitary, too. But there was no Corona in 2014. 2015. 2016. 2017. 2018. 2019.

I am telling you this because I have heard how lonely many of you are. And, if you are alone (even if you are with people, I might add) on days when most everyone in the world says you ought to be HAPPY and FULL OF HOLIDAY CHEER, I am here to say, I get you. I am with you.

And, yet, it could be worse.

You could have to listen to your smelly drunk Uncle Craig while he tells you all about his latest hunting expeditions. You might be expected to explain to your grandmother yet again why you never went to Harvard and why you still haven’t cut or straightened your hair. You might be appalled at all of the wasted gift wrap and plastic that your nieces and nephews carelessly throw hither and yon. You could be forced to eat your cousin Sue’s orange carrot marshmallow jello salad. And let us not even mention the potential political perturbations.

Of course, this year, it will all likely take place with your buddy Zoom. (Cousin Sue sent her jello salad via UPS.) But still.

Seriously, though. This year, you may be struggling with the corona virus or you may have lost someone to the illness. You may have been laid off from your job. You may be teaching your kids at home. If there is trauma in your past, the restrictions and fears that come with the virus may be triggering your PTSD symptoms or you may have had to limit family interactions because of past abuse. Being the rainforest-minded soul that you are, you may be upset about the mythology around Thanksgiving and anxious over the consumer culture of the Christmas season. You may be thinking about the climate crisis and wondering if the world is about to implode.

It is is a tough time to be living in Solitude City. (even harder if you are an extravert)

Which brings me to another confession. Even though I cherish my status as the eccentric yet accomplished single auntie and the blogging tango dancing geek psychotherapist, even though I deeply value and need my alone time, there is a part of me who would not mind a holiday season with a little less introvert overkill. More specifically, since I am not getting any younger, as you may know, I would like a life, a last act you might say, with a (male) partner, a mate, a soul’s companion.

Gulp.

This is hard for me to admit. I want to be your role model for independent, successful, fulfilled, childfree, blogging, single womanhood. I do not want to disappoint you, my lovelies.

But we are all about authenticity here, right? So, this is me. Being me.

And you know, of course, I am not idealizing this so-called partner, mate, soul’s companion. I am a psychotherapist, after all. I know a thing or two about partnerships. I have even had a couple.

I am just confessing.

And, um, accepting applications.

_________________________________________

To my bloggEEs: How are you doing with the holiday season? The pandemic? How do you feel about being single? Partnered? What would you like to confess? Your comments add so much! Thank you for being here. If you didn’t watch this short video yet, it is a beautiful story about the loneliness due to the pandemic and how we are all connected.

*( Full disclosure: I will not usually be totally solitary. I started a tradition where I meet with my therapy clients who are also alone on the holiday. We have therapy with a side of pumpkin pie.)


Related Posts

Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label “gifted” is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They’re also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I’ve been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

47 responses to “Holiday Season Confessions From A Tango Dancing Geek Psychotherapist”

Leave a Comment


  1. Jade Rivera Avatar
    Jade Rivera

    THE ENDING

    I love you! You are so brilliant and clever! ᐧ


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Loving you back, Jade. <3


  2. Lauramary Avatar
    Lauramary

    I do so admire your courage to say what you feel and no doubt feel what you say. I certainly get it and feel it as I read it Paula. Sending you much love from the UK. Lauramary xx


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you Lauramary in the UK! Sending love back to you. <3


  3. Alena Avatar
    Alena

    Thank you, Paula for letting yourself be seen by me and many others. I have been ‘celebrating’ all the mentioned holidays on my own, as far as I can remember. With an occasional fiasco of celebrating it with a crowd. I feel you. You are so beautiful. Although you downplay your rainforest mind in one of your podcasts, if you ask me, you have one of a green rainforest mind. And if you read this article to yourself, you will see that too. I’m trying to find the right words to reach you through the screen of your computer, miles and miles away. On another continent. What comes to mind at this moment is a spontaneous get together through Zoom during the holiday season with all the souls that would love to come together and share their luscious minds with each other. Just like Rumi puts it:

    “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair.
    Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come.”

    My invitation to you all. Including you, Paula. And including your rainforest hair ❤


    1. River Aaland Avatar
      River Aaland

      YES! I love this, Alena! (And I’m obsessed with Paula’s magnificent hair, glad to meet another fan.)
      This Rumi quote is so beautiful, a tender and joyful invitation. If nowhere else, let us lift each other up here, in loving celebration of life and hope and rainforests everywhere. 💚


      1. Alena Avatar
        Alena

        I’m crying, River (For the second time today). You touched me with your enthusiasm <3 We're gonna do it! This blog post found us just on time to gather together for the holidays. Let's await the responses of others and make a plan. The first step would be to be able to contact each other. Can we connect through e-mail or Instagram?

        I am sending you all a warm hug from Amsterdam.

        PS the way Paula confesses her love to her hair in one of her YouTube videos is worth a blog post of its own <3


        1. River Aaland Avatar
          River Aaland

          Yayyy! Hugs back! You can email me using my full name (above) without spaces, at gmail. Woohoo! 😍


    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So sweet, Alena. Thank you. Maybe you and River can dream something up…


  4. Pecheoiseau Avatar
    Pecheoiseau

    I have had some fab solo holidays, including many birthdays. But lately (pre-COVID), I find myself alone, but not lonely (much), and wonder how it came to this. It’s a combination of needing boundaries with certain family, family is aging and/or not close-knit, being so independent that people fail to worry about me (oh I”m sure she’s at so-and-so’s house), not being able to attend friends’ gatherings because of boundaries with their other friends, avoiding people I love one-on-one but who bring drama when in groups, not taking the advice that I should “just put myself out there more” (bleah), being confused about wanting tradition (unlike FOO, who kindof ruined all that) or not, “overthinking” traditions/ritual/symbolism/gift-giving/obligations to the point of paralysis and/or rejecting it all, changng my mind (“No. Actually this year, I do like Christmas.”), not wanting to impose, crafting/decor/potluck underachiever anxiety, and simply wanting to move to an off-grid cabin in Maine so I can avoid the whole thing.

    I probably forgot a couple.

    I will read with interest about your quest for companionship as I’m there with you!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      What a great list, Pecheoiseau. Many here will relate. Thanks!


  5. River Aaland Avatar
    River Aaland

    I FEEL this in my soul.
    I don’t know how the heck to find a Paula-worthy man, but let’s crowdsource this guy…he’s bound to be magical.
    Grateful for the connection of therapy and this blog and the power of vulnerability.


    1. Alena Avatar
      Alena

      You generate some great ideas XD


    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Crowdsource? Yeah! 🙂


  6. ellabirt Avatar
    ellabirt

    I have spent all of my adult life celebrating holidays alone, with the exception of a handful of holidays spent with other people’s families. While the diversity of food, drink, and personalities were all interesting in their own ways, the exhaustion that followed (or my desire to self-medicate) was incredibly draining.

    I can whole-heartedly say the holidays are best spent with that one person who enjoys your company over anyone else and vice versa. And for me, the dogs are absolutely necessary too. They wear doggie pajamas with little elves printed on them.

    The intention is set! A companion for Paula is on the way! Whomever this dapper yet down-to-earth chap may be, he will be awed by your timeless beauty, wit, warmth, and wonder.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh, thank you, ellabirt. And I totally get the experience of preferring to be alone versus with people who are draining.


  7. litebeing Avatar
    litebeing

    Thank you for such a vulnerable share Paula. Even eccentric ( laid off due to COVID) therapist types like me feel like no one else is living my reality, when I ought to know better!

    i have some regrets right now about my inability to create my very own nuclear ( but peaceful) family but realize every choice got me here and perhaps this is where I belong for now. I have often tended to idealize the holidays when in reality many of the family gatherings I attended were awful. As an INFJ I crave alone time, but I am close to my limits with this seemingly never ending
    pandemic.

    I hope you manifest all your desires and I thank you for this post that feels like a gift I am happy to receive. It fits perfectly and the color is just right <3


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So happy to bring you this gift, litebeing. <3 I am an INFJ, too.


      1. litebeing Avatar
        litebeing

        Thanks Paula. Don’t INFJs rock? I like that we are rare. I tend to be categorized with very few in the population. very rainforest- mind, I imagine?


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          I suspect there are many INFJs in the RFM population!


  8. Gail Post Avatar
    Gail Post

    This is just lovely, Paula. And spot on. There is so much hype about the Holidays, and now just about everyone is experiencing some isolation and disappointment – at least all of us who do not think precautions are part or a hoax. Thanks for sharing your longings, and wish you all the best going forward.


    1. Sara Cash Avatar
      Sara Cash

      Is this Dr. Gail Post? I used some quotes from you for college papers on giftedness and isolation. You say good stuff too!


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Yes! This is THE Dr. Gail Post. She is a great resource for parents of gifted kids and families located in PA. This is her website: https://giftedchallenges.blogspot.com


    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Gail. Always good to hear from you.


  9. dmstauber Avatar
    dmstauber

    I feel seen! I am not alone, I will be celebrating with my wonderful sweetheart, but we are alone together and I am an extrovert and I am really really missing people. I’m also realizing that I’ve made myself so busy with work that I haven’t done some of the connecting I could do. Virtual gatherings aren’t the same but they do help. So I’m making an intention to do more reaching out in ways that I can instead of feeling sorry for myself!

    Paula, I honor you for your courage.

    Love love


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, dmstauber. Reach out to those friends. Virtual gatherings can be lovely.


  10. Sara Cash Avatar
    Sara Cash

    Me too, Paula! Me too…


  11. movedtosunshine Avatar
    movedtosunshine

    YES! You are an inspiration! And, you made me laugh out loud. Thank you for being you!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      You are welcome, movedtosunshine. 🙂


  12. Ju Avatar
    Ju

    Well, thank you a ton for the link to the beautiful video… that almost had me crying right in front of my computer while u should be working instead. I wish you all a very sweet and warm holiday anyway <3


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Ju. Glad you felt the video!


  13. reluctantarchaeologist Avatar
    reluctantarchaeologist

    Paula, all I can say is ‘ditto’. So completely ditto.
    I have been resolutely single and introverted for so long that it’s a bit difficult to now admit that I, too, would like a partner. Urgh. Perhaps we should be careful what we wish for. We may yet end up listening to our partner’s Uncle Craig and ducking his grandma.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I know. It’s true. We can be open to partnership and also selective! No drunk Uncle Craigs!


  14. Faye Wilson Avatar
    Faye Wilson

    This was so on point. Just last night I explained to a good friend that being engaged with people in a variety of ways did not/does not ever make me the belle of the ball. And I feel lonely too many times after I have helped, supported, listened to – been with people. Just am. I too am looking for a male partner – and I have screaming bouts with God about the lack of available, supportive men for brilliant, caring, women … after I have screamed about things allowed to happen in the world. Thanks for honesty and clarity.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for sharing, Faye.


  15. Leah K Walsh Avatar
    Leah K Walsh

    Yes to all of this! And another INFJ in the house! Thank you, Paula, for naming so much…and allowing us all to be together in the journey. Love the crowdsourcing idea!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I love that we are all together here. Thank you for joining the club, Leah.


  16. Someti Avatar
    Someti

    Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah… And your birthday too I guess. Happy (belated) birthday by the way, Paula.

    I am sending hugs, love, appreciation, and 💐 💐 and <3 ❤ all the way from Spain to you all that feel this, and specially to Paula. I know the way you feel now. I know what you're talking about. And I know that you're aware that I know it.

    And thanks to reluctantarchaeologist, Alena and all of you for sharing your thoughts too.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sending love back to you, Someti. (actually, for my birthday, I heard from my friends and family…) <3


      1. Someti Avatar
        Someti

        It’s so nice to hear that ^_^


  17. Gabi Avatar
    Gabi

    I haven’t been in the partner market for sooo long, but I have heard people have had some success with the online matching services..


  18. Jack Martinez Avatar
    Jack Martinez

    Have a good holidays season. Life begins a new cycle of rebirth every solstice.. And so do we all.


  19. Swankie Avatar
    Swankie

    Adored this so much! Love the way you write, you’re a more sophisticated, less cursey and better version of how I write!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Swankie. I guess I will now have to check out your blog! 🙂


  20. j'adore champagne Avatar
    j'adore champagne

    Thank you for your honesty. I, for one, am content to holiday mostly alone. As a recovery for having to work retail ( stop press, Bullseye and I are probably ending our relationship 1 January as even I, flexible and résiliant, can no longer stomach the noise, lighting, crass consumerism and degrading corporate culture of Target). I crave quiet and solitude to a point. I’m an introvert, but I’m beginning to feel flirty and the only possible reason I’ve survived the pandemic is that I have absolutely nobody to snog.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      🙂


  21. You Agree, You Are Gifted — Now What? | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] If you are feeling anxious about the upcoming holiday season, here and here are my favorite posts. Read them and know you are not […]

%d bloggers like this: