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Cougars & Mustangs



Not alone? You. You’re not alone. 

“Of course I’m not alone, it’s the holidays, I’m surrounded by family and friends.” 

Then why is your smile so fake? 

“Because … because they are. Because I’ve never felt this discontent. Because everyone is expected to be on their best behavior, and for me that means hiding who I really am. Everything is so fake!” 


You’re not fake. You’re only pretending to be fake. And you’re not alone. You. Over there. You’re not alone either. 

“Says you! I came out to my family members and they cast me into the cold. My father has disowned me. I am alone forever!” 

You are never alone. There will always be hope. There will always be a chance. Always. Someone cares. I care. 

It surprises some people to know that the holidays are actually one of the highest points of stress in the entire year. But the truth of the matter is that family is what you make of it, and as a result, is not always a functional working organ. Things are not always happy when you try and force that happiness. So for Christmas this year, or whatever it is you celebrate, give yourself the best gift you can, and do what it takes to survive the emotions you may be faced with. In the end, being your own friend isn’t a pity; it’s a service that a mind needs to get that much closer to stable ground. Love yourself, because while I can’t promise that others will love you too, you’re the one you have to go to bed with. 

This is my way of wrapping up the year that I finally stopped lying, by promising all those who feel as I did before that there is still hope. There will always be hope. I’ll let you in on the secret behind my smile. Some people believe that the world is dark and cruel, corrupted and asinine. Others believe that that existence itself is too precious a gift, and good will always triumph. The strange truth is that both may be true. This Earth is far gone, but not too far gone, and taking in every moment to appreciate—and even spread to others—what beauty still lies around us is the noblest cause of all. 

Take it from a constant survivor … somehow, in some way: You. Are. Not. Alone. 

Contributor Chris White-Sanborn thanks New Times for another year of writing Cougars and Mustangs, even now that she’s a she. Send her your collegiate news via [email protected]

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