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  • Writer's pictureDr. Speshal Walker Gautier a.k.a. Dr. Spesh

Sis, It's cuffin' season.

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

“The earliest recorded print uses of cuffing season date from college newspapers in 2011, with cuff preceding that as a verb with origins in African-American vernacular as something close in meaning to hook up.”

I have to admit, I planned to write a different letter this week. However, that chill in the air as I sat on the deck with my morning coffee informed me that cuffin' season is upon us. The cooler months and shorter days lead to more indoor time even for those of us who’ve been finding ways to safely get out during COVID. It’s that time of the year where many want to snuggle up with a cozy blanket, someone special, and some binge-worthy TV. So let’s talk about taking care of yourself during this season, Sis.

If you are single and looking for love, it is completely normal that certain times of the year can make this desire more palpable. It makes perfect sense that cuffin' season not only maps onto the change in weather but also onto the holiday season. The season can heighten feelings of loneliness and increase pressure to be in a relationship as you RSVP gatherings with family and/or friends. Just know that your feelings are valid. Acknowledge them and allow these feelings to be what they are without judging yourself for having them. While uncomfortable, the nice thing about confronting and learning to tolerate difficult feelings is that you don’t have to be ruled by them. In other words, how you feel does not have to dictate what you do.

Now about the doing part… In my previous letters, I have talked about agency and choosing for yourself. Let’s approach cuffin' season with that same energy. You get to decide if you’re cuffin', who you’re cuffing, and what that looks like for you. Think about it as consensual cuffing. Rather than going into the season as a passive participant, take a proactive approach. There is nothing wrong with knowingly deciding to hibernate with someone with no strings attached if that’s what you want. However, if you are looking for a more serious relationship, then clarifying for yourself and your prospective “cuffee” is important. Don’t take the wait and see approach. Spending the season with someone who is ultimately not on the same page as you is a set up for disappointment. Have a conversation, see where they stand, then decide whether this is a person you choose to invest your time and energy with this season. If it turns out that they aren’t, remember that you are clearing the path for someone who wants the same thing as you. Yes, that means tolerating those difficult feelings in the interim. Let go of that emotional armor. Cry it out to those cheesy holiday movies or songs like “What do the Lonely Do at Christmas” if needed. Call up the people who help you feel loved and connected, not the ones who leave you feeling judged. Give yourself space to feel and be cared for. Do what you need to do take care of yourself this cuffing season, Sis.

*Dr. Spesh is an Atlanta based Clinical Psychologist, blogger, and diversity consultant.*

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