And so we find ourselves in the midst of the Festive Season once again. Even when well, I don’t especially like Christmas. I hate the hype, the mass consumerism, the expectation and pressure on people to compete on so many levels: decorations (inside and out), ensuring kids don’t feel ‘left out’ at school because they didn’t get the latest toy or gadget. By the way, since when did children receive iPads from ‘Father Christmas’? I recall being content with a board game, or some Lego.
But I find it much harder to cope with when I’m unwell. On reflection, I’ve now been ill for three of the last four Christmases. I find it difficult to tolerate big family dinners, eating more than I’d like to, having to sit in the company of others for longer than I find comfortable. I hate having to wear my mask and pretend I’m full of cheer when, really, my insides have curled into a tight knot, only to be untangled by high doses of medication and the safety of my bed. I hate having to be dressed nicely when I don’t even have to leave the house, when, on a normal day, having a shower and brushing my teeth is about all I ever manage.
Nonetheless, I go along with it. What choice do I have, really? If I dig my heels in and refuse to play ball it just stresses everyone else, whereas if I cooperate and do what is expected of me, only I will be stressed. This is, after all, how things are during the rest of the year. Only this afternoon, I joined my Mum and Sister for a ‘Christmas DVD afternoon’. At risk of sounding utterly vile, I’d rather have been at home, in my bedroom with the door closed. But I went, because I don’t want to let them down, because, however it may seem, I love them more than anything and will do as much as I possibly can to please them (they like to see me make an effort – I think they always secretly hope these small things are a sign that I’m ‘cured’ as one might be from Cancer).
I’ve had many years now, of ill health with only short periods of respite in between. If I could ask Santa for anything at all, it would be to feel a little bit better for a little bit longer.