Which stands for Christmas in case you were wondering 😉 A time of year which often feels like it must be endured, rather than enjoyed, when you’re sick and single.
I’m not going to lie, Christmas is shit when you’re ill, skint and alone. I love all the twinkle and glitter but when I put my tree up and I’m sat there by the fire watching the lights prettily shine in the dark, oh, how I wish there was someone beside me to share it. Someone to snuggle up to watching schmaltzy Christmas movies. Someone to play daft board games with. Someone to wake up to on Christmas morning who preferably isn’t hairy and licks his own willy 😀 After 23 years of living on my own you’d think it would get easier, but I’m here to tell you it doesn’t. It’s a bugger.
I thankfully get invitations to go out or to visit friends, but often have to turn them down as I am too unwell or exhausted to even get dressed. None of my diseases take a fortnight off simply because it’s Christmas. If anything they often play up more than normal, as I stupidly eat things I shouldn’t and do wayyyy too much. New Year is positively tortuous, as I hear my laughing neighbours all off out for meals or to friends while I spend yet another night alone in front of the box. There are times over the festive period that the ache of longing for even a semblance of a normal life is physically painful.
I don’t have a huge amount of money but I’m comfortable and can thankfully pay my bills without worrying. I don’t necessarily need anything but there’s loads of stuff I’d like, such as camera gear, new boots, more orthotics, some kitchen knives which actually cut food and various other things which would make my life easier and which I never seem to have the money to buy. Christmas just seems to compound my lack of luxuries. All those adverts on the telly of shiny new stuff that I can’t afford can get a bit depressing if I let it.
So I have to give myself a good talking to. I am not homeless or starving and am far from poor, so I try and be thankful for the stuff I have rather than yearning for the stuff I don’t. I then stay up til midnight for the online Boxing Day sales in the hopes I can still get myself a new studio flash without having to rob a bank 😉 I tell myself that although I am alone at least I’m not spending the day with people I can’t stand, like my partner’s leary Uncle or mind-numbingly dull in-laws. I am also not arguing with anyone, which was my pattern when I was dating. My boyfriend would inevitably roll up at my house drunk after going on a bender with his rugby mates on Christmas Eve and spend most of Christmas Day eating paracetomol and looking green to the gills. I inevitably hated him for spoiling this one special day of the year and felt let down that he could barely touch the dinner the women in the family (it was never the men) had slaved over all morning.
Which brings me to the point that we all think that everyone but us is having some magic, Disney Christmas when the reality is often anything but. Christmas can be brilliant, fun and fabulous but it can also be exhausting, stressful and disappointing. It’s no coincidence that January is the busiest time of the year for marriage break-ups due in no small part to the tensions we keep a lid on all year finally erupting. Children can be demanding and ungrateful. Women often bare the brunt of the work and can end up resentful and knackered. And there’s only so much turkey you can eat without wanting to throw up.
So, yes, I am hugely lonely at Christmas, much more so than any other time of the year. But I am not unhappy. I shall “treat myself as I would a beloved child” and do whatever takes my fancy. I shall eat shite, drink fizzy pop and watch box sets of ER, swooning over George Clooney before I knew he was a weirdo commitment phobe. And it will be fine.