On Christmas Eve J.K. Rowling tweeted this lovely message, which really got to me, as I very much identify with much of what she writes.
I’ve had so many lovely messages wishing me a merry Christmas. Thank you!
I’ve also heard from people who are going through very tough times. These always seem worse at Christmas. At this time of year, we’re bombarded with images of perfect lives, which bear as little relation to reality as tinsel does to gold. If you’re lucky enough to be with the people you love, warm and safe, with enough to eat, I’m sure you feel as blessed as I do. But if your life is currently full of difficulties; if you aren’t where you want to be, either literally or figuratively, remember that extraordinary transformations are possible. Everything changes. Nothing is forever.
Thinking back to my worst Christmas, I found it hard to believe that my unhappiness would pass. I was truly afraid of the future. You never know what the future holds. Astonishing reversals of fortune happen every minute. So if you’re sad, or lonely, or bereaved, or ill, separated from your loved ones or in any other way suffering this Christmas, I send you love and wish you luck and better times. Millions of us have been where you are now. Remember, Christmas Day is, in the end, just a day. It isn’t a test or a scorecard of you or your life, so be kind to yourself
I was in the process of finishing a blog post about this very thing, when Jo tweeted what I was struggling to put into words. In fact, she managed to write about thoughts and feelings that were lingering somewhere at the back of my head, still very much in such a form that I was mostly unaware of them.
I tend to phrase it as ‘I hate Christmas’, because that’s the easiest way to put it. Quickest too. It leads to very few questions although it does seem to increase the number of disapproving looks. Setting aside terminology, Christmas has been becoming more difficult for me over time. For lots of reasons really.
Apart from the ones Jo sums up, I find the whole concept of Christmas very hard to handle as an autistic person. It is disruptive beyond belief and subsequently not only affects my peace of mind, but also my physical health. I love my 7 foot Christmas tree and I love my decorations, each of them handmade by me. And yet…that tree has continuously been living in my basement for several years, as I am unable to handle it being in my living room or anywhere else in the house. It being upstairs instead of downstairs sends me in complete sensory overload. It literally makes me ill. Furniture needs to be shifted around to make room for it, it changes my whole living room and on top of all that, it affects the light in my home. As a visually impaired person I need proper lighting, and having the tree up here strongly influences the light. It’s more than I can bear, unfortunately. So this year – again – my beloved tree and decorations remained in the basement. I’ll try again in 2017.