Getting through the holiday season is like walking around with a backpack on. Oh yeah, and that backpack is full of rocks. You initially start the season with a rock or two in it if you are lucky but by the time New Years Day comes along your backpack is filled to the brim with nasty ass rocks and you are nearly crushed under the weight of it.
It begins with the normal spoonie issues; a. making sure you rest enough to handle the additional socializing, present getting, baking, cleaning, etc. b. making sure you eat right so you don’t trigger anything, c. making sure you get enough exercise, d. making sure you have rescue meds on board.
Once you have those dominoes in place you sit back, cross your fingers, and push the first domino down. Being a smart spoonie you started planning for gifts early, you ordered most of them online, you did everything you could think of to avoid a store during the Christmas season. Inevitably, like death and taxes, there was somewhere you ended up having to go to make sure you didn’t actually forget that cousin or family friend you can never remember to buy for but who always gets you something. You went into a very busy store with very florescent lights and very loud holiday music chock full of very tired and angry people. You left with what you needed and a few extra rocks in your backpack. You came home, you wrapped said gift. You sat and felt the added weight settle around your shoulders.
Next you attended a holiday event. You shifted the backpack around so it was at it’s most comfortable and tried your best to ignore the extra weight you were carrying as you put on your very best smile and tried to engage in meaningful small talk with people you do actually love to see and talk with. You tried your best to make sure the backpack full of rocks wasn’t really noticeable. You laughed and enjoyed yourself, shifting the rocks around from time to time to reduce stress on your back and neck. When you got home that night you crawled into bed and noticed that some asshole had slipped another rock into the damn backpack.
Maybe you baked pie or cookies or made dinner next. Perhaps you cleaned your house so when people came by they wouldn’t find out what a desperate slob you are when your choices are rest or cleaning. Despite all your best planning and careful practice you suddenly find yourself spending spoon after spoon on things you hadn’t planned on spending them on. Your kids are hyped up because PRESENTS!! and your pets are peeing on the floor because it’s really cold outside and who would want to pee out there? and your trying to keep up with mundane tasks like laundry in addition to everything else and you keep falling into bed so tired you are pretty sure you were sleeping during the last half of the day.
Each task adds a rock to your backpack and every time you begin a new task you have a harder time ignoring the huge weight pulling at you. You take your rescue meds and hope you can still enjoy some of what the holiday has left to offer. You manage to engage but now everyone can see how heavy your backpack is and you are having to rest a lot and can’t participate as much as you would like. You start having the conversations about your health and disappointing all the hopeful faces who really want your being there to mean you feel great. You struggle to hide as much of the discomfort as possible so as not to take up too much emotional space during the holidays.
Finally you long for January 1st when you can crawl back into your cave and hide until you have emptied all the rocks from your backpack and are once again thinking you can emerge into the world without appearing to be miserable.
You had fun, you saw loved ones, you made memories and you are so glad it’s over.