Like any good Chronic, I have an incredibly overactive imagination. What do you expect? You have to learn how to make staring at your ceiling for days (weeks, years, decades…) on end interesting somehow.
So here is my holiday-themed Delusion of Grandeur:
My house is decorated and the lights are bright enough to see from Space. I have planned in advance and sent out actual paper, US postal service-delivered invitations to a very fun and very grown-up holiday party (which really just means there will be canapes) at my house the weekend before Christmas. I go shopping and get a bunch of adorable and thoughtful presents for my guests, plus a sparkly and festive new outfit for myself. I get super psyched about the fact that I can afford to do this (#Employed). I buy myself a celebratory cupcake at Georgetown Cupcake and eat it while filling out Christmas cards to send to friends and family far away. The day of my party arrives, everyone attends, and we all have a great time talking about running and cookies and jobs and kids and other things that sound grown-up-ish and most definitely do not include health-related topics unless we are debating the merits of kale versus spinach.
Sounds nice, right?
I thought so too.
That is not actually happening this weekend, which is totally bumming me out.
Ok, wait. One part happened- I did eat a Georgetown Cupcake the other day while writing out some belated cards. Let’s just say it was wonderful until it wasn’t.
The reality is that instead of my Make-A-Wish Christmas fantasy, I am in “just-get-by” mode, which my fellow Chronics will also be familiar with. This is the autopilot we have to put ourselves on sometimes in order to, you know, just get by.
I am still majorly sick with stomach issues. Think of the worst stomach flu and/or food poisoning you’ve ever had, and now think of what it would be like if it never went away. That’s me right now. I might be fine for a few hours, but the yuck finds me eventually.
As you can imagine, I am super pleasant to be around right now.
Every year, I want the holidays to be different- more festive, more fun, more sparkly, more special. The last few years, I’ve been kind of disappointed.
I expected to feel pretty disappointed this year too, and it is easy to when writing a blog in which you write full out Expectation vs. Reality.
But I don’t want to be disappointed.
When I think about my Holiday Daydream and analyze the beejesus out of it (yet another well-honed Chronic skill), I can realize that what I am really looking for is not necessarily specific events to take place (though it sure would be nice!), but rather for certain festive feelings to appear. And, when you stare at the ceiling of your bathroom for a ½ hour, you come to realize that you can make feelings happen much more easily that you can events.
Item #1: The house is decorated and you can see the lights from Space.
What I want to feel: I want to share my enthusiasm! I am so excited for the holidays! I want you to know it! I can achieve this by doing what I just did- sharing. You reading my post is my Chronic equivalent of a perfectly festive abode.
Item #2: I have planned in advance and sent out paper invitations.
What I want to feel: I want to feel organized and I want others to feel special. Doesn’t getting mail make you feel so warm and squishy on your insides? Someone took the time to get a notecard, write something in it with a pen (which they had to hunt around for, because a pen is never where you are looking for it/just left it, and if it is, it is probably all dried up), find your address, get a stamp, and then mail it. Whew! That’s a lot of energy, and they did it all so you can get warm fuzzies when you realize they were thinking about you that much. I was semi-organized and did send out a few warm fuzzies-I mean cards- and it was nice and gave me warm fuzzies too.
Item #3: Very fun and very grown-up party with canapes.
What I want to feel: The vast majority of my friends are grown-ups. I’m not so sure I am yet, but I have felt closer to that than I ever have this year, and I really wanted to join the club! So, ok, I was looking for validation and inclusion. These feelings feel like the hardest to find, but I can squeeze out some validation by thinking about how I was able to afford cards and presents (#PayCheck #MakeItRain) while sticking to a budget like a grown-up and work out some inclusion by keeping in touch through Facebook and text messaging to know what everyone’s kiddos, significant others, dogs, cats, and hedge fund investments are up to. Also, I can pretend that tiny pancakes, which are the only thing I can really manage to eat right now, are actually fancy-pants canapes that I don’t have to share with anyone. Bonus, if I don’t have a party with tiny finger foods, it isn’t that important that I figure out how to spell canape…cannape…cannappe…where is the button for an accent over the “e” when you need it?
Item #4: Adorable and thoughtful gifts, festive outfit.
What I want to feel: I want my giftees to know that even though I am down here in the Chronic muck, I can still take a minute and stop thinking about myself long enough to get them a present that they’ll like. I also want to look really pretty. Thankfully, the Internet exists, so my family members will be getting really adorable and thoughtful gifts that were first delivered (Santa-style!) to my doorstep. As for the looking really pretty part? Lipstick makes (almost) everything better, and I’m pretty sure I have the perfect shade to match the pajamas that I am currently living in. What? You don’t match your Clinique to your PJ’s? #Weirdo
Item #5: Party arrives, everyone attends, we have a great time talking about non-health things.
What I want to feel: Friendship and a respite from a problem that seems never-ending and all-encompassing. Reaching out is hard when you don’t feel well, but I’m trying. I am so, so, so grateful for each and every card, text, and Facebook poke that I’ve received. Friendship, check! As for a respite from my troubles? Please, tell me about that crazy thing your dog did or that disgusting thing your kid ate. Really. I want to hear it. Don’t leave anything out. I mean it. Also, what are your thoughts on kale? So 2012? Yeah, I thought so, too.
I do not have to have a Bah-Humbug holiday, and neither do you, Chronic friend! I’m totally Pollyanna-ing all over the place right now, but isn’t it fun to try and find the silver linings to enormously crappy situations? You can always count on me for that, that’s for sure. 🙂
I hope that all of your holidays are merry and bright, Chronic readers! Let me know what you are up to either here in the comments or over on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/iamchronicallywell