Wednesday, December 30, 2009

X-mas Recap: 2009

All December long, I was feeling the doom and gloom of the impending holidays. Redefining almost every aspect of my everyday life has been hard, but since it's done every day, it's more of a dull pain than the searing, brain-melting, third degree, labor pains I feel come the holidays. Only once a year does my entire extended family gather for a six hour intensive social and since there have only been two of them since my headaches started, I am still actively mourning the loss of my former experience. This year, finally, I was able to enjoy myself again, just differently.

The old way of celebrating was very wasteful. I would bounce about, talking constantly, eating bad food and drinking bad drinks. Christmas eve, christmas day and new years eve would all be over-scheduled. Parties and dinners and shopping and working overtime to pay for the shopping would really wring me out, even with the endless resources I had then. It was a good time, sure, but my relationships were high input, little depth, my life was scattered and frenzied, and the eating and drinking habits didn't do much for my general well-being either. I wasn't on empty, but I was definitely letting the tank run low. And for what? I don't miss those people I don't see at all of those parties. I miss working, but not like a corporate slave. And the eating and drinking? I know what I can have and what I can't and I weigh the consequences of each bite with a sometimes frustratingly sober mind.

Christmas eve was quiet. We had an early crab dinner with the folks, and were home by 7:00. I was up bright and early on christmas morning to head back to the folks for lox and bagels with some grandparents. No onions for me, sigh. After this, I went home and laid down for two hours, one with a scarf over my eyes. I drank plenty of water and tried to keep my mind quiet. Then we visited the in-laws for a bit. The earplugs went in. There was a game on, very loud, and people shouting to each other from different levels of a townhouse. I lasted for an hour before I started feeling twinges of irritation. I let my boyfriend know that our time was short and he started making leaving noises, which prompted everyone to bust out with their cameras (with strobing flash, of course), to make sure they had adequately memorexed the moment. I just closed my eyes when I needed to and waited patiently, practiced my breathing and smiled whenever someone spoke to me. This section of the family knows little about my health and I didn't find family time on christmas day to be an appropriate venue to educate them. We made it out after about an hour, and stopped back at our house. I medicated and slowly organized items for our final stop, christmaspalooza at my uncle's new house with 30 of my closest family.

It was really loud there. Music in the one room, yelling and horseplay in another, upstairs, a few relatives had an impromptu jam session on the guitars and drum kit, complete with amplifier. Everyone talks at once, which results in everyone semi-shouting at once and I stood in the middle with my earplugs so far in my ears I think they touched, and reveled in the fact that I was there. It felt like trial by fire; my flight or fight instinct was kicking in and I was fighting for the right to party with my family. I made it through, though, and didn't shout or cry at anyone.

A few days later and my head still hurts quite a bit. I've also picked up a cold. I barely got out of bed at all the last few days. Though my body feels weak and beaten up, my heart and my mind are so full and satiated from all of the positive energy I had around me. I keep laughing at the memory of my entire family applauding wildly but nearly silently when I walked in the door late. Everyone loved my baked goods, and were all thrilled to receive them. I acquired a few incredibly thoughtful and perfect gifts that have left me simply giddy. I loved watching the faces of others whose gifts delighted them. I could almost see them as children, laughing and clapping over a new toy.

The pain I'm suffering now is totally worth it for the memories. But I am thinking it's going to be a quiet new years.


WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Maybe you will be more able to get out and around next year, as you survived the Christams marathon. Hoping for a better 2010!

Faith Berry said...

I really admire how committed you are to taking care of yourself, and at the same time, take responsibility when you push the limits a bit.

Glad you enjoyed your Christmas! Happy new year!

Shauna said...

Been reading and really enjoying it here!!

Beautiful writer.....

Gentle Hugs from a fellow Chronic Pain pal! <3