How I Survived Christmas

You know what the most stressful thing is? Juggling family politics without telling various members of the family, having breakdowns on my sister and pretending to be extremely drunk so that mum didn’t find out, becoming ‘tipsy’ and telling everyone in my contacts list that it was a placebo effect, and figuring out which presents I should take to which house based on which ones I like best.

For some reason, Christmas has always been an… Eventful time of year for all the family. On Christmas Eve, I went to my Grandma’s house and yesterday, I was at mum’s, and so I got two Christmas dinners – Swedish and English – and two sets of presents.

At Grandma’s, I was my usual anti-social moth: I was reading, shouting about memes with my cousin or bitching about some of my family members with my aunt and Grandma. I’d feel bad, but when I was speaking to my aunt, I told her about loads of my thought processes and came out to her as bi without freaking out. My aunt’s never been the most accepting sort – not like my dad – but she’s not bad at all, and I only got unbelievably pissed off with her once.

We stayed over on the 23rd and 24th, and I stayed inside on the latter day whilst my sister and dad went into town. There was my customary reading time, plus speaking with my Grandma and hugging her dog, Daphne, on several occasions. Once all of the family – and by that I mean sister, dad, aunt, cousin, grandma and dog – were in a vague state of togetherness, we had dinner.

When I was younger, I never really had much enthusiasm when eating Swedish food; it was like a chore and I complained so much that it irritated everyone. In the last three years, I’ve been much happier to try everything than I was previously. We had sill – which is sweet pickled herring; janssons – anchovies and potatoes which is the most glorious thing ever; meatballs, regular potatoes, ham and vegetables. It’s basically a part of my childhood, even if I didn’t eat it much when I was small because I was a little shit.

We’ve always opened our presents on Christmas Eve – at least at Grandma’s – because it’s what you do in Sweden. If it suddenly changed I wouldn’t be able to deal with it, but luckily, we sat down to open our presents and I would have fought with my cousin over who handed out the presents, but he was being an arse and couldn’t be bothered, and so it was me and my dad who did it.

In short, I was happy with what I got. That included two bottles of perfume +a few samples, two jumpers, a nice top, a skirt, a new hairbrush and toothbrush (my family appear to have caught onto the fact that I’m becoming more health-paranoid/conscious) and various other little items. I said on my Twitter that my dad got 6 bars of chocolate and my aunt got a Fitbit, which made me sob with laughter and my family didn’t understand why; my Grandma was obsessing over a cookery book she got and my cousin took my dad’s mini skateboard that my sister had bought for him. Nothing much happened after that, except me staying up too late and crying slightly because of my dismal excuse for emotions but that’s beside the point.

Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, yesterday was more eventful. We were dropped at mum’s – going halfway and being picked up by her – and I knew the instant we were out of dad’s car that my behaviour was going to be shit. I hate how I act around my mum sometimes because I can be horrible, which doesn’t help my mood.

We had English Christmas dinner, which was delicious. Before that, I had gone up to my room and read, answered texts and replied to emails, so I didn’t feel as stressed. I walked downstairs, surrounded by the scents of cooking, and tried to tell myself that I’d be fine and that I could act happy, because I was happy, right?

With the addition of one of mum’s friends, dinner wasn’t awkward. I didn’t complain or get annoyed, but I did have a bit of alcohol because it was Christmas. After dinner, like with Grandma’s, we opened our presents.

This is when things get a bit blurry, though it wasn’t because I’d drunk that much alcohol. Mum was drunk, and I hate it when she is because she tries too hard, and gets too erratic, and just never responds to what I say how I’d want her to. As we opened presents, I was happy, the smile not quite translating onto my face no matter how I tried. My presents were great: I got chocolate, a rug for my room and a fluffy pillow, all of which were cute. However, I steadily became more and more inwardly sad, and now that it’s over, I’ve figured out why.

Whenever I have the barest hint of alcohol, my mum thinks that it’s the end of the world, and treats me like a child. She always has treated me like I’m younger, and I know it’s because she gets nervous because I’m blind, but it’s majorly messed up my thoughts about independence because I panic whenever I think about it. It’s not her fault, but that’s a thought for another day. Last night, I asked mum’s friend if she thought that alcohol tolerance was affected by size of the person – she said yes – and I told her straight out that I didn’t want to feel stupid for having such a quick reaction to it. I don’t remember it all, mainly because afterwards I chose to block it out, but I do remember my mum saying loudly that my face was becoming red – something that’s common in our family which my sister has too – and telling me I should have water, and making tutting noises which made me feel so upset that I engaged her friend in conversation. She treated me like I was my age, not laughing or acting like I was pretending to be all grown up.

Then, I cried on my sister. She’d gone to the kitchen and I followed, my head starting to ring as I drank water. I was trembling so hard then that I had to sit down, and she was there – helping me, talking to me.

I can safely say that last night was the first time in about 2 years that I completely – and I mean completely broke down about having very little sight. It doesn’t bother me usually, but everything had been building up: my mental state, my mother, my negative thoughts about myself. My sister let me cry as I gripped onto her hands, telling her how not being able to have something was so difficult sometimes especially when you’ve never had the ability to know what it’s like. She held me and listened as I told her how I felt, barely able to speak at one point as I had an existential crisis. Usually, we don’t talk about that kind of thing but when we do, she listens to me.

After that whole thing happened, I was in no mood to socialise or to pretend. I spent a little more time with my family and then went upstairs, spoke to a few friends and managed to pour water all over myself. Deciding to tell that fact to L was probably a mistake because he laughed at me, and I think I sent a few nonsensical texts to people: firstly because I had a little bit of alcohol, but secondly because I wanted to cheer myself up by laughing. It worked, thank god.

All in all, I may not have felt altogether happy this Christmas, but it gave me a break which I needed. Now, I can start pulling myself together, though I had moments over the last two days where everything got too much and I remembered I was single, etc etc, which shouldn’t bother me since it’s been 2 months. Things like that aren’t always logical, though, and I’m becoming more okay.

How has your Christmas been, if you celebrate it?

From Elm πŸ™‚

27 thoughts on “How I Survived Christmas

  1. Oh hon, holidays are not always good. Like, I cried myself to sleep last night and it was Christmas. It’s not only you. But you know what? Sometimes it’s these thins in life which make us better than the people who have it good. And you are a proof of it because I cannot think of one person who is so good, supportive, kind and whatever else as you. You are magnificent. *Hugs*

  2. When my mother was talking about how amazing her fitbit was I had to go to the bathroom and laugh my guts out

  3. My mum got a fitbit and my dad got so much chocolate too just to piss him off about the fact that he is a vegan, haha.
    My christmas wasn’t that good this year either, there was a few arguments and stuff but oh well, maybe New Year’s will be better πŸ™‚

  4. hey elm, i love how you explained your hectic Christmas would it be cool if i talked to you over skype

  5. ayyyy fluffy pillow twins! that was one of my presents too 😁 and i’m glad you at least survived, holidays are super rough all around

  6. I totally didn’t announce to the table that I’m a feminist and planning to march in next year’s pride (despite not being gay/lesbian, but to represent my grandma) to a table of republicans who spent the entire dinner excitedly discussing Trump’s new laws. 😏 But yeah, I had a vvvv shitty Christmas as well. I took down the tree first thing Boxing Day because I just want this to be over. Shittiest day ever ngl, ruined Christmas for me.

  7. Christmas itself was great, but I spent a lot of time thinking about some more negative things that happened a few weeks before πŸ˜” it sounds like you had a some fun though, even if there were a few ups and downs! Hopefully 2017 will be a happier year for you πŸ’•

    • I really hope it will, and for you to. Thanks so much πŸ™‚ and I understand – want to talk about it? ❀️❀️

      • Short version: my friends are shit, the only ones I trust anymore are people I rarely get to spend time with and it’s not a fun situation to be in.
        Long version: my “best friend” has been bitching about me a lot with a mutual friend (while still acting as if she likes me to my face) and it’s literally like she’s just keeping me around to help with her maths homework and as another person to complain to. I trusted her because we always said we’d tell each other if someone was bitching about us when we weren’t there and now I don’t know who I can talk to who won’t tell other people about it. There are two friends that I do feel comfortable talking to but one of them I only see once a week (though it’s been about a month since we last talked because of Christmas holidays and school trips) and the other lives over an hour away and I won’t really see her again until half term (though we do message a lot more). It’s not the first shitty thing that this “best friend” has done but it’s the most personal/offensive one and I don’t know how much longer I can pretend it never happened (she doesn’t know that I’ve seen the messages) but as good as it would be to just stop being friends with her, it would be so awkward for mutual friends and the lessons we do have together. I thought it would be fine and I could pretend nothing had happened until there was a good time to bring it up but there never will be and it’s upsetting me a lot more than I thought it would πŸ˜”

      • It’s completely understandable as to why that would upset you – I’ve been in similar situation so I know how shit it feels. If your best friend is treating you like this, though, she has no right to be friends with you – you’re a wonderful person and if she can’t see that, that’s completely her loss. If she is willing to say those things and then pretend it never happened, then she’s neither worth your time nor an honest person; I know that I don’t know her but the fact that she can talk about you like that, show she doesn’t value as much as she should and as much as it would be awkward for you, you shouldn’t have to put up with this just for the sake of mutual friends or anything like that. You don’t deserve to be treated like this and it seems like this is the last straw, if she’s been acting similarly to this, so offensively I mean. If you can, try and distance yourself from her – I know what it’s like to be terrified of starting afresh, and feeling like you have nobody to trust, but sometimes the best people are found in the most unlikely situations. Hang in there – it’s not easy, but it’s not going to be easy; she isn’t your only friend and she should never stop you from going out there and getting better, and healthier, friendships. Email me if you need to, okay? I’m here to listen XX

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