I have just got home after spending the night with my family.
We went into London to see a show called Million Dollar Quartet at the Southbank Centre, which my mum booked for my sister, my dad and I. My sister and I showed up as a surprise for my dad- he didn’t know we were coming, and so it was all very festive and all very special.
We met at a pub just up from Embankment station, had a couple of glasses of red wine, caught up with one another, and then headed south and over the Thames.
There was then a brief panic when we realised we weren’t sure which section of the centre the theatre was in; so we dashed back and forward between two buildings, up a few flights of stairs and eventually into the correct theatre a couple of moments before the show began.
Perfect timing really; just as we had arranged our coats and turned our phones off the music started!
It was a show about the original recording studio and guy who had discovered Elvis and Johnny Cash, but had then had to watch them move on from him once they got big and started attracting the kind of people who could offer them more money. It was sad and bittersweet on a level, but the awesome rock and roll all the way through meant you couldn’t stay dispondant for too long.
But the end of the night all of us were on our feet and dancing along to Elvis and Cash; and we all left the theatre with smiles on our faces and a spring in our step; I was singing you ain’t nothing but a hound dog all the way back to my flat.
I’m writing this post now, at 23.26 in the evening, on my phone because i have left my laptop at Ru’s, because i think the night that i have just had sums up what is best for me about Christmas; and ultimately what I believe Christmas is really all about.
For me, Christmas has always been about family: celebrating together and enjoying good food, games, and creating memories.
Tonight really choked me up, because it was exactly the kind of night that I’ve been fighting to hold onto for a really long time.
My illness has really tested the relationship I have with my family. The voices have seemed to work to undermine the bonds I have with them; with my mum and my dad specifically, and, over the last four years or so, have tried to make me believe that my life would be improved if I cut them out of it.
It’s been hard; if i put it honestly it’s been a complete f*****g nightmare at many many points. The voices have told me so many lies, and they have worked relentlessly to make me believe that the reason i have suffered is because my parents no longer knew how to deal with me on some strange and psychic level of experience and consciousness.
The reality is so much deeper than that what those voices were telling me.
The reality is that their love for me knew no bounds. They never gave up on me, even when some small part of me might have given up on myself. They were always there, they were always available, they were always caring.
The voices would try to convince me that my.parents were resenting me as much as i was resenting myself. This was never true. I was resenting myself, and perhaps a part of me was transferring those feelings, because, in some deep part of me that had been weakened by years of bs, I was offsetting the responsibility of my situation onto them.
I, the conscious part of me that I can see in the mirror, never really believed that they resented me, and knew that I didn’t resent them either! It was just the shadow that whispered to me when I was weakest; when I was already down, tried or just plain weak.
The voices F****d with me so much i can’t explain. They told me I was absurd for still speaking to them, and that I was embracing a negative reality, when if I were to only cut them loose, so to speak, I would be better off.
(I am now beginning to encounter a new, symbolic level to these experiences, which is as mind-boggling as it is profound, but I will write more about that in another post.)
What is important here is to say that I have resisted the immediate, superficial hostility of these voices. Because, partially, i am bloody-mindedly stubborn when i want to be, and resent being manipulated on such a basic emotional level. I resent being made to believe something which is so negative, so reactionary, and so contradictory to what i really believe.
Yes, it would make sense that my family would have given up on me, it would make sense… on a massively negative level. Unfortunately, i have known some incredibly negative, bitter people, and i was naive and earnest enough to be open and susceptible around them. I know that it was their influence that fed into this last bitingly harsh stage in my illness.
Bur i have fought it.
I have refused to buy into that negative, defeatist bullshit, and i have held onto the fact that love trumps hate, and that bonds of family and love are stronger than bs negativity.
Because they are- and by god is that more important that the malice of the voices.
This evening was so much fun, so real, positive and true. It was, for me, what Christmas is all about about; and that is re-affirming those bonds, strengthening the relationships which are so much stronger than any bs negativity. Not everybody is lucky enough to have those bonds, not everybody is lucky enough to have family who care, and who continue to love, even when everything seems to fall down.
I am lucky enough to have family who care so much, i am lucky enough to have parents; and an incredible sister, who never gave up on me, even when a part of me maybe gave up on myself- and I believe Christmas is when you give thanks for that, when you work to strengthen those bonds and take time and effort to reconnect, share a glass of wine together and laugh and dance along to the music which makes you all smile.
So merry Christmas everyone, and have a happy new year 🙂