I already talked about Sinterklaas and Christmas in this post. By making it your own holiday, you can enjoy it a lot more. We try to get rid of the things we don’t like (by not doing them for example) and have some fun anyway. Of course you can’t do this with everything and a lot of people have trouble with Christmas and the obligations that come from them. For example the forced ‘spending time together in a (big) group’ or ‘eating together’ can be a huge problem for people who are a bit afraid of social interaction and groups (such as me and my fellow Hippo) or for people with eating disorders or other eating problems.
Another thing I often see is that around December the feeling of loneliness becomes a lot more. The contrast becomes bigger between the ‘happy families’ and ‘popular people’ and the people with hardly any social contacts, for example due to disabilities or illnesses (think of depression, PTSD, physical problems, old age etc.). So for me, December used to feel more about ‘loneliness and misery’ than ‘enjoying holidays and spending quality time together’. This has improved drastically, but one holiday remains a huge problem for me: New Year’s Eve.
I have no idea if more people have trouble with New Year’s Eve. It’s the holiday of December in which I can’t participate the most. Mainly because of my (extreme) fear of fireworks, but also because I don’t have a lot of social contacts. My fellow Hippo and I decided to try something different this year. We’re going to spend it together, just the two of us. Not going to my parents’. That way we have full control over what we’re going to do (New Year’s Eve is often so dull) and what we’re going to eat (which is rather tricky because of the IBS). We also think that there will be less fireworks here.
A lot of people I encounter, don’t understand why I’m so afraid of fireworks. This makes me feel extra lonely and sad, because I can’t do things and others can’t. People often just left me alone in the house and decided to have fun outside or at someone else’s house, because I was just weird and had ‘unjust fears’. I’ve never been able to celebrate it with peers, because they would go out clubbing and visit the fireworks show.
[Image of a lot of firework clouds in a dark sky]
I think fireworks are very dangerous, a big polluter and they gave me major headaches (and upset a lot of animals and other people too). I have to lock myself up a few days before and after New Year’s Eve, because people are always ingniting those things longer than is allowed. I’ve always been afraid of fireworks (mainly because of the major bangs and the fact that they are extremely hot, you can’t control them fully and they can damage a lot), but I’ve also had a minor fireworks accident. That was the only time I went outside during New Year’s Eve, because people were trying to ‘stimulate’ me to act normal (as most of them do with this problem). I was still very young and going to primary school. I went outside for like two minutes, standing at our driveway, next to the door, behind two cars. I was farthest away. My neighbours ignited a flare at the street, using all the safety measures. The bottle fell, the flare went below both cars and came in my hand. I only had some bleeding blisters (and other minor burn wounds), but damn that hurts. People didn’t really help me with it either (I couldn’t open the front door to get inside again) and I needed to put it in water and stuff like that, while I was still a young child who didn’t know what to do, in a lot of pain and in panic. That day made sure I would never try standing outside ever again.
Before and after that accident I’ve also encountered a lot of people who enjoy throwing ignited fireworks at you, the days around New Year’s Eve. That’s why I can’t go outside the days before/after as well. But I don’t really mind, I can see fireworks on the TV or internet if I’d like 😉
Despite the fact that I can’t do whatever I want, I’m not really bothered with it. I never liked fireworks, sure the colours are nice but if those were flickering lamps or lasers they wouldn’t cause so much headaches, noise and waste.
Since I’ve encountered my soulmate and life partner I don’t feel so alone either. We’re also trying not to ‘flashback’ on the past year, because we both can’t look positively to the past or coming year on New Year’s Eve. Normally I can, but that day I can’t.
I’m positive about this New Year’s Eve. We’ll have a nice, quiet (and some quality) time together. We’re going to eat and do what we like and the only rule is that we stay inside. My fellow Hippo isn’t really about going outside anyway so we won’t have any trouble with that. Only thing I’m concerned about is my parents’ dog (you can read something about him here). He’s even more afraid of fireworks than I am and now I can’t be there for him.
I hope you’ll have nice plans for New Year’s Eve too! Do you have any ‘special way’ to celebrate (or survive) it?