Surviving New Year’s Eve

I already talked about Sinterklaas and Christmas in this post.Β 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.
fireworks
[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 πŸ˜‰

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?

Photo source

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10 thoughts on “Surviving New Year’s Eve

  1. I don’t normally give thought to people who find it difficult to get into groups and eat together etc. Thanks for calling my attention to that.

    Actually, I don’t run into it very often, but I need to be sensitive to it and recognize it early if possible.

    I am a Christian street minister. I deal with a lot of seriously mentally ill people too. And it so happens that my main form of ministry is to hold worship services on the streets that are centered on communion. By definition that requires people to come together in community. But you are right. That can be very hard for some people.

    I think of this one time that my family went with me to Tent City, here in Lubbock, Texas, and we held a communion service for any of the homeless residents that cared to join. I had known this one guy, We will call him Agent H, who I recognized had a mental illness. I suspect it is paranoid schizophrenia, but I am no doctor – so I cannot diagnose him, nor was he one of the patients I cared for at the psych hospital… so I am left guessing. Nevertheless, I can tell he has antisocial issues of a deeply personal nature.

    Anyway, I always admired Agent H, but he rarely spoke to me. I had one real conversation with him once, and it was brief. But Agent H was a dedicated member of the community and he labored diligently for the good of the whole on a regular basis. But he would always work alone and keep to himself. Even when he was in close quarters with others, he was very protective of his personal space and did not wish to talk to others unless absolutely necessary.

    As a care giver, that is hard to see and to understand. I very much want to win his trust. I very much want to express to him that I care for him. And yet that requires NOT communicating with him mostly, which does not set me apart from others who in fact do not care for him since they don’t either. But that is my struggle, not his.

    Anyway… (again)… my family and I took this communion service out to Tent City one time. We announced what we were doing to the whole community, including Agent H – without singling him out. A few came and joined us over by the barn where we set up for worship. I think we had about 7 people that day, and one of them brought her dog.

    I need you to understand that as a matter of faith it is important that this meal be SHARED and NOT eaten alone. I never take communion alone nor do I offer it to other to eat alone. That cuts against the very nature and purpose of this particular liturgy. Other forms of worship can be done alone, but communion by definition is meant to be shared in community. But as we were eating, praying and talking about Jesus in our small group, I looked up and saw Agent H standing behind a tree at the corner of the barn.

    I knew that inviting him to join us would be hard on him. It’s like making friends with a stay animal who does not trust you. Suddenly my whole worship service was put to a new test. How can we INCLUDE Agent H who suffers an affliction that causes him to withdraw? But it was clear that he WANTED to be a part of it too!!! I was being stretched. Agent H was one of God’s creatures responding to this call on his life but reaching out to God while hiding behind the tree.

    I kept on talking to the others and never let on to them that I saw him, but casually gave him a little smile and a wave. My wife also recognized what was going on and she took a piece of the loaf and set in on a plate and then pushed the plate across the porch about five feet away from the rest of us, but still in close proximity. Then she turned away from it as if not paying Agent H any more attention.

    After a few minutes, Agent H crept forward and took a seat in front of the plate she had set aside. He took a nibble of the loaf and then offered some to the dog that the other lady had brought. Suddenly the kids all had the idea to share communion with the dog too. And Agent H remained with us there in prayer and communion (at arm’s length of course) but close with the dog. This went on for about ten minutes before Agent H had enough and withdrew.

    I don’t think about that too often. And I never really expanded it into a category in my mind before. To me, it was just this isolated incident that touched my heart. But your post here makes me think I need to plan for more encounters with people who suffer this type affliction.

    They are WANTED at the Lord’s Table, but that requires much patience and sensitivity. And I am open to suggestions you might have for people with such needs.

    Thank you for posting this.

    Agent X
    Fat Beggars School of Prophets
    Lubbock, Texas

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s wonderful it worked out eventually πŸ™‚ I understand both positions, yours as caregiver and the one from the “sufferer”. I know it can be very hard if you care for someone or like a person and for example want to talk to him/her, but that person is too scared. Sometimes you need to show your compassion through ways you would normally think aren’t compassionate (for example not talking to that person for a while, because that really scares him/her and it takes a bit longer for that person before he/she’s enough used to the situation that he/she can speak). I don’t have a religion, but I think you are one of the people who ‘use’ their faith like it is ‘meant to’. I think you and your wife did really well and I’m very grateful people like you exist. If your faith can bring you such comfort and passion for the world to do these kind of things, then that’s great.

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    1. It went pretty well. Ate tons of homemade waffles and my boyfriend and I just watched a movie, browsing on the internet, listened to some music etc. The place we were now had a good view at the fireworks, but also (which is more important for me) the noises weren’t as loud. So better views and less disturbance. Still had some anxiety issues, but since it was just us we could work through it. We were also ill, but we could just lie in bed and didn’t have to worry about the toilet being available (too much information?). So far, New Year’s Eve never went this well πŸ™‚ (although I secretly still want to be able to have a New Year’s Eve without worries and tears) People just want to keep improving πŸ˜‰

      How was it for you?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, yes I read that on your blog πŸ™‚ That is so important and wonderful if you can do that. It is one of the most important things and at the same time really difficult though. I’m really happy for you and proud of you that you made this decision and are sticking to it πŸ™‚

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