It’s hard hating Christmas.
People look at you differently. Parents tell their children to avoid you in the street. Friends think you’re just being difficult because, you know, you’re a sarcastic prick who likes to have a difference of opinion occasionally.
“He’s just being Ash,” they say, as you turn your nose up at yet another Christmas song from the 80s. “He likes Christmas really, see, he’s smiling.”
Only you’re not smiling. Not at all. Contrary to people’s opinion that everyone MUST like Christmas, you really, really don’t, and as it gets closer you only get more depressed and find yourself longing for the Christmas party purely so you can drink enough to forget what time of year it is. Yay for free bars.
Hating Christmas is hard because people don’t think it’s possible. Some people are that happy about it that you having a different view point almost offends them. It’s as if Santa is a deity and you’re dismissing their religion. It’s like they’re a passionate Liverpool fan and you’re telling them that Steven Gerrard isn’t, in your opinion, the best player to have ever played the game. It makes them angry, it loses you friends, and worst of all it makes them turn up the Christmas music.
“We’ve heard ‘Step Into Christmas’ three times today,” you insist, but they ignore you as they prance about and hum the words they don’t really know. Maybe they’re right; maybe Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and you really are a Scrooge for hating on it like you do, but you dislike it with very good reason and that – at last – is the point this blog post is getting to.
Things used to be different between me and the 25th of December. Growing up I was just like any other kid, apart from the dark visions at night and the things the family never talk about. Christmas used to be full of yay and woo, and I was equally as excited as any other middle class child growing up in a privileged country.
One year changed all of that.
That year was 2007, when in the build up to Christmas things started getting strange. I lost a lot of weight, I started feeling quite unwell, and during an annual trip around a shopping centre I realised just how thirsty I was all of the time. Drink after drink after drink, the thirst never ended and I constantly felt on the verge of collapsing.
A few days later, on December 23rd no less, I was told I had diabetes. That was when Christmas started to go downhill.
Being told you’ve got an incurable condition can really put a downer on an occasion, and that downer has returned every year since. Whether it’s been the time of year making bad things happen to me, or whether it’s been my festive bad mood making bad things come with it I’m not sure, but either way I have a recent track record of it being more no no no than ho ho ho.
I’ve had relationships fall apart, friends get unwell and pets die, just to name a few, but none of that has compared to the feeling that always lingers – one of the loneliness, hopelessness and despair that December 23rd 2007 brought with it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a really good diabetic now. I hardly ever fall over (much) and I can handle a needle in a way that would make Amy Winehouse proud. I’m totally ok with it, there are no hard feelings between me and my pancreas. (You useless piece of shit, what’s the fucking point in you? You’re just sitting there taking up space and enjoying the free fucking ride, aren’t you?)
But still, a bad memory can be hard to get rid of. As soon as the sleigh bells start ringing and Elton John starts stepping in, I can’t help myself but feel lost.
Forgive me, oh festive ones, for I can never be like you. Enjoy your excitement but let me off if my highlight is Lincoln City playing on Boxing Day.