For the first 50 years of my life I struggled with the end of the festive season. As I am becoming more familiar with my neurotype, I have been lowering my mask and becoming comfortable in my skin that is 100% autistic. I don’t carry autism around with me. It doesn’t just make things a challenge. I am learning how to honour every last autistic molecule in my body.
Transitioning has always been a big thing for me. I am coming to terms with the reason I arrive early to everything. Why I do practice runs to new places. My brain immerses itself so fully into my experiences that I need to carefully gather each thought and tuck it away safely, before beginning something new.
I no longer apologise for turning up early. I explain, inform and educate. This is a step in helping me with accessibility. If this can’t be catered for, I just leave. I have lived with an at times very debilitating mental illness for nine years with c-PTSD from trying to fit in.
The beauty of being a grumpy woman in her fifties is that I no longer attempt to placate other people who can’t deal with me. That’s their problem not mine. However the layers and layering of trauma has left scars that at the worst of my mental illness were almost mortal.
In an endeavour to stay well, to be present and to not ever try to fit in; I now unabashedly outwardly live a neurodiverse life.
So back to Christmas. It took about two weeks to put the tree up. It uses up many spoons, but, I love Christmas and I am ok with that.
In the ghosts of Christmases past, it was standard to have all the decorations and tree up well into February. I was lying in bed on Christmas Day night thinking about needing to transition back to a house with no festive decorations. I decided Boxing Day we would not turn the Christmas tree lights on. My husband took care of all the external lights and decorations.
The next couple of days I’ll slowly pack away any Christmas decorations that are not on the tree. There’s a lot! Wash all the napery and festive tea towels. Find homes for my Christmas presents. Even this has taken me months to do in the past.
Lastly we will tackle the tree. Last year I bought a Christmas tree storage bag. We don’t need to take the tree down. If fits in lights, decorations and all.
I kept some of the cardboard from the Bon Bons and my gifts. I am adding that to my hoard of art resources.
I write this to help myself process and put into practice measures that are necessary for my well-being. If anyone else reads this and it helps you with transitioning let me know.
I am trying to stop feeling bad about the way I take measures to help me live my life.
(C) Laura Lewis 2020