How to wrap friendship

Image of respect in friendshipFlirty Sprinklepants reporting for duty, sir!

Kind of.

With that name, and only two weeks away from Christmas Day, and I still haven’t had that sprinkly, Rudolph-like wintery feeling just yet.

Oh dear.

No presents yet. No Christmas Day clothes to wear yet on the very day itself. Even putting up my Christmas tree yesterday resulted in it looking rather… boudoir-like. Tacky even. Hell, it simply belongs in a red light district. Whoever said to try red berry fairy lights in my tree… You are a marked man.

Or was it woman?

Consequence? Tomorrow is the day of deconstruction, the sprucing up with new, white fairy lights. Like I have every single year since 2002. This year is different though. This year, my mam will celebrate Christmas and New Year in Ireland with me.

Now that calls for a celebration of a certain kind, don’t you agree?

Hallelujah praise the lord so, because for the first time in ten years, I will celebrate Christmas in Ireland!

Fairytale of New York, the most popular Christmas song ever in Ireland, is in my head, but it hasn’t delivered that atmospheric, red Christmas feeling yet.

Forget the fact that it’s finally cold outside and that your toes are slowly turning into ice-lollies. Forget the fact that I have to make a snow angel at least once in my life and therefore feverishly pray for snow. Even forget that facial pain reached new heights in 2014. Forget all that.

Just remember that, two weeks before the end of the year, I feel like one lucky bird.

A cuckoo?

A kiwi?

A bird of paradise?

Nah, just… one… happy… out… bird.

Just like in Fairytale of New York, I feel that I “got on a lucky one,” that I won big. I’m still living on an invalidity allowance that doesn’t reach far, that much is true. But what better gift can you receive than friendship? Or family members doing more than they should?

If I could wrap friendship, I would. I could wrap friends, though, but my tree is a standard 1m80, so theoretically people would have to stand next to in instead of lying under it.

In return? I try. I hope. I love. I want. I like and appreciate every single one of your friendships.

It’s true that I haven’t been able to answer everyone’s comments on my blog. What is true though is that I truly want to answer, but forget, or I lack energy to do so. Every comment deserves an answer at least. I don’t want you to think I never check your writing, because I do. I pop over and reflect on your words.

It’s also true that I sometimes find myself saying things in a harsher way than I intend to. I honestly do not mean to. It has been pointed out to me by the person who knows me best, that my “words every now and then sound a little harsh.” The problem is that my energy levels make me want to have direct replies because I simply lack energy to start a discussion about things that can be sorted out on the spot.

What is, again, also true is that I censor myself whenever possible, that I don’t want to scare people away from, for example, my Facebook because of my openness. Some think I am candid, but in fact, I am an introvert, an ISFJ person in the Meyers-Briggs personality test. I have a soft heart, but often self-imposed censorship isn’t always activated.

It doesn’t just happen to myself, of course. It seems a trait linked to social media relationships. We think we’re talking to them over a coffee in Starbucks, but in fact, everyone can hear your words. Friends reply less when words fall between the cracks of self-censorship. When they decide to stay away, it’s up to us to never think any less of the friends who stay away. I consider it a justified reaction. I’m also on the other side of the scale where I chose to stay away from certain people because of their words.

Either way, you’re still there, reading my writing, commenting and waiting for a reply. If you’re in my life, we talk, we discuss, we laugh and we dream. It’s pure friendship with some, realistic friendship with others, or we just dream together about the future, our lives and our loves.

But yes, I got on a few lucky ones this year. Old ones strengthened by shared grief, laughter, caring for and wanting friendship. New friendships keep growing stronger and stronger, as if we’re always meant to be. This is why, if friendship could fit under a Christmas tree, I would love to put every single one of you there, so I can show others what real friends are like.

Christmas, the Paradox of Our Time

© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Quirky, tenacious and neurologically compromised female expat living in Ireland since 2002 ◾ IRELAND BLOG AWARDS WINNER - BEST BLOG POST 2018 with '3443 Needles' ◾ Ireland Blog Awards Finalist 2014, 2015, 2017 ◾ MyTherapyApp Best MS Blog for Simplicity 2018 ◾ Everyday Health Top 10 MS Blog of 2018 ◾ Feedspot Top 50 MS Blog 2017, 2018 ◾ Contributor to the Teva MS blog Life Effects ◾ Contributor to the Novartis MS blog Living Like You ◾ Contributor to MS Ireland’s blog MS & Me ◾ Contributor to The Mighty ◾ Guest contributor to ◾ WEGO Health Patient Leader Award Nominee 2018

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