Eleanore Vs. Michiganmas

Dear holiday creatures,

I have spent the past five days in Walled Lake, Michigan with my dear friend ShawnEShawn. My first day here I arrived exhausted despite the short flight, and as we drove to my friends’ home, he asked me how I felt about surprises. My response, as it is to most things was, “I don’t know, it depends!” This response is the most honest I could have given yet absolutely the least helpful. He then proceeded to tell me that we would be seeing Cirque Du Soleil that night, and as he knows some of my health issues that a nap was in order. I was excited and elated as I adore watching live performances. At the time, I was equally excited about a nap.

The night came quickly and we set out to the Joe Louis Arena. As we made our way inside my friend pointed out that we could see Canada on the other side of the water. This was astonishing to me because growing up in California, almost anywhere you look, you see, well, more California.  We made our way to our seats just as the lights dimmed and soon the entire place was ignited by the performance. I was enchanted and awestruck by the show, and the night was altogether otherworldly.

The morning after, Shawnie left for a while and I went to take a shower. Blasting one of my favorite albums from my phone, New Found Glory’s Radiosurgery, I tried to relax in the warm water. I was quite successful until I heard a woman’s voice saying, “Eleanore?” There was a knock on the bathroom door, which I found alarming since I was positive I was home alone. As it were, Shawn failed to notify me that his mother was going to stop by and drop things off. She was supposed to leave things on the table and leave, but instead she decided that it might frighten me to hear footsteps downstairs. She decided to rectify this by surprising me in the shower…which completely frightened me. At the very least, it was an extremely interesting way to meet a friend’s parent.

AND THEN…

THERE WAS CHRISTMAS.

On Christmas Eve we headed to the Detroit Opera House to watch an incredible performance by Shen Yun Performing Arts. This was also a complete surprise to me, but brought light as to why I was told to bring several formal outfits.When we arrived at the Opera House it was clear to see why formal dress was required; the entire place was magnificent, especially with all the holiday lights. Though as you can see from the photo above, they paled in comparison to the chandeliers. I present to you a picture of Shawn and I in order to prove that I am indeed a real girl, and not simply a word producing robot.

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The Shen Yun performance was astounding. The dancing, the storytelling and the impeccable costumes whisked me away into a world not of my own, which is my favorite place to go.  We then went to eat with ShawnEShawn’s family, a small group of lovely humans with a great sense of humor. (Well, of course I didn’t eat at the restaurants, but naturally, I had snacks). By the end of the day I was filled with joy and felt altogether wonderful, but my spine was sending lightning through my body and my spoons were more than depleted. Still I retained my good mood, though a few tears were shed because of the pain.

As I go through my life as a chronically ill woman who doesn’t have much time to be chronically ill, I often experience a mix of joy and frustration. The joy comes from the constant thought of, “look how much I have done today and I’m still going, I’m such a badass!” Of course, usually when that thought crosses my mind, it is quickly followed by my body finally giving up for the day, and the frustration floods me, trying to keep up with the deluge of pain that also sets in. It’s always discouraging when even the best days, at least physically, can sometimes end badly. However, the past few days I’ve only had moderate pain, and for that I am thankful.

On Christmas Day Shawnie’s sister and I concocted a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and of course, gluten free pancakes for the rest of the family. His mother and sister were amazingly understanding of my dietary restrictions cleaning, scrubbing, and running everything past me. I don’t remember the last time I had a large breakfast with people like that, but I enjoyed it so much. Everything, at least according to my heart and mind, felt perfect. And everything to my tummy felt delicious.

The day went on and the celebration continued. Trees, lights, presents and people. Everything felt simple and nice, and though being around someone else’s family made me feel slightly anxious, many of them made me feel welcomed. And you know what? They did a pretty fantastic job. At around 9pm we headed home, plopped on the couch in happy exhaustion, and watched Beauty and the Beast followed by none other than the Doctor Who Christmas special, because you can’t be a proper nerd without ending your Christmas with the main doctor.

Today is Boxing Day and I’ve spent the majority of it doing absolutely nothing, which I think is more than needed in order to replenish my spoons. However, I can say without a doubt this has been the best Christmas that I can remember. Despite a tumultuous year, the ending of it has been more pleasant than I could have hoped for. At least for now, it seems my misery has loosened its grip on me.  I can only hope this loveliness continues indefinitely for the rest of this year as well as the ones to come.

Things end. That’s all. Everything ends…and that’s sad. But everything begins again too…and that’s always happy. Be happy; I’ll look after everything else.

~Doctor Who 

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