Not in Ottawa, Obnoxiously Festive

I was supposed to travel to Ottawa this weekend to attend an event that I’d been looking forward to for months.

While acknowledging that there’s basically no chance that you don’t see where I’m headed with this, I’ll nonetheless take the liberty of allowing myself a dramatic, bold-and-italics-style reveal.

No Ottawa for me.

I’ll admit that when my doctor informed me that the trip wasn’t medically advisable because of what’s currently happening with my health, I was tempted to pretend that I hadn’t heard her and proceed as planned. To my credit, I soon reminded myself that I’m a responsible adult, which is sometimes the worst.

Unsurprisingly, cancelling the trip brought up a range of challenging emotions (which are also sometimes the worst). The organizers of the conference had gone above and beyond to facilitate my participation, even arranging for a support person trained in seizure first aid to fly and share a hotel room with me. I thus felt/feel as if I’m letting them down. The event was for an organization to which I devote a lot of time and about which I’m super, super passionate, and I’d really hyped myself up for the overall experience. Disappointment—again, sometimes the worst. What got me most of all, though, was the realization that despite my incessant and annoying talk about the importance of being realistic, yadda yadda yadda, I’d managed to convince myself that cancelling trips due to my health was a thing of the past—that by having a remarkably positive attitude, if I do say so myself, about needing to reschedule my vacation to BC earlier this year, I’d immunized myself against such things ever happening to me again because that’s how life works in my brain when it’s at its most optimistic and stubborn.

Indeed, I was evidently finding it hard to frame this as anything but a monumental disappointment and failure. Until, that is, I spotted a magical, glittery, tinsel-filled silver lining, a miracle provided by our overly consumeristic culture, in the seasonal aisles of pretty much every local store.

As it turns out, not going to Ottawa has, as predicted, sucked; it’s also, however, been an excellent excuse to fully immerse myself in obnoxious Christmasing.

So I’m dealing with my human feelings about missing the conference (and about other difficult stuff going on right now) in the most expeditious way I know how: with a heavy dose of holiday *everything.* My tree is up, and almost every surface of my apartment is decorated. I’ve been playing a custom Spotify playlist of Christmas music on repeat. The same one. For days. I’ve already gone through several boxes of holiday tea, which I drink more or less exclusively from one of two mugs I own featuring a delightful depiction of Frosty the Snowman. I’ve completed several (very time-consuming) Christmas craft projects and have many more in queue. I’ve read three classic Christmas books meant for adults and a few meant for children. The release date of Christmas in Dollywood is in my calendar.

If you know me in real life, you’re likely not surprised by my maniacal cheer since Christmas is something I’m as a general rule super into (in the very idiosyncratic way that I celebrate it, that is). This year, I’m more dedicated than ever to figuring out what I want the holidays to look like—and to wringing every bit of joy I can from them. Judging from the holiday-ornament LED permaglow illuminating my living room, I’m making good progress toward achieving this goal.


I embroidered a tote bag that reflects my feelings about Christmas (but in no way reflects my feelings about missing my trip to Ottawa).

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