One Christmas in hospital, handmade cards were my salvation.
With time on my hands and a head that wouldn’t behave, having a clear focus was a godsend.
After months of food and failure and going round in circles, a tangible product was just what the doctor had ordered; and, being able to give something – rather than always being on the receiving end – was a pleasant change.
Since that year, I’ve perfected the art of handmade cards and it’s been part of my traditional festivity. Baking mince pies or getting stuck into the Christmas catering might have been a leap too far, but making Christmas card has the same tinsel tinged effect and seemed to nurture a little of the festive spirit that got a little lost behind my eating disorder.
This year, I decided that I was far too busy for handmade cards now that I was ‘better’ and ‘working’ and joining in with (rather than opting out of) the Christmas parties. I thought that, after a whole bulimia free year, I no longer needed a distraction; and that buying cards might be a positive indication of my ‘normality’ –
Until I remembered that handmade cards seemed to bring a smile to people’s faces; and, that there’s nothing like a little personal attention to show someone that you care.
So, I have dug out my glitter and my Christmas stamps and a fancy hairdryer which is marketed as an embossing gun, and I am making time for a little creativity; because there are a few people that I’d like to say a great big thank you too.
And, with each cut out square and glued down star, I can feel the festive tension slackening, slightly; and, the focus shifting, subtly, from me – to them –
Because, with each slightly strange looking – but painstakingly constructed – card and every mini manuscript message, each relationship is illuminated, momentarily –
And I’m realising that handmade cards might have become a part of my identity that I’d quite like to keep.