Yesterday was Halloween, or as my tics renamed it:
“National fake blood in your eyelashes day.”
“National diabetes advancement afternoon.”
“National knife a pumpkin night.”
Last night the nature garden at work hosted a spooky Halloween event. Over two hundred children and adults came down to the woods to take part in a terrifying quest. The garden had been transformed into a magical and eerie land.
There was a pumpkin graveyard, a haunted UV playhouse, a giant spiders’ lair and a skeleton disco.
I was at the gate welcoming families and handing out glow sticks and magic tokens. It was quite hectic at times, but being on the gate meant I got to see everyone’s amazing costumes.
Halloween’s one of my favourites annual events. I first got involved four years ago, only a few months after I’d started working for the organisation, and it was the first proper community event I’d helped with there. I’ve done every year since and I love seeing the garden transformed in new and creative ways each time.
Over the last four years my tics have changed considerably. My mobility’s deteriorated and I now have ‘ticcing fits’ almost every day. But despite this my involvement at work and in my community has changed very little. Of course I’ve had to adapt, accept more support, and do some things in a slightly different way. For some reason it’s Halloween that reminds me of this most strongly.
Being reminded of this continuity is important because some days do feel really tough. Occasionally I get downhearted and frustrated by the things I can’t do for myself anymore and it can be easy to focus on what I feel I’ve lost – like going for walks or spending time by myself. But yesterday as I took a break from the gate and roamed the wood taking photos I realised I was doing exactly the same things as I’d done the first time I was there. I’m going to make more effort to look out for and celebrate these moments in future.