Christmas Message 2021

Almost every year since starting Touretteshero we’ve made a funny Christmas video. My favourites include this animation and this royal message. Last year we kept things simple and shared a heartfelt message of solidarity.

When it came to writing this year’s message, I just wanted to say what was on mind – the unchecked COVID-19 infections and the reality that those of us with additional risk factors are being left behind.

I recorded this message before the Omicron and the unprecedented rates of infection, and somehow everything in the message seems even more relevant now. After the video itself, the rest of this post is a transcript of what I said, biscuits and cats included! Please share this post with anyone you think might benefit from it.

Hi, I’m Jess. I’m a white woman with short curly hair and a very cool wheelchair. I’m wearing a bright blue jumper.

Welcome to my Christmas video!

While I usually try to make them funny or playful, for this one, I’m just going to tell you what’s on my mind.

In some ways this year has been even harder than 2020, and that’s saying something!

COVID has shaken us.

It changed our society overnight, and the repercussions continue to echo through all our lives.

But these destabilising effects haven’t been experienced equally.

Some communities are feeling more of the impact than others.

Disabled and chronically ill people, health and social care users and workers, refugees and migrants, those without recourse to public funds, and anyone who isn’t buffered by wealth, have all experienced increased marginalisation.

Many have disappeared from view altogether.

We’ve been made to think this is inevitable, but it’s not. It’s part of a pernicious ideology held by our government and the mainstream media.

There have been times in the past year when I’ve felt so invisible, I thought I might disappear.

Times when I’ve felt left behind by people celebrating their freedom at the expense of my own.

And more times than I can count when political rhetoric has been so clearly at odds with reality.

A photograph of Jess Thom, a white woman with short curly hair and a very cool wheelchair sitting in front of a large window. This is a still from Jess's 2021 festive message, Jess is wearing a bright blue hoodie and is looking straight into the camera.

I’ve also experienced moments of deep connection, bold solidarity, and guiding lights.

The pandemic has been a powerful and timely reminder of how interconnected we all are.

And how vulnerable we can be when we fail to look beyond our individual circumstances.

The good news is that there are ways to resist!

In the last year mine have included:

Appreciating moments of joyful connection and collaborating and exchanging knowledge with others to create a more socially just world.

As we enter the festive period, I’m going to be holding tight to these ideas.

In my view, joy, rest, and imagination are key to creating the world I want to live in, biscuit, and this is the perfect time of year to start putting this into practice.

I’m wishing you all a very happy festive season, and a rebellious New Year.

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