Hallowe’en is done and dusted and fun was had all ’round. Last year was the first year we went Trick or Treating with the kids; a friend’s mother lives in an estate just down the road from us, so for the past two years we’ve gone and had dinner with friend and her daughter and then gone Trick or Treating in her area.

It’s both the same and different to how I remember growing up. The “standard” holidays were always a big deal in my family, so Hallowe’en was always celebrated in plenty of style with cousins and friends and lots of effort put into costumes. While I’m not completely “out there” in terms of yearly costumes – and I feel that I’m often “phoning it in” a bit due to the general busy-ness of life – I definitely seem to be hanging out on the higher gore end of the Hallowe’en scale compared to other friends.

But not compared to my family. It’s nice to see that the traditions have been maintained and, if anything, strengthened as the years have gone by. Hallowe’en, Christma, Easter and birthdays make me feel at home in my family.

During the years I spent in Japan, that was one of the more difficult things for me. I felt very alone around the various feasts and festivals that would have been celebrated back here. And what’s more I was made to feel silly and childish for even wanting to celebrate them. Yes, even Christmas. Yes, even my birthday.

So now we get to celebrate with gusto and I get to pass on chunks of my childhood to my own kids. I love seeing them get so excited about it all. I love the fuss. I love the ritual. I love the marking of changing seasons and the connection (in a way) to a wider community – stretching back in time across the generations as well. I don’t mind that the holiday has become a bit Americanised in part with pumpkins instead of turnips carved, and references to Trick or Treating and a (not to me!) ridiculous array of costumes available in shops.

And now, onto Christmas!

Well no, not straight away. I also feel like the holidays get a bit diluted if you have too long of a run into them, so I’m very anti any Christmas trees up in November, but I will probably begin a bit of the shopping and ask the kids to make out their Santa lists. Much like with the Easter Bunny, we shall email him at which all decisions become final. They’re still at the point in their lives where obsessions can change really quickly and last year we ran up against the problem of their gifts having been decided back in November, but by December they were not quite as into those things anymore. But then you worry that the thing they’ll want will be gone, and a little bit of organisation could have saved that.

I know, I know, very minor, extremely first-world problems.

Meanwhile, back here in my body … the walk around the estate last night broke me physically. I was in so much pain by the end and it was really really unpleasant. But at least it helps me realise that I’m definitely not going back to work after midterm regardless of how much better I’m feeling in general.

It’s kind of weird being “sick” in this way because I’m for sure not going to be hiding out in my house for the next four weeks, but I also feel a bit embarrassed if I run into students when I’m out and about, probably looking just fine.

I guess people who have invisible disabilities live this every day of their lives – trying to use the appropriate accommodations for them like parking spaces and toilets and having strangers judge them non-stop. You really have to work to counter the years of evolution telling you that it really really matters what society thinks of you, and if you don’t toe the line then you’re going to die alone in the wilderness.

Evolution just can’t keep up with modern society. All the things that are likely to kill us now don’t trigger the fear response, and yet heights and tigers and spiders put the ever-living terror into our souls.

For me, it’s only going to be a while longer anyway. I’ll just shrug internally as much as I can and get on with my days because you can control a lot of thing, but not what teenage girls are going to think of you.