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December 26, 2016

A Doctor is for Life, Animated, Not Just for Christmas

Nothing comes between me and fandom, except health.

The choice to change plans was just a few taps away, up until hours before the appointment. It was only the morning after that I realised how close(ly connected) certain elements were to form signs pointing to peace of mind.

For four days, my conscience yelled loudly: IT’S TOO DANGEROUS TO BE OUT THAT LATE! SAVE MONEY! THERE’S ALWAYS NEXT TIME! YOU CAN BE THERE IN SPIRIT! LOOK AFTER YOUR TEETH!

Whereas intuition fought it by softly whispering: “Doctor’s appointment”. Goforit. Why not do both? Or reschedule. It could be the last time.

Decision fatigue held me back therefore casting another shadow of doubt. But I wasn’t going to withdraw myself from fully indulging in the festivities, like last year, despite now feeling increasingly on edge, like Winona Ryder in Stranger Things, as 2017 draws near. Anything can happen, good or bad. Until the next opportunity comes along, which I cannot afford to miss, I’ll never know if I’m on the nice or naughty list. Possibly both, because:

  • Nice – I made a friend’s wish come true from afar
  • Naughty – I’m a bad fan for not showing up to the launch party

We weren’t invited but it would’ve been great to soak in the atmosphere at my favourite cinema in London and share the experience with buddies just before the holiday. I also didn’t get a chance to make amends with a certain somebody over a misunderstanding that occurred late this summer.

People and moments are fleeting like rainbows. You have limited time with them. Then they vanish.

Fortunately I’ve been a good cat, for I made a start on cleaning up the animation for the ident, so that evening did not go to waste. Quite a pleasant one, too, I was on fire, working while watching Let’s Plays of The Last Guardian.

The developer spent 10 years putting a lot of love and care into this game, about a boy and a griffin exploring an ancient ruin. As the boy the player tames the beast Trico and commands it to reach high places, pull on levers etc and sometimes he has to pull spears out of its feathery pelt. In return Trico protects him from malevolent forces and (sometimes) prevents him falling down the abyss. Both companions grow to trust each other over the course of the game as they unravel the mystery of what brought them there.

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In the documentary feature Life, Animated, which was playing for a limited time in select cinemas, Owen Suskind finds comfort in connecting with fictional characters far more so than real people, interpreting the exaggerated emotions and story situations depicted in the immortal drawings to make sense of the world around him as he grows up. But the real world does not flow like a script. Inconstancy causes anxiety, confusion and sensory overload.

It’s harder for people like Owen, and me, to be practical most of the time and take the same steps neurotypicals would. It’s not easy to talk to people.

Adulthood is becoming far too intense for me to deal with, so I’d rather continue to be my true self and immerse myself in things that champion love, kindness, compassion and acceptance. I should also be braver and take risks. It pays dividends.

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Every Christmas is last Christmas.

The point is, you’re a year older, have more or less gifts, more or less people in your life, and experience things differently. No Christmas is ever quite the same as before. But that sense of wonder hasn’t gone away, even if challenges and trials try to break it from you.

Only the purest form of escapism – Christmas, Doctor Who, sunset walks at the seaside, clay modelling Sprouts for friends – can make us forget it’s still 2016. They’ve also helped me develop my creative communication skills.

I want to go back and tell the younger, angsty, struggling artist version of me, “you wanted this commerical in your life. Come of your room and embrace it!”

So I did…

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Sixth attempt at modelling

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Christmas card design

Cosplayer Mohammed Habakzi with a little friend

Cosplayer Mohammed Habakzi with a little friend

The Return of Doctor Mysterio was everything I hoped for – an hour of pure joy. And of course I melted the couple of times the Doctor said “Lucy” out loud and clear.

And to get me even more jolly, I’ve been offered a place on Animated Women’s Achieve Programme, supported by Disney, a five-week course that aims to boost my career prospects within the industry.

I’m back on track, alive, and at peak zen. But I must take it easy, take good care of myself, and remember…

“Everything ends and that’s always sad, but everything begins again and that’s always happy. Be happy.”

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Boxing Day sets over Aberavon Bay

Further reading:

Do You Suffer from Decision Fatigue?

Thanks MJB Stallmeyer for the link

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