So it’s all credit to Selma Blair for calling out the emotional volatility that goes hand-in-hand with what festive crooners have long insisted is “the most wonderful time of the year”.
Sharing a trio of festive photos of herself and her son on Instagram, the Legally Blonde star said that this year had been “a quiet Christmas” for her family unit, adding that “I have had trouble staying awake. And crying”.
Blair, who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), went onto mention the various difficulties that people face at Christmas. The actor lost her mother, Molly Cooke, earlier this year, and she talks about how tough the festive season can be if you – like her – are grieving.
After she passed away in May, Blair shared a moving tribute to her mum, describing her as “formidable, funny, quick, striking and generous”.
Of course, Covid is another challenge of this year’s celebrations and Blair gives thanks to “the healthcare workers and teachers and restaurant owners” caught in the midst of the outbreak in her latest post.
On top of the pandemic, the actor, who became part of Hollywood’s pop cultural lexicon with her breakthrough role in 1998’s Cruel Intentions, also has MS to contend with.
Since sharing her diagnosis in 2018, Blair has been open about how this debilitating autoimmune condition, which affects the body’s nervous system, has changed her life.
“I feel sick. This is what happens. There is no bright light of glamour,” she wrote, in a moving post about the side-effects of MS earlier this year. “It is long nights. Almost all nights. My muscles in my face and neck are in spasm. Or so tight I can’t even find a way to stretch.
“[…] But I am not killed by it,” she went on. “I am strong enough not to be taken down any more than the average bear.”
Blair’s willingness to share what she’s been going through has been credited with creating solidarity and hope among the estimated 2.3 million people worldwide who struggle with a diagnosis of MS.
And her latest words are a tonic for anyone who’s felt the pressure to be “on form” this Christmas. No matter what issue you’re dealing with – from bereavement to loneliness or a lingering sense of anxiety – it’s OK not to be OK.
It’s your Christmas and you can cry if you want to; just remember you’re far from alone in doing so. And the more you share those feelings, as Blair has now, the better you and everyone else who’s lost their way around you will feel.