As the December issue of IMAGE Magazine lands on shelves, our editor-in-chief tells us what's in store
Quite surprisingly, when I think of the moments that stand out for me this past year, the day I spent soaked to the skin, wading waist-high through mud is right up there with the best of them. Back in October, I signed my brother up to do the Hell & Back 8km family challenge with me. I told him it was because his two young nephews wanted to do it, but really I knew I wanted to do it – I just wasn’t sure why.
And then I read camogie player (and Banshee Press co-founder) Eimear Ryan’s Power Player piece on page 57. Eimear talks about the fact that “so much of regular life is spent repelling rain, avoiding muddy grass, blocking out ambient noise with earphones” and camogie is about anything but. It’s about “leaning into those same conditions, embracing them. Listening to the shrill whistle and lying on your back on wet grass as the drizzle rains down”. In a world where Eimear feels women are “conditioned to move unobtrusively, de-escalating situations and avoiding danger, trying not to take up too much space” playing camogie makes her feel alive.
And I guess in my own non-contact sport playing way, that day in Killruddery reminded me how good it can feel to simply feel – to revel in the physical and discover you are so much more able than you thought.
This year, it’s not a case of what I want to get for Christmas, but what I want to do. Namely, more of the above. The chances of me taking up the hurl are slim, I’ll admit, but running around in the mud now I know I can do. And let’s face it, the best bits about these festive few weeks are rarely summed up by what you can stuff in a stocking, but more about the moments each of us look forward to most.
For fashion director Marie Kelly, it’s unleashing the seasonal sparkle. “From the moment you unapologetically eat that first advent calendar chocolate for breakfast, the (non-sequinned) gloves are off,” she proclaims jubilantly on page 24. While Holly Hughes hilariously captures the plight, on page 62, of the “self-confessed terrible vegan, annoying daughter and atrocious climate activist who, even as she’s bemoaning global waste continues to spoon stuffing straight from the saucepan into her mouth”.
Emer O’Reilly-Hyland writes about the peace she finds in the calm of Christmas Eve mass, indeed regular mass, as she proudly comes out and admits to being “a practising member of the Catholic church”. As a pro-choice modern woman, she argues eloquently on page 60 for the right to enjoy, without judgement, the faith that enriches her life.
While Amanda Cassidy quite sagely reminds us on page 168 that “It isn’t actually mandatory to panic-buy LOL dolls in Smyths or replace all our dinner plates with fir tree and silver versions with matching tea-towels” just because it’s December.
Whatever form enrichment takes for you this festive season, I hope you get to wade, waist-high, in it.
The December issue of IMAGE magazine is on shelves now.