I am going to try a new thing this year, at least for a little while to see how I like it. I'm going to start publishing more of my day-to-day thoughts and feelings on life and stuff. It's not going to be eloquent and there may not even being a beginning, middle or end, but I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway. Maybe I will learn something from the process. Maybe it will be a huge waste of time. But I'm doing it. So, if you're not looking for some journal-style, full up stream-of-consciousness writing, take a hard pass on the paragraphs that follow. Also, heads up, I'm a potty mouth in real life, so, be warned:
Winter just isn't my season. I mean, parts of it can be beautiful and lovely. There's something playful and crisp about that clean sheet of bright white snow on the ground. But, that's not what I see on a daily basis. I see the mud and and the ice and the freezing damp. I love to stare out the windows and watch the snow globe around me, but I still feel the ache in my bones and my joints from every little chill.
You're probably thinking I am too young to be this jaded, this grumpy. Fuck, I'm thinking I'm too young to think and feel this way. Winter used to mean bundling up in as many layers as possible, to run out the door, slipping and sliding on the way. We'd grab a sled, maybe bickering over who got the broken one, and fly over the hill as fast as we could. Maybe climbing back up that icy hill through hip-deep snowdrifts wasn't always a blast, but there was the promise of the return trip down the hill to bolster your spirits. After the cold and effort of dragging sleds had finally sapped our super-kid strength, we'd retreat inside, chilled and most likely fighting, but happy to get warm again and drink a mug of homemade hot cocoa fresh from the stove.
It doesn't really feel that way anymore. I guess when childhood finally slips out the door, you're left with the soft & fuzzy memories alongside the hard reality of a house full of windows that need to be replaced and walls that either aren't insulated at all or otherwise probably need more insulation. And thanks to said walls and windows, an exorbitant heating bill, even though it's constantly cold and we avoid turning up the heat until we just can't stand it any longer. I'm not stressed - you're stressed!
Maybe it's the fibromyalgia, or vitamin D deficiency, or SAD ... Maybe I'm just more depressed or anxious in the winter thanks to the short days and inability to spend long hours outside. But, winter, for a long while now, has been a struggle for me.
I don't really know the secret to handling this time of year. I think it's one of the reasons I never make New Years Resolutions. I know that after the intense work schedule of the holidays, when I make most of my income for the entire year in the span of 6-8 short weeks, it's just a slow decline into winter, into slower sales, into more fibro pain, more anxiety and general grumpiness.
I wish I could find strategies to settle into, maybe even embracing the qualities of this season. Embracing seasonality really speaks to me, and has helped me through the slowing days of autumn. Now I relish the coming fall leaves ... although they are significantly subdued now that we live in Pennsylvania rather than New Hampshire. When I think of winter, I just think of myself as a grumpy bear who wants to crawl into my cave and scratch the eyes out of anyone who bothers me.
Of course, though, I have to wonder if it's not just winter, but something larger I'm unhappy with or about. Maybe all this increased time spent indoors has mirrored increased introspection, and I'm not liking what I'm finding. Maybe winter makes me think about stagnation, when I am so desperate for growth and for change.
The sensible part of me keeps trying to chime in: "This is an opportunity! Quiet and interiority can be such a positive space for deeper growth. It's a time to work on yourself and your life in different ways." The part of me that's annoyed with the world right now tells the other part of myself to, "Go fuck yourself!"
The other day between working on orders and attempting to tidy up my mess of an office (SUBNOTE: I HATE that my office is a mess right now. I really wanted to purchase new furniture and fixtures that would fit my space better so I could put things away in a more sensible manner. However, since we are attempting a kitchen renovation right now, and I am the only one making significant income in our partnership while my wife is finishing school, I just can't justify that investment of funds. It's not that big of a thing, really. I mean, eventually the renovation work will be over, my wife will get a job when she finishes her degree and I will eventually invest in a better office setup. But for now, I step into this space and I think about the chaos. Every. Single Day. Every time I walk in here. Like a fucking ticking time bomb that I can't appear to stop.) I even thought, I should really do some yoga. Like right now, just put everything down and do some yoga. Maybe it will ease this horrible migraine and relax my jaw. Anyone else tend to clench their jaw when they're stressed or tense? Apparently I like to carry ALL of my stress in my jaw. It hurts like a mother fucker. Go figure, when I get stressed, my body literally makes it incredibly painful to simply communicate verbally, or even think straight. Major help.
Anyway, I got off track here. I was saying that I thought I should do some yoga. This was a good thought - years of training through therapy as a teenager were responsible for this thought. How can I intercept bad habits and try to halt tension and anxiety in it's tracks? But, do you know what I did instead? I justified continuing my behavior patterns by finishing my orders, running them over to the post office, shoveling the deck and walkway and taking my dog for a walk. Because, all those things needed and had to be done. And me doing yoga, well that was a thing on the wish list.
What a fucked up thing to think.
So maybe I was kinda wrong when I said, a few paragraphs above there, I don't know how to cope with the winter ANGRY-BEAR-BITCH thing I have going on. Maybe, for some stupid reason, I am avoiding employing the tools I have acquired after years of therapy. Hmm... Yeah, this whole self-awareness as part of self-care thing can be a real pain in the you-know-what. I'm just looking for the thing that going to make me climb back up the hill in hip-deep snow, you know? What's the thing, or combination of things, that will give me that flying-down-an-iced-over-snow-covered-hill feeling?
**Featured image by Jacky Watt**