I don’t know what it is about the Winter (uh, scratch that, yeah I do. It’s cold and miserable and barren like a spinster’s woooomb) but every year, generally in the weeks following ‘the holidays’, I come to this almost cathartic juncture in my life where I just shut down. At this point, I have pretty much come to terms with my Winter blues and regard them in the way that other mammals might regard their hibernation practices.
Early January hits. I become disenchanted with the goings on of those around me. I stop making manic lists of things that I need to keep track of. I don’t wash my face everyday. I start drinking juice out of sippy cups and dressing like Daria. And more often than not, I want to be curled up in my bed, covered in piles of blankets and small, fuzzy dogs. These are the days I want to come home from work, eat a box of Annies mac ‘n’ cheese to my face, and invest myself only in Grey’s Anatomy marathons where I become way too attached to the plot and blind to the episodic devices and then end up sobbing uncontrollably for the loss of some character that was introduced only to be killed off and I fall for it every time cause I’m a sentimental sucker. Go ahead, judge me. I know it’s bad.
Now, in my defense, I will say that despite this tendency towards mid-Winter lethargy, I have, in spite of myself, continued a moderately active lifestyle. I work forty hours a week, I perform at an open mic nearly every Tuesday, I participate in a writer’s workshop every other week, try to go dancing twice a week, plus I am a good dog-mom who manages some sort of outdoor activity with my pooch every day. I manage a hefty social life. I’m good at my job. I try to participate in creative activities as often as I can. The thing is though, that right now I’m just pretending to get off on these otherwise enjoyable activities. I might as well be faking orgasms all day long. I really just want to be under my covers.
Honestly, it takes a while for my brain to identify that this is starting to happen to me. Sometimes it translates as a sort of Eeyore-like slowness that I mistakenly interpret as flu symptoms. It’s kind of like the last week or so of Mono when you sort of feel like you can go back to school but you’re so used to drinking all of your meals out of a straw and watching reruns of “Family Matters” that part of you feels ill every time you try to remove yourself from bed. That how I feel right now. Almost sick.
It all came to a head yesterday when I was trying to motivate myself to go to the redemption center to recycle about six months worth of conglomerated alcoholism (a community’s work–not just mine). I was on the toilet, having the day’s first pee (at 11:30, mind you) and I realize that I’ve been sitting there for so long that my foot has fallen asleep. I’ve been sitting on the freakin’ toilet for something like twenty-five minutes, reasoning with myself why I can put off getting rid of my recyclables for one more day. These were the thoughts running through my head:
1) It’s not like my recyclables smell.
2) If I wait a little while longer, there’ll be more to recycle and I’ll make mad loot.
3) I really don’t wanna have to drag all that shit out to my car and then into the liquor store.
4) Redemption centers do smell. Like stale beer and loneliness.
And the list goes on. I basically went through every strategic method of avoidance possible and didn’t even realize how pathetic it was until I looked down and sort of had this out of body experience where I’m on the john, holding a wad of toilet paper, paralyzed by the idea of leaving my house and practically going through the four steps of death in my head just to get out of it.
So, I collected myself, put on my pants, and lugged a ton of empties to my car and drove over to Liquors 44 to get something back for all the business I’ve given them. I did feel mildly victorious having returned with my $5.45 and thusly rewarded myself by creeping back into bed and shutting out the world for the next six hours. If I’m going to get through this seasonal shit, I have to supplement the business of life with the ability to fall out of it.
I wish I could say that I was one of those people who performs beautifully under stress and mild depression. That I have some sort of super-healthy reverb reaction to melancholy that causes me to to pick myself up and take a morning jog everyday before work so that I might feel replenished and light-hearted about each new day. But it doesn’t work that way. Bummer.
I like to think of myself as a “cup half full” realist constantly tricking myself into a hopeful demeanor. I am motivated only by a “this too shall pass” mentality, because if I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that time is the only thing that makes a shitty situation less shitty. So eventually I do come out of the funk. I start answering my phone. I stop listening to every rainy day playlist I’ve ever made, and I start enjoying things again.
For now? I guess I gotta cut myself some slack. Maybe it’s just the universe telling me that in order to be a functioning person again come February, I have to use January to let the fleecy warmth of indifference be my boyfriend. I’m okay with that. (There’s that hopeful demeanor I was talking about.)
If anyone wants to spoon, I got two arms and no plans.