Now in the dark world where I dwell, ugly things, and surprising things, and sometimes little wondrous things, spill out in me constantly, and I can count on nothing.
—A Scanner Darkly
Winter has traditionally been a difficult time. In my youth, the holidays were filled with family gatherings where I never found my place. Then I started coming into my own, but everyone else began spending time with their significant others, leaving me an observer with a surrogate family. Eventually, I grew the need for a connection with people who could better understand the person I’d become, and again found myself in exile.
This year is no different. The weather has been particularly punishing, with extreme cold fronts that make any form of travel a literal pain. It’s a fine line between inspiration and oppression when trapped in a winter wonderland. Even after a week of Darren’s company, along with new instruments and some of the stickiest of the icky, I haven’t been able to shake this feeling of loneliness.
Continue reading “almost like the blues”…
It’s been a few weeks since I left the comic book shop. I’m glad to have gone through the experience of being a professional nerd, to have met the particular set of challenges involved and flourished, but I could tell it was time to quit when the stress was carrying over from one shift to the next, even with days between.
Without the need to run tournaments, or the pressure of dealing with customers, I have a chance to breathe again. That means doing my best not to worry about being productive or happy. Just trying to feel okay can be enough of a day-to-day challenge.
Their special bond comes from the fact that she lets him get away with more than I do.
Heather and I are taking the next few months off to regain our balance and adjust to our new dosages of SNRIs. Now that I’m in a place where I’m feeling more safe and secure, I can tell it’s still hard for me to let go of negative thoughts, even when the stimulus is gone. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’ve been fighting depression my whole life, and the fact that I’ll likely be on even more medication for the rest of it.
I wish I could turn to writing for catharsis, but I’m not strong enough to process the memories. Parts of the past are still too recent, too familiar, too painful. And sometimes it’s hard to think of the person I was only a year ago, even knowing how far I’ve come. I’m starting to realize that time is what I need most, which means I also need patience and trust from my friends.
The only commitments I’ve kept are my playgroup on Sundays, and my Wednesdays with Lisa. Otherwise, I’m lost in Guild Wars; the easiest way to escape and feel productive at the same time is to work on daily achievements by slaying dragons.
And that’s how I lost the Autumn. I didn’t even realize the leaves had turned and fallen. Now that I’m not working (and I’m the one who always hosts), it feels like I never leave the house. The only reminder that winter is here is when the heat comes on, and the smell of dry furnace air fills the room. I was looking forward to the first snowfall of the season, but the plows have already been out and I haven’t had a chance to take it all in.
Winter has always been difficult at times. At ‑15 or below, breath becomes a layer of ice on the windows when parked outside, and I can do nothing but wait for the car to warm up again so I can see enough to drive. At that point, it means I’m sitting in the car for longer than my commute. I try to take it as a good way to practice patience, but it’s a hard wait after an eight hour shift on my feet. It’s still winter in all it’s muffling glory though, the time in the year I most appreciate living in Canada. Girls and cats alike are more affectionate too, and I don’t mind being the source of heat.
I tend to get up around sunrise now, and every time I step outside before the rest of the world wakes up, it feels like I’m born again. It’s a chance for me to hit the reset button on the last day. To let go of the past, even if it happened only seven hours ago, and become a blank slate.
I also gradually broke the habit of checking my feeds after feeling jaded about news and media, then coming across this article. After months of abstention, I can say that I’ve gained time and lost nothing. It’s left me feeling increasingly disconnected from the world, but I know that means I’m beginning to learn what really matters.
Few people have been able to fill the void lately. The ones who do sing to me the unashamedly erotic songs of John Dowland and help me test new decks.
Through it all, I’ve been trying to take five breaths every now and then, inhaling and exhaling a little more fully than usual. Trying not to live like it’s a friday every day. Trying to figure out if I should apologize for using your song to score the moments I shared with someone else. Trying to reconcile my old Taoist beliefs with my new Buddhist views. Trying to be happy with the person I am, instead of letting discontent drive self-improvement.
Frigid winter days are teaching me patience and vulnerability. Some are easier than others. I’ve been working with the fickle swings instead of against them. Otherwise, it’s a constant struggle when trying to impose static order on inherently unstable processes. The hard part is making plans when you don’t know how you’ll feel from one day to the next.
Back in the day when we were doing covers of Frank Ocean songs. One of the most recognizable things about Jesse’s room are instruments strewn about.
The greatest test of my progress so far will be an acoustic show Jesse asked me to play with him on Sunday. Anxiety has been getting the better of me lately, and the prospect of having only two nights of rehearsal does nothing to assuage this.
I’ve been keeping in mind that we were able to pull off a decent performance last time when I didn’t know the show was going to happen until a few hours prior; one of those exercises to foster positive experiences and combat negativity bias. Fortunately, Jesse is a great frontman to be behind, cause he commands the attention of anyone watching, also taking the attention away from nervous fingers and live jitters.
The journey of self-discovery has been difficult. When there’s a history of trauma, it’s inevitable that an uncomfortable feelings get stirred up every now and then. I take care of myself by making sure I see the important people on a consistent basis and living in those moments. The little ways to heal are found in both the experiences themselves and the time one takes to internalize those experiences.
This is how I learn that self-compassion isn’t self-pity, and that most people bring less kindness to themselves than to others. To get on my own side, I’ve been visualizing myself as a child, just as worthy of care as any other. I would wish the best for that little person, and it helps me understand that I should wish the best for myself as well.
The holiday season is officially over when it doesn’t feel right to watch Christmas specials of Only Fools and Horses. The Trotter boys are out of their element, trying to strike it rich in exotic locales, and the Peckham flat is too far away for things to feel normal. Still, watching them makes me miss the UK more than ever. I’ve taken to episodes of Sherlock to get my dose of London nights until I can find a way to make it over there again.
Pointer of quarry, tamer of cats.
Over here, it’s been a faithful Canadian winter. Bouts of varied snowfall, record-breaking lows, and a spot of freezing rain here and there. My guitar must be achingly dry as the modest humidifier helplessly fails to maintain balance against the constant churn of the furnace.
I’ve been picking her up again, rebuilding my blisters and re-learning old songs. Sometimes I wonder how I was ever able to play certain passages, but knowing I have before makes it easier the second time around. This time it feels a little different though. I have a better reach and a more confident picky, along with some new pains that have found their way into my hands.
The cold that permeates the house means Dolly prefers sleeping in her bed over any one spot, and I can carry her around with me from room to room to keep me company. Byron is rarely far away. Even though he’s not as affectionate as Dolly, he’s still my cat in the way he comes to walk on me when I wake, and the ritual playtime we have after teeth are brushed.
With the cats forming a little nest wherever I go, and the view of ice and snow just outside the window, I have little reason to leave the house nowadays.