Posts tagged with "winter"

nothing lasts, but nothing is lost

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.

Cat in Tigger costume

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 it1.

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.

Cat and Magic: The Gathering

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.

  1. On top of the anti-inflammatories, probiotics, and psyllium husks I take every day to manage my colitis. []

for you, i am sweeping words together

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.

cats and winter

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.

pulling weeds and planting flowers

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.

house in the woods

 

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.

Jesse arranges

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.

cat and girl

 

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.

torpor

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.

girl in snow

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.

cat in cat bed

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.

finishing the game

It’s been an aimless winter. Some days full of meaning, others passing without so much as a moment worth remembering. I’ve learned to cherish every storm cause each one could be your last. Who knows when you’ll get to walk on trails cut through tangled branches with the snow as wet and thick and heavy as this again?

long driveway with snow

The holidays snuck up on me. I’ve been trying to figure out where all the time has gone and how best to use what’s left. The only decorating I’ve done for the season is a real pine wreath (generously given to me by Steph) hung on the office door. A small act that doesn’t seem like much compared to the glorious ceiling-scraping trees in the houses of my friends and neighbours, but certainly more than I’ve done in the recent years. It’s an easy concession to make against my growing distaste for the commercialized Christmas culture when my room is filled with the scent of sap, scattered pine needles, and other reminders of life.

car-in-snow

The ever-faithful steed.

My existence is defined by what I have left to do, and the list grows ever shorter. I live week-by-week, through cycles of productivity and play, trying to meet each need in turn. It’s always a delicate balance to be managing when so much in life is out of your control.

As for the short term, I’m off to Shirley’s for Christmas and my annual dose of family. It’ll be a complete break from my regular life of single-serving meals and never being around more than one person at a time. I imagine we’ll spend most of the days eating finger foods and watching reality TV among the rambunctious fluster of her kids. I always look forward to seeing how they’re carrying their grown-up voices and how their styles have changed.

hot chocolate

This is the time of year I’m most scared of being left without plans1, but recently I haven’t had enough time alone. It’s left me feeling numb and tired and that’s exactly what I need right now.

Friends still make the best distractions. It’s easy to hide from anything when you’re sharing a blanket and some early episodes of Trailer Park Boys.

  1. Also why I usually make a trip to Toronto. []