Everybody stay calm.
The inevitable has happened. I’ve hit my winter weather wall.
It was snowing the other morning. It hadn’t snowed in a while. The sight of the fat flakes falling and settling over the hard and crusty slabs of December snow was not welcomed in the least. A huge sigh leaked from my lips, a huff, which worked in conjunction with a massive shoulder slump. You could practically hear the theme from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.
Leaning on the kitchen counter with my coffee, flipping through Facebook on my phone. There were slew of photographs of beautiful friends in New Zealand and Australia, looking tanned and relaxed, smiling in sun filled rooms and on luscious beaches with blue skies and green seas. They look happy. They look warm. It makes me remember a time when Benjamin and I used to ride our bicycles on deliciously warm nights, cruising along the dolphin filled Swan River under endless palm trees in Perth. There was this sudden ache–like a shot through the heart, and not in a Bon Jovi, ‘you give love a bad name a bad name’ kind of way. Genuine homesickness for the other side of the world. A physical craving, a hunger pang–the same instinct that Dr Richard Kimble from”The Fugitive”, gets when he knows that the cops were right behind him, and the one-armed man is only one step ahead. Time to move on to the next town.
Blame it on Blue Monday; and the rat tail days of January when the snow is no longer magical but a muddy slush speckled with dog feces, litter and the sediment flakes from the decay of time. What’s Blue Monday you asked? Oh you didn’t? Well this is my god-damned blog and you’re going to listen to every word I say. Sorry that I spilled my drink of you, it’s just that I am practically dripping with diamonds. I could literally kill a man with the rock on my hand, so I can barely hold the glass.
Firstly, I’ll let Wikipedia take the reigns with laying down this explanation:
Blue Monday: “where weather=W, debt=d, time since Christmas=T, time since failing our new year’s resolutions=Q, low motivational levels=M and the feeling of a need to take action=Na. ‘D’ is not defined in the release, nor are units”.
In short, that scientifically measurable moment when the Christmas train runs out of steam. When those credit card bills start to roll in, and the true cost of Christmas rears its ugly head. When you combine what you spent, and what your earned often clash together like the Titanic and that darn iceberg. Although most scientists reckon the theory is a real load of bullocks, but there’s got to be something said for it. The famine following the feast. Feeling fat, cold and so very very poor.
Ordinarily Blue Monday is the third Monday of January; this year it was decided that the 6th, the first Monday after the holiday, was the official date. That’s not depression, that’s the last day of summer camp. For me, it came late–Monday 27th, I felt the beginning of a funk in the same way you feel a cold coming on. And then it overstayed for a solid week. Perhaps Blue Monday has expanded to become the depression equivalent of Boxing Week–when one day just isn’t enough. I can’t put my finger on the issue I just felt…bothered. Emotionally itchy. Like my soul was wearing wool sweater with a large tag scratching the back of its neck. I thought that perhaps I need to work out my issues through the majesty of blogging, but once seated in front of the computer I am greeted with a whole lot of nothingness.
I jot a few pages of notes–shorthand scribbles, as if I’m too annoyed to bother with full sentences. After a measly handful of half-written phrases, I abandon the work for Pinterest. I don’t write for the rest of the week…letting the serial killer chicken scratch marinate in my battered journal. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Truth is I don’t want to open that box inside my heart. I don’t have the energy to break the anxiety down, find its source and record my findings in a humorous and pop-culture laden essay. Obviously, that’s the low-grade depression talking as work usually comes before the reward. It’s a bit like wanting to lose weight by staring in the mirror and wishing you looked different.
You have to sweat a little bit, I suppose, pay your dues, bide your time. Then again, I have been pursing my lips at the whole blogging front. I don’t know if I am quietly blowing minds or if people are just blowing chunks. Elsewhere, someone writes benign pieces about movies, books, or celebrities; or angry tirades about customers, lovers, jobs and children, and readers…and the internet community as a whole are hitting that like button as if it would add years to their life. Someone posts a picture of a snow-covered tree accompanied by a Robert Frost poem, and it gets 38 likes and 52 comments. Nobody likes Robert Frost that much. I mean come on, who do you have to blow to get that kind of response?
(Okay,time out. I won’t actually blow anyone for better ratings, but I would make a fine cup of tea and allow access to my fine record collection. I hope you like Barbra.)
You know, I wore something very similar to work the other day…and it was not well received. Yet Babs shows up at a fashion shoot and lets the photographer snap one picture (as long as her nails and pinkie ring got to photo-bomb the shot). Ah Barbra, now there’s a lady who does what she wants, when she wants, and could claw your fucking eyes out if necessary.
For me, there are few “likes”, and the only comments I get are from “use Rocket Spanish” who writes
“I think the admin of this web site is genuinely working hard for his web page, for the reason that here every stuff is quality based stuff”.
Now there’s a sentence that makes sense. Regardless, I’m glad that someone appreciates that the admin of this web site is genuinely working hard. So good for me. Thanks spam! I shake it off, I think to myself, that it’s just ego–that wanting to be liked that interferes with artistic honesty. But–if there is no response at all–it’s like…well, sure why not? Let’s go there–blowing someone…if they make absolutely no noise, you’d think you were doing a bad job. Maybe you’ve taken him to pleasure town and he’s left his own body and is floating above himself admiring the work of a great genius…or maybe he’s kind of bored and lost interest half way through. To borrow a line from a Kevin Smith film: (which admittedly I thought came from “Mallrats, but was actually from “Chasing Amy”–who knew?)
“Chicks never help you out. They never tell you what to do…. Most of them sit there frozen like a deer in headlights. When a chick goes down on me, I let her know where to go- and what the status is. You gotta handle it like CNN and The Weather Channel–constant updates.”
Blogging and blow jobs…it’s an awful lot of work and you’re really doing it for the other person. Feedback is also essential. So it’s pretty much the same thing. How’s that for a math equation? That’s why they call me the songbird of my generation. When it all comes down to it, I like what I write. I like that each blog goes where it wants…I never know where I’ll end up. Did I think I was going to mention blowjobs when I started this piece a week ago? No. Did I have any idea what I would find when I searched Google Images for “Blow Job, vintage”? Did I think long and hard…(he he, long and hard) about posting one or two of them? Yes. That’s the journey, and I’m happy to follow the thread where it leads. But the occasional spoonful of validation never hurt anyone. A sip of water on the long road to the slimmest shred of creative success. I’m bratty like that…like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka’s factory, wanting everything right away. Not trusting that everything will fall into place as things ordinarily tend to do.
Let’s be honest. Veruca Salt was a dick, and I’m pretty sure she dies in this movie. Her impatience was her fatal flaw, and I share that with the late Ms Salt. I’m trying to do as the bumper sticker tells me and just “let go and let god”, which I do, for increments not longer than it takes to finish a Tic-Tac. I’m of two very distinct minds: more than anything, I want to pay off my student loan debt. It’s a sum that collected over eight years of schooling. I suppose I’ve always been aware of it in the same way that one imagines their own demise–it’s too far down the track to imagine the inevitable day when the Grim Reaper…or in my case the Government of Canada, arrives and says “pay up sucker”. On the other hand, I am giving hungry eyes to every map I see. I want to walk on foreign soil, I want to zig-zag cross the globe, I want to see so many places. And yet, it all seems impossibly out of reach. There’s only so much money to go around, and the persistent adult living inside of me is saying that now is the time to scrimp and save. I’m 32…and it feels like that sand is burning it’s way through my hourglass. I am reliable at work, pay my bills on time, obey road rules. I am a functioning member of society…but my soul is a gypsy wanderer that sometimes wants to disappear into a crowd.
Benjamin is working overtime to lift my spirits. Like a tap-dancing bear, rattling off the many blessings in our life while I sob and snivel in the shower. He’s right of course. He’s a permanent resident. We’ve finally settled. We both have excellent jobs, a nice home, solid marriage. While I love my career, my home, my husband…there’s still an extremely large part of me that wants to be in-transit, heading towards the next destination. And I’m at war with myself about it. The idea of properly settling down makes me want to hang on pretty tight to the door frame of adolescence and only pass through only if pushed. When we look at our future, where anything is possible, there is a blight on the plan. My student loan debt is the genital herpes of my finances. I fear I will have carry that around forever; that it will be the obstacle to my most cherished plans. The way I am feeling right now is the very reason Peter Pan refused to grow up.
My poor husband is hovering along the outer perimeter of the house. Walking along the walls, giving his wife plenty of breathing room. He’s sensed for sometime that I am a panther ready to strike…or a wounded orangutan who would swap at you weakly…(it’s been a real low energy week). I’m crying, and I feel like I can’t stop, he rubs my back and says: “You’re crying for no reason…this confuses me”. Poor bugger. Finally, he drops the gauntlet…”Alicia, do you think maybe this is PMS?”.
The Bear gets a multitude of bonus points for the endless love and support. The glass half full, cheer-leading approach is truly uplifting. But everyone knows that suggesting being ‘tired’, ‘hungry’ or ‘premenstrual’ to a depressed and slightly irrational woman is like putting a loaded gun in your carry-on at the airport. The end result is not going to be in your favor.
It very well could be PMS, it’s usually hard to tell because of my IUD, I really only experience symptoms every four months. Whenever I dip into an existential funk, I can often console myself that it is simply hormones making a fool of me.
Meanwhile, my sandpaper sentiment rages on. I can’t write it out, and so it brews inside of me like a toxic tea. Why can’t I see the positive? Why does everything feel like the worst case scenario? When Ben was listing our lengthy tally of blessings–I could appreciate every one. We do have a good life. Maybe it’s my own scientific quota: debt/dreams x age ÷ fleeting years of fertility. This hit the nail on the head when I’m crying in the shower; Benjamin said that there were no ‘deadlines’, that there was room in our life for everything, that there was ‘lots of time’. The thought of a pre-baby time crunch made me cry even harder. Fuuuuuck, where is the time going? Why does 32 feel so old?
As I finish the blog, I’ve come a little closer to accepting that I am right where I need to be. That everywhere I’ve been was where I was meant to go. I haven’t reached all my goals because I’m just not there yet. It’s not my time, I guess. I’ll just keep walking this path, keep writing, and not hate on Robert Frost so much. (He actually suffered immensely in his life, lost a lot of love, and wrote the line– “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world” which was later engraved on his tombstone. Now I feel kind of annoyed with him all over again. I feel the same way about life and wish I had written it first). But that’s just my ego talking. A new season will come around. Moods will lift, PMS will pass; the days longer, the sun shinier. The snow has to melt sometime.
Images Courtesy of Google