Monday, February 15, 2016

Winter Doldrums



I reach top introversion during the winter months. 

During the summer and fall, ever since I was in high school, I am busy. When I was a teenager and in my early twenties, summer meant staying up until 5 a.m. writing, sleeping for a number of hours, then spending the afternoon outdoors in the sunshine until dinner. Once I entered the adult world, it meant working and spending every available moment I can outdoors. In the fall, it's work or school during the day, rest or homework at night, and then on the weekends I am making every sunshine-filled moment count before winter comes.

The holidays are endlessly busy and then... New Year's Day arrives. Just like that. It's there and a new year. There are endless possibilities. There are people talking about how they'll reinvent themselves--some will, some won't--and there are people who are the naysayers of such goals. 

After enduring months of busy days, I suddenly am at full stop. It's cold, it's cloudy, it's windy, it's uninviting outside and I'm stuck indoors without the glimmer of holiday lights. It's a dreary world and I have nothing to do on the weekends, nothing to look forward to. No matter what, guaranteed, if I make plans that will be the weekend we are hit with a snowstorm and all that planning goes to waste. That's when the winter doldrums hit.

I become sad, I become distraught, I become someone incapable of getting anything done. It's so dark and cold that it's a struggle to just finish each day. This isn't to say I'm suicidal, certainly not, what I feel instead is the urge to live. I want to go outside, I want to go places, I want to do something, but I feel like I'm stuck in a period of time where that isn't happening.

Every winter I am hit with the winter doldrums following New Year's day. Sometimes it doesn't happen for awhile, sometimes it's light, but sometimes it hits me out of no where and knocks me down so fast that I have no chance to fight back.

That was this January.



The winter doldrums hit me hard and it was pretty unbearable. I went to work, did what was expected of me, came home, and then sat blankly staring at the wall or the TV. I had school work to do, I had assignments to take care of and chapters to read but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

At first, I could. I was still getting work done because I had to, but by the second week, I was putting it off. By the middle of the week, none of my school work had been done and I had a large project deadline looming. But I still couldn't bring myself to do it.

It was during this time I fell into reading the Saga graphic novels with a dependency that no other area in my life saw in the new year. It was the only thing I willingly--happily, even--did with my spare time when I should have been doing just about anything else.

Among all of this, David Bowie died. It hit me hard, I have to say. There are two deaths that have occurred in the celebrity world that have really struck me to the core: Robin Williams and David Bowie. I'm sure (unfortunately) there will be many others in the future, as there are quite a few people out there who I appreciate thoroughly and have a great influence on my life, but thus far, these were the two that affected me most.

It was a different pain from Robin Williams' death, though. I considered it for some time until I eventually came to an understanding of what was causing these feelings. 

Robin Williams was the bringer of happiness to my childhood. He was always that person that brought laughs and enjoyment when I was young, and a light very much went out when he left the world. But David Bowie was grittier to me. I grew up with him as well--he was someone my parents listened to when they were young and I watched him in Labyrinth from a very young age. When I was a preteen, however, I began to appreciate my parents' musical tastes and adore the music of the 60's and 70's. I learned more about David Bowie and I began to understand him on some level.

He was a weird guy, he was so unique, and he didn't care about conventional standards or rules. This was the perfect thing for my hungry preteen mind to devour. I was weird, I was awkward, I was unique and like most preteens I felt extremely alone and misunderstood. But David Bowie got me. It was at this age that I began to experience my first fits of depression that would come and go with seasons. It sucked, as any bouts of depression do, but still I had the sweet music of Labyrinth to comfort me. As a teen, it quickly became my solace and it brought me closer to people in my area who battled similar demons.

To lose him was painful and upsetting, all the more so as I was already deeply into my winter doldrums, but I plugged myself into Blackstar and tried to move through. It didn't happen, not too quickly, but I suspect years from now when I hear the Blackstar album I'll remember it as what followed me through my baddest bout of winter doldrums I've had yet. 

All of this is to say that part of the reason the blog has been relatively silent has been because of this emotional turmoil brought on by this frigid month at the start of the year. At first, I had posts popping up automatically but I had no will to even share them on my Facebook page, let alone write more posts that would go up in February. I took down the edited blog posts and reverted them to draft form for a better, brighter day when I was willing to chat about books and correspond with the human world.

January continued on, we were hit by winter storm Jonas and buried indoors for over a week. But then the sun shined--the weather warmed up--and I felt the spark of life igniting in my soul again. I was slowly coming back, slowly stirring from my emotional hibernation.

As it's happened in the past, so it shall continue to be: I'll feel fine and then suddenly sad on and off again until we really have a firm grip on spring. But for now, this is my step into the light as winter starts to lose control.

So.

Hi there. Welcome, readers. Sorry to have been away for so long but I'm back now. I hope the past few weeks have treated you well. I'm excited to share books with you in the future.

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