Winter Seeds

This is going to be a harder blog to write.

So, I suffer from depression. This is not a new thing, if I’m being honest. It’s probably something I’ve always felt in some capacity–touched by this feeling of Knowing and Understanding from a young age. I was always called an “old soul,” never exactly felt right in my childhood body. I say I’ve “suffered” from it, but I don’t know if that’s really the right word, the accurate one. It’s always been there in some capacity, sometimes more quietly, like the hum of appliances in the background, and sometimes I feel it as though it were another person I was accommodating in my mind. Not always an easy friend to have, but one who I understood, and who understood me.

Depression runs in my family, more openly discussed regarding my mother’s side, but something that I can feel on my father’s side, too. It’s hard to compare the two families equally, being that I don’t really know my mom’s side as well (although fortunately, things like social media have helped bridge that gap in some ways), but I certainly understand the way it operates on my dad’s side more. I think it is something that defines us, that makes me understand them better, and certain family members even more. There is a strength in us, but a vulnerability too that makes us feel the world a little differently. Maybe everyone has this, maybe everyone feels this way about their family, but I guess because we share blood and bones and DNA, I feel it more acutely.

My depression is manageable most of the times until it’s not, usually offset by some major stress/significant change, or often it’s seasonal, especially in the winter.

Winter is a season I both love and dread for this. I’ve come to understand that I operate differently during the winter, that my thoughts are different. It’s a time of reflection, of darkness, of self-evaluation and contemplation. There is some hibernation that comes with this territory, some isolation. And to me, that’s okay, because sometimes I need that time away from people, inside myself to really think about the things I’m feeling, to really absorb all the people and life that is happening around me and at me.

But there’s usually a point during the winter, towards the middle or the end, where it becomes a little too consuming. Where the time spent out of the sunshine and limited indoors is a bit too much and the company inside my head is not the most pleasant. It becomes much more difficult to do things, like get out of bed in the morning, or to keep myself from crawling back in it the minute I get home, warm, safe, alone. Continue reading

Let the ashes fly

The week before my former wedding anniversary, and I find myself carrying my wedding rings around in my pocket for days. This wasn’t my intention–the intention was to finally look into selling them at the jewelry store a couple blocks from my apartment–but every time I’ve gone there, there’s been a reason why it didn’t work out. First day I didn’t make it back into town in time before it closed. The next day the owner was unexpectedly out of town on business and his very kind, very elderly mother was watching over the shop counter but couldn’t complete the appraisal. On the third they were randomly closed. I know myself better than to leave them at my apartment or in the car, because that is where they will inevitably stay for several more weeks or months, so I’ve kept them in a plastic baggie in my purse or jacket pocket in the hopes the next pass by the store will result in this bittersweet errand’s completion. Continue reading

I was lonely, but I was having fun…

Day 3 Musings: When I first planned this trip, I didn’t necessarily expect to be taking it alone, even though I didn’t necessarily have anyone particularly in mind to take it with me. Maybe it was the beginning of my shifting mindset–for as long as I could remember, I always had a plus one of some sort to come along for an adventure, whether it be a boyfriend or a best friend. Looking back, it felt like there was never a situation where I couldn’t find someone willing to go along with whatever crazy whim I wanted to follow, but I think the truth is that if I couldn’t find someone, I often just bailed on the plan. Ironically, it took getting married to someone who wasn’t always up for the same adventures as me to realize that I had to get comfortable with doing things on my own or I had to start getting used to missing out on things I wanted to do. Continue reading

No thanks for livin’ on Thanksgiving; I’m still starvin’.

It’s Thanksgiving Eve and I’m powering through cups of black coffee and full albums of Wu-Tang on YouTube, waiting for the workday to end. It’s been a bit of a slow day, but a good one for bonding with new co-workers who are also looking longingly at the clock, waiting (somewhat) patiently for quitting time. It was one girl’s birthday, and so we headed over to the local wine bar for lunch, a glass of our favorite spirit, and an opportunity to share some hilarious/embarrassing stories while also sharing the details for our upcoming holiday celebrations. Continue reading

Just Breathe.

One of the biggest things I learned from yoga was the importance of breathing. I remember sitting in my first couple of classes, thinking how stupid it was that we were reviewing how to properly breathe. I’ve gotten this far in life, I thought, how much more do I need to learn about this? But it wasn’t until I stopped and started paying attention to my breath did I realize how often I would hold my breath when I was feeling stressed or panicked. I would get so consumed in a fear or worry or thought that I unknowingly held my breath, as if I felt so paralyzed by whatever it was my mind was racing over, that I neglected my normal functioning.

It’s sadly been a while since I’ve hit the yoga mat, but the importance of checking in with my breath has stayed with me. Whenever I am getting stressed or feeling overwhelmed, I stop, and make sure to inhale deep and slow, and exhale long and with intention. And as silly as it first felt to do this, I’ve now come to rely on it to help keep me in check. Continue reading

Silver Linings.

I’ve been posting a lot recently about my recent frustrations and navigations through life lessons learned, but I feel it fair to report that the past couple of weeks have also had their strange silver linings.  Continue reading

The Heart of the Fire

I have this friend, Graham, whom I met in college and who I keep up with mainly through social media exploits. Graham is some kind of a wonderful mix of Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, and a German film star from the 30s. He introduced me to ammonia cokes and the beauty of Victrola recordings; he helped rekindle my love for black and white photography, and, by example, he has given me a nostalgic appreciation of eras long ago passed.
As if all that wasn’t enough, he also has a lovely way of capturing life’s bittersweet bits in a way that really resound with me (unbeknownst to him, I’ve been writing a blog post based on the concept behind his former blog’s name, Displaced Heimat., for about 3 years now…).

Yesterday was no different, when he alerted me to this quote, unprovoked, without really know how much this truly resonates with me right now:

 

“Above all, in my anger, I was sad. Isn’t that always the way, that at the heart of the fire is a frozen kernel of sorrow that the fire is trying–valiantly, fruitlessly–to eradicate.”
–Claire Messud, The Woman Upstairs

Continue reading

nowhere to go but up.

The past month has been a trying one–one filled with a lot of transitions and change; a lot of heartache, of reflecting on the past, and thinking about the future. About a week ago, I stood bawling in my living room, while my dad did his best to comfort me,”Don’t worry–it’ll get better from here.”

“Yeah? How can you be so sure?” I challenged.

“Because this is rock bottom, kid.” Continue reading

And then other days…

…I can find complete zen in the dishes being done and two loads of laundry complete. I walk through my halls like a champion, and think to myself, “Maybe I really do have a handle on things. Maybe I do have this life thing figured out.”

Little victories, my friends.