Winter is the toughest time for me. I spend way too much time freezing, hiding in bed, and contemplating my end.
Everything is cranky on my body. Sleep is anything but refreshing. The wet and cold weather leaves me trapped in my house. (Just to illustrate my cold weather reality).
Because I have more time on my hands to contemplate my navel, I also struggle with more philosophical concepts, and tune in to the anxiety and fear online as everyone airs their issues.
Trapped, I listen to more musicals, and I spend time creating jewelry, or sewing or whatever – despite the pain of arthritis in my hands – because I need to find a way to remain distracted in a heathy way, and not make my health issues worse.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that I don’t have any answers, don’t know what happens after we leave this earthly realm, and frankly, I don’t want to spiral down into other people’s certainty and fears.
I have a bunch of friends, all variety of Christians, who all feel some aspect of “God’s gonna get ya” if you don’t live by whatever flavor of His Word they follow. I’m not knocking their faith, as my viewpoint has always been, “I don’t know. Let’s deal with what’s in front of us without getting all philosophical and ignoring the real life issue which needs attention”.
Not a put down. Not a debate over belief systems. Simply a focus on things which I might be able to impact in a positive way.
Some of my friends, though, are upstanding members of the, “get one for Jesus” camp, and their writings about end of days, satan among us, and postings of one depressing thing after another (missing or abused children or pets being their favorite topics), are absolutely Debbie Downers. Not because I know all the answers, but because – if their version of faith is right – we are the evil we see in the world, Satan is fermenting unrest and violence, and God’s gonna get me if I don’t reform my wicked, unbeliever ways.
It’s like a drumbeat in the back of my brain, fighting my normal rationality and placidity, and kicking me when I’m down and trying to stay upbeat.
I know it’s my Catholic upbringing fighting my rational brain, but it’s especially hard to silence that voice in the depths of Winter, when I’m trapped in my head, just trying to hang on until a better day comes.
I can’t explain it to my rabid Believer friends, but I’ve never been a sycophant, begging for scraps of attention from anyone. It’s just not in my nature to kiss the ring and be grateful that I am allowed to live another day.
Being homeless in 1996, for 3 weeks after the local utility company blew up my house, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with in life.
Rather than kiss the ring in gratitude for being alive and only losing stuff, I was angry. Immensely angry. Anger is my go-to emotion, as anger gets things done and allows me to move on.
But, anger isn’t healthy for me physically. Strong emotions – excitement, happiness, anger – whatever – can trigger breathing problems. So, I’ve worked hard to cultivate my mellow, and to keep busy so that I do not have enough time on my hands to contemplate the cruelty in the world, whether or not something is “fair”, and to try and curb my daily anxiety for knowing things are chaotic, and one false move (or, the fickle finger of fate), could send my status quo to the ether, blowing up my semblance of stability and putting me in the midst of the fight of my life. Again.
To quote one of my Mom’s favorite life coaches, Iyanla Vanzant, I recognize I’m in my head without adult supervision, so I do what I can to focus on the short term and stay out of trouble.
Yesterday, I did the right thing, cancelling a pedicure appointment (medically necessary due to diabetes), and I spent all day nagging myself to death for being a wimp and not going out in the crazy rainstorms we were having. I slept way too much (hibernating to that degree is truly how I get through the Winter, even if I know lying around all day is bad for my overall health and wellness). Restless at night, in more pain from sleeping the day away, I spent money I shouldn’t have, running to the store for baking supplies, and kept warm in my tin can home by cooking fudge for a few hours.
Fudge I know I’m not supposed to have, but justified “sampling” as reasonable to prepare in advance for next week’s show as we also got permission to sell to my home baked goods in addition to our jewelry. It kept the house warm. It distracted me. And, I could justify the warmth from cooking vs. turning the heat up higher to thaw out and wondering how much the utility bill is going to cost me this month… did I mention I hate Winter?
Anyway, what started this blog is a topic I’ve been avoiding for a few months. I’m drowning in anxiety, and the whole Jesus-is-the-reason thing as the holidays approach press all my buttons further, as I have too many good hearted people in my life who feel Jesus is the answer to everthing, including a stubbed toe, and are certain my health would be better and all my problems would magically disappear… if only I was a Believer.
I’m drowning over here, but I’m not going down without a fight. Winter will pass. I’ll keep trying to find the good in the world while waiting out the passage of the seasons and our current political order. I’ll keep busy.
At the end of the day, I have everything I need, if not everything I desire, and I’m doing ok. I just have to keep reminding myself of that truth.