Life is confusing.
In Minnesota, most of us wait [im]patiently for the warmth to spread onto the land and bring us out of our alcoves and into the green. We emerge from the house to a yard of freshly sprouted weeds, budded trees, and still icy lakes. We shed our clothing and let our faces soak up the much needed vitamin D that the sun provides. It is a beautiful moment, emerging from the winter.
And yet, I almost immediately wish to crawl back in to my alcove. I have some theories about why I experience seasonal affective disorder at the complete opposite time as most everyone else. But the theories aren’t really what matter anymore. That is to say, I’ve spent my life theorizing human behavior. Reasons for why a person acts a certain way; Causes of grand sweeping themes in a family; How a community came to be in such a state. Theoriestheoriestheories.
What matters is day to day life. Of course I’ll always theorize in order to make sense of the people around me and make sense of myself. But I must focus on doing it lighter and lesser, so that my energies can be focused on living. Waking up each day grateful that I have a soft bed. A cat meowing in my ear and another frolicking at my feet. A man to spend my days with, who loves me for who I am and in spite of who I am not. A career that gives me even more than life, which is purpose. All of these things are worth being grateful for, and I know this. So why is it so hard sometimes? Specifically, when the damp air latches onto my skin and the trauma memory inside my bones flares up.
There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.
But recognition is the first step. I know these things to be true, and I want to change. I want to be happy during the summer, the time that is so cherished by so many. It’s not that easy. Like hormones or the moon tides, some times are out of our control. So we turn again to coping mechanisms (healthy or otherwise). Therapy, drinking, journaling, alone time, compartmentalizing, spending money, art, on and on. Life is, of course, work. Or, it is escape. I would rather work.
So I’m not sure what this all means in the present. Maybe I can’t do it alone (definitely I can’t do it alone). Depression is an invasive species in the body and mind, and for years I have been fending it off or letting it take over. The summer makes me weak. Again, recognition is key. So like one of my greatest teachers taught me, I’ll make a list for what’s next. It’s a short one, but it’s a start.
Recognize that which is in my control. Strength IS within. Even if it may not seem plausible on a day to day basis.
Recognize that which is out of my control. Strength also exists in those around me. Ask for help when needed.
Harness the power of the earth and time. Strength is in the moment. Live in a second, a minute, an hour.
Life is fleeting, life is fickle, life is fun. (a la Laura Marling)
Honor the trauma, but don’t let it define you.
Theories are not answers, but they do make some sense of the world.
And love. That is what I’ve always believed in, and that is what will save me.