It’s been an interesting few months.
This time of year is notoriously difficult for me- the space between the holidays and the coming spring is traditionally one of the hardest times to be in my head. It feels stagnant, everyone is hibernating- recovering from family time, stressing about money, out of spoons for socializing- and besides, it’s too damn cold to contemplate leaving the comfort of pajamas and warm beds.
I don’t feel strong in the winter. I thrive on sunlight, warmth, the energy of other people, and all three of these things tend to be in short supply. I feel more trapped, more immobilized, locked in my head on cyclical thought patterns with no ongoing stimuli to distract myself. Rumination without any reconciliation, and I just… don’t feel as strong, and grounded in myself.
I get it. Understanding it doesn’t mean I can change it, but it does help remind me that it will end.
This year was a bit of a perfect storm. There was a collision of internal and external factors that gave my overthinking brain plenty to ruminate on without anywhere to go with it, and I felt that weight settle heavily. The past day or two, I’ve begun to notice a slow but steady shift that started almost a month ago at Winter Fire, lifting that weight. Winter is coming to an end. I am getting stronger again.
If I look across the landscape of my life, it’s easy to pick out themes that emerge from certain periods. Last year built up to letting go of control, a steady rise to letting go of certain fears. As I was thinking this morning, I remembered a particularly poignant moment from last year: in a moment of boldness, I texted someone I had asked on a date, stating explicitly that I was interested in sleeping with them. As soon as I said this, I promptly panicked and began to second-guess the wisdom of doing this. As I’m processing out my panic with someone else, they point out that, regardless of the outcome, regardless of whether it was obvious or not, regardless of everything else, the thing was worth doing for itself.
It’s worth doing for the thing itself, regardless of the outcome.
It’s something that’s stayed with me, something I have practiced over and over again until it doesn’t cause immediate panic to state and claim things- regardless of whether they are already obvious, regardless of how they turn out.
I live well on precipices, and I feel one approaching. Last year was about letting go of control. If I am still too close to see what is emerging this year, I have already been forced to challenge my own assumptions. And challenging assumptions means challenging the framework that I live within. Doing things intentionally, and not just hoping they happen. If last year was letting go of control, this seems to be a matter of recognizing that letting go of control is not the same as passivity. That I can build things with intention without seeking to manipulate or control the outcome.
Which isn’t so different from saying things for the inherent value of saying them, and letting go of whatever preconceived notions exist.
I had a shift in how I talk about desire, and I think it’s one that I want to cultivate better because it works really well with how my brain manages the pressurized situation of asking for things I want. Instead of saying, “I want this thing,” I tried saying, “I am interested in this thing.” It’s a subtle shift that I’ve fallen out of the habit of doing, but I like it better and want to get back to using it. Because “I want this thing” inevitably forces an acceptance or rejection. It feels like throwing a ball at someone else, and they either have to catch it or let it fall, but it forces a reaction. It’s outcome-based (maybe not for everyone, but feels like it for me).
“I am interested in this thing,” however, feel like I’m holding a ball and showing it to someone else. I can just… keep holding it, or I can toss it at them, or I can roll it gently on the ground toward them. But the ball is still in my hands; the matter of if or how I let it go is part of the conversation. So if I say, “I’m interested in this thing” to someone and they aren’t, then it’s totally fine and I’m hanging out with this ball- maybe I go talk to someone else about it, maybe I put it back on the shelf for awhile, maybe I just hold onto it for a bit. But if I say, “I want this thing,” and someone else isn’t interested, I feel like I’ve lobbed a ball at someone’s face when they didn’t want it, and I have to spend time scrambling to get it back and also make sure I didn’t accidentally whack them in the head out of nowhere.
It’s a small shift, but it feels in line with the trajectory of my life right now. It’s been an odd few months, but they are passing with more grace than I might have expected. I feel stronger within myself, slowly getting back to the parts that I love the most. And with this comes change. Intention without expectation. I’m finding my step again, feeling that come out in so many different ways, and it feels good to breathe a little easier. Feel the weight start to shift away.
Transformation and movement. Winter is fading slowly, and with it, those things that felt like insurmountable hurdles in January are rapidly becoming stepping stones for new growth in March. I’m holding my own again. Getting back to a better baseline, a firmer foundation to push off from.
Winter is fading and with it, I feel the fire coming back.