So for those not in the know who either don’t watch the weather, don’t live in the Northeast US, or are lucky enough to live elsewhere in the world (and may your area be sunny and lovely!), the weather right here, right now, is downright dismal. All week it’s been rain, snow, ice, slush, later, rinse, repeat. All day it’s been raining to dissolve the snow and ice from the last two days, but tonight it will freeze all over again, followed by yet more snow, and possibly three feet over the weekend. Seriously, I left Minnesota. I didn’t know it missed me so much.
But given what the weather is, it’s made things equally dismal for the people around. Nobody likes driving in this (and nobody should be, really. Do yourselves a favor!), nobody likes walking in it (which sucks for those of us with no wheels and a puppy who needs walks), and certainly fewer and fewer people are enjoying this winter dumpdown, except maybe all the kids who I think haven’t been to school steadily in a few weeks. So, lots of grumpy people in grumpy weather. Nothing sounds good. Everything is rotten. Oscar the Grouch would be proud.
I confess I’m guilty too. As I told a girlfriend of mine, it’s hard to be cheery right now when things feel so strained and there isn’t even any sunshine to take in. I’m like a plant. I neeeeeeed the sunshine. I thrive in summer. It’s when I paint the most, get all my sewing, my creativity bursts and I just dunno what to do with it all. Winter? Eeehhhh not so much. I just want to return to bed and wait for the flowers to come back. I know I can’t be the only one in this feeling.
But then I got to thinking how I shouldn’t feel down, and scolded myself for letting me get caught up in all my problems and feel compounded by the weather and my lack of creative motivation. I scolded myself, because not much good comes of feeling this way. But you know what? I’m not the sort of person where yelling and scolding makes me want to do better and automatically fixes the issue. I’m not. It actually just makes me feel worse and like an even worse human being for succumbing to these feelings. After all, they’re selfish, right?
So I sighed and stared into my tea and asked myself what I really could do about it. My problems, for now, can’t be fixed immediately. I have to continue to be patient, and they will smooth out in time. The weather I can’t help. My creativity just needs new inspiration. So I rationalized, which felt better, but still didn’t really take away those feelings of insecurity and just wanting a nice comforting… something. And then it dawned on me: it was okay to feel these feelings that everyone tells you to get over and automatically turn off. You’re HUMAN. Negative feelings will affect your life just as much as positive, but that doesn’t mean you have to stamp them out and feel bad about having felt them at all. Now, I’m not saying to go to a dark, dank corner of your soul and grow mushrooms, unless it’ll turn you into some superhuman version of Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe and be the world’s new dark, creative genius. If that’s the case, go forth and be awesome, you beautiful gloom-cookie, you.But I am saying this for myself and everyone else who feels guilty about not immediately fitting the happy bubble we hold ourselves up to.
It’s okay to have an off day. Say it with me: It’s okay to be sad.
And after letting it sink in.. it helped. Yes, I’m still a bit dank and just want to go home, but tomorrow is a new day, and that’s good news in and of itself. And when I go home tonight, I’ve planned an impromptu self-date. Yes, a self-date. No, it’s not as lame or silly as it sounds. It’s actually a really healthy practice to learn self-love; something I’m pretty new to, but trying because I want to find my happiness somewhere inside of me. I know happiness isn’t out in the world if I don’t feel it in me to start with, so that’s where I start. Secretly, I’ve always known I was a Sith.
Tonight I’ll play with my puppy, and put on my new Faith Hill CD that I’ve only listened to once. I’ll get the ingredients to make a really nice treat dinner, just for me; curry chicken and veggies with rice, and make curry pan with leftover sauce for the rest of the week’s snacks. I might treat myself to a small, cheap bunch of colored daisies from the store. No, I can’t argue that I have done anything to deserve them, and I know I may feel slightly guilty. But you know what? If I were a separate person and wanted to cheer me up, I know flowers would do it. They’re bright, they’re pretty, and they’re just so darn happy. I might even get a mini bottle of wine or champagne, just because it’s happy, too. I’ll have a fabulous treat dinner with my puppy and my kitten, and watch a goofy Vincent Price movie I haven’t seen yet. Vincent Price always cheers me up. And then? I might run a super hot bath with lavender salt and extra bubbles, courtesy of the dollar store, and have a brownie in a coffee cup since it only takes a minute to make and just some flour, cocoa, and oil.
Tonight, I may spoil and comfort myself. Not because I’m selfish, not because I’m spoiled, not because I’ve earned it, and not as some sour-grapes way of saying “I don’t need anyone to comfort me because I have myself so neener.” Because it’s not any of those reasons. I’ll do it because I’m sad and stressed, and have been for weeks, and if I could be the sort of friend I try to be to others, I’d want to spend a night cheering me up. Because I need it.
And that’s a big step in self love and self care. It may be too big of a step for some, but I’m willing to step out of my zones of feeling guilty about doing things for myself and will deal with that later. Tonight, I’ll put all my problems and worries aside to just enjoy myself as best I can, with myself, and with what I have worked so hard to get (which isn’t much, but it’s still the most I’ve ever had). And I’m sharing this with anyone out there to encourage you to do the same. If your feelings are getting to you and you’re depressed, if you feel underappreciated by your friends and unwanted by your family, if you feel like your problems are just going to swallow you whole and you just want to cry and you’re just barely holding yourself together enough to keep going for today… It’s okay. You’re doing your best, and nobody can ask for more. Take pride in your own strength, even when it feels like you’re failing at every turn. Congratulate yourself for how far you’ve come, even if you’ve needed help and still need it. Let yourself feel sad when life becomes overwhelming. Cry. Get it out of your system. Don’t scold yourself and punish, don’t tell yourself how worthless and weak you are for feeling the way you do. Instead, let it out, and take a moment to be your own best friend. Do the things for yourself you wish soemone would come and do for you to help you come back up. You may feel a little guilty at first for focusing on yourself, but you know what?
You’re so worth it.