I’m going to pretend my self-diagnosis isn’t entirely half-assed or unqualified and mention I’d put my seasonal depressive disorder business just a tick up from “moderate” and toward the “nearly debilitating” category. I continue to find evidence of this, such as: today was warm, spring-like, crystal clear, there was even a fellow across the street mowing his lawn. My response was visceral and immediate and profoundly joyous: “the grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then I see it”: fuckin’ SUNSHINE.
I opened the blinds and scrubbed the bathroom clean and washed the laundry room shelves and started a tub of bleach water for my bar cloths and wiped down counters and blinds and motherfuckin’ vacuumed (I never, ever do this) and shook out blankets and laundered throws and washed the dishes and sorted and rinsed and soaked beans and did some lovely and exhilarating yoga and knew I’d even finish my dress (and I did, and: Yay!). All fantastic and all before my daughter woke and her friend came over and I sent them out for the remainder of dinner groceries with a pocketful of cash.
While Phoenix was out, and after my victorious morning, Nels became quite sad. I asked him how I could help, and he requested breakfast cereal. He asked me to give him more milk in the bowl, and happily drank it up, and lo and behold, this was what he needed. After his cereal he washed his hands and face and I picked him up, and I don’t know how I did this but I held him and danced with him for several songs, and I’m not sure if I can convey how much he loved this. He buried his face in my neck and then he’d pull his head back and smile deeply into my eyes. He kissed me dozens of times. He said, “you’re making me sleepy!”, but I don’t think he felt exactly sleepy, more protected and nurtured and loved. And so did I. And for some reason my body and arms felt strong and I could hold him and hold him and we sang and held one another until our (second set of) guests arrived.
The light faded all-too-soon and our dinner and dinner guest visit was broken up by an odd phone call BUT! even after all that Ralph and I got so much work done at home. It’s like the sunshine gave me everything I’ve been missing. It’s dark now, and it’s late, so late in fact it’s early; and I’ll have a hot bath and a cold beer and snuggle between the kiddos and laugh and tickle and kiss and hug.
Today you can’t take away the things we had.
I put a lot of effort into my relationships… consciously, sure – but often not even so. I’d like to let you know what I mean. The way my mind works, my friends and loved ones are always with me, waking and sleeping (I’ve been known to dream of someone I haven’t spoken to in months, then track them down to see how they are). When I see a news article or a blog post or hear a song or see a video I think of these people and am likely as not to bake them some bread or send them an email, even a brief one, or make them a mix tape, or send them a homemade Valentine. I send these blog posts or articles or emails not just because I know they will resonate (I rarely miss my mark), but as a symptom that my friends and loved ones are with me, all the time; I gift food not because I have some extra on hand but because I cooked something (hopefully) delicious, often planned for that exact person, but in any case I know homemade fare crafted with panache and willing love is a very wonderful gift indeed.
Sometimes these many presences are draining, actually. Maybe this is part and parcel with how I often feel so tired. I’ve long said I have an active mind – not a particularly intelligent one or productive one.
Someday I’m going to have to figure out if holding someone in my heart is good enough; if I can let them slip my mind.
But in the meantime, I want to take a moment here and thank a few people who I’ve experienced as restorative. This list will not take the place of personal communication. It will also not be exhaustive. I’m tired, and my mind is often more dull than people credit, and I will surely forget someone who’s given me something amazing lately.
But I’ll do my best.
I’d like to thank my readers for their presence. I’d like to thank those who write and comment because it touches me they take the time to read, and to communicate, and to offer themselves. I make my best effort to respond and to thank them, and I mean every word when I do so.
I’d like to thank this random Facebooker for a very nice comment on a recent article I wrote, a comment praising my writing but also one sharing news of a lovely and joyous birth. I’m grateful she took the time to speak her piece.
I’d like to thank Cynthia, Abi, Jasie, and Jodi, for taking time to see me last weekend, and for letting me eavesdrop on their lives and enjoy their smiles and laughter and uncommon beauty.
I’d like to thank Shannon for mentioning (long ago) the particular yoga host I put on for this morning’s practice. I’d also like to thank her that while I was trying to relax and concentrate on my breath I could remember all the sexual comments she’d made about him in his tiny little briefs with his amazing body etc., because I kept huffing little bits of laughter while doing sun salutations, etc.
I’d like to thank Christina for remembering my birthday (which is coming up on the 11th of this month), as well as her chats and emails which are always deeply thoughtful and interesting. I also will never forget when she called me in 2007 after I’d had a horrific personal blow.
I’d like to thank Kate for taking time to write back and forth with me about alcoholism, recovery, addiction, anxiety, and family. This conversation is the beginnings of one I needed deeply – I thank her for her expertise and her enormous depths of compassion and intelligence.
I want to thank Amore for her part in a more or less constant friendship I have treasured deeply since we were young girls, and for a new chapter in this friendship. I think anyone she is intimate with is a deeply fortunate person. And I don’t mean that in a pervy way or anything. This time.
I’d like to thank Ryan (in AZ) for being one of my faithful and vocal male readers and someone I can talk to who really puts his all into his consideration and response to me. His is a deeply compelling friendship. I wish there were a lot more men like him who would make themselves known.
I want to thank Tamara for writing me recently for advice on something very close to her heart and on her mind. I hope in any way I can help her. I appreciate hearing from her.
I’d like to thank Wendy for being a real, true-life, living and breathing mentor I can correspond with. This is an incredibly fortunate thing to have. One day I hope to meet her in person.
I’d like to thank Jeanne for friendship, for fellowship – spending time together, one of the most uncommon gifts – and having the kind of mind and spirit I find entirely edifying. If the world had more citizens like her it would be a much better place. Think all the awesomeness of Sesame Street with no downside.
I’d like to thank Jasmine and Amber, because when we’re together talking I truly feel an electric exchange of ideas and they give me hope, since they are leaders today and will be leaders tomorrow. They also make me laugh that way where my eyes fill with tears and my face gets red and also we’re usually smoking which is to their credit, even though I’m told this filthy habit is on the way out, and aren’t we gauche.
I’d like to thank Mickey for being one of those people who brightens this little sleepy town and provides Ralph and I opportunities to volunteer for a wonderful and worthy cause. I’d like to thank her too for talking recipes and for giving us with fresh bay leaves when we need them.
I’d like to thank JJ for writing bravely and often about her life.
I’d like to thank anyone who likes hearing about or talking about or watching my cats or who loves cats. I self-identify as Crazy on the subject.
I want to thank Sarah who sent my son a sticker swap letter a while back; I immediately lost her envelope and don’t know which Sarah she is – her last name or address. I’d like to thank her properly – if she’s still reading.
I’d like to thank Elizabeth, Samantha, & Michelle for being these incredibly whip-smart lovelies on Twitter at all hours of the day and night. They lift me up and are forces for the Good.
I’d like to thank Paige that I can send her a handful of words through DM and she totally knows what the hell I’m talking about, every time.
I want to thank Kat because she’s one of a small number of people in my life who sends me the emails, articles, and blog posts – all of which evidences that I am in her mind and her heart. This means a great deal to me. I am looking forward to seeing her this next weekend.
I’d like to thank Karen for daily being someone to share a bone-deep love of sewing and creativity that is difficult to explain to anyone is not swimming right with us. Karen is an incredibly talented person, and the fact she is following her dreams and desires even despite opposition – when so few do or can – gives me a thrilling sense of hope. She is an inspiration and her friendship is a rock.
I’d like to thank my mother for beginning to hear me talk about my damaging experiences in childhood and really listen – instead of being defensive. Oddly, I think she is beginning to trust me more where she didn’t before. I’d also like to thank her for making time daily to tell me what’s going on in her life and what’s important to her. I realize now if she didn’t volunteer this information regularly I would be left wondering, and I would seek it out earnestly.
I’d like to thank my husband and partner Ralph. I’m trying to narrow down what to thank him for, today, so I’ll just say the first thing that comes to awareness for me. His continued praises for the food I cook and the house I keep fill give me a calm joy, because I too care about these things and not everyone would appreciate me as much as he does. I also appreciate his friendship which is the deepest and most constant of any I have known.
I’d like to thank my children for filling up my days and nights with not only physical love and incredible tenderness, but their unique brands of humor that make me laugh in delight more than anyone else. I’d like to thank Nels today for sitting at the computer and beginning to hum one of our songs from earlier and then thinking of how much he loved me, because he then said, “Mama, can I get you something? Tea, perhaps?” then went in the kitchen and made me a plate of food quite studiously. As for my daughter, I’d like to thank Phoenix for acquiescing to get groceries for me today, and for finding everything I wrote down, exactly, and for her role in inspiring new dishes as we continue to cook vegetarian. It is my earnest desire to accommodate her wishes.
And finally: it should be rather obvious that by reflecting on ones gratitude list, or the ones that come to mind anyway, life seems a lot lovelier than it did before. I hope others reading here consider doing the same.