Ah, February. It's the month when seasonal affective disorder tightens its dull claws against my winter-dry mind and squeezes until tears well up at the edges of my eyes, too weak to make the effort to spill out onto my cheeks. My best friend and I first observed this condition in ourselves in our early teens. Independent of each other we would sit at home in front of the TV (it was always too cold to leave the house,) and weep sheepishly at Black History Moments, engulfed in empathy and guilt and lack of vitamin D, wiping away any stray tears as soon as General Hospital returned from commercial break.
With age came two competing forces: As I came to see a pattern, I also recognized the subdued euphoria that came with the first warm day of early spring, the purple crocuses (croci?) peeking through the dirt and that first day after Daylight Savings Time kicked in and the sun was still strong in the sky at 7:30pm.
But there was also the downward pull of a life that seemed half lived and full of regrets and second guessing. So many great plans never realized or even tried. So many people once loved and leaned upon now gone, either through betrayal (real or imagined,) or because the inevitable weakening of bonds once so intense is too painful to confront head on. This is supposed to make you wiser. And it does, but with wisdom comes, at least for me, a hardness like an egg, hard on the outside, but once the shell is broken, everything spills out, soft and vulnerable, seeping through your fingers and making a huge mess.
This is why I now prepare for February. I do not watch sad movies. I do not call old boyfriends. I do not accept the tears that cautiously peek from behind my eyes when I accidentally become moved by a particularly poignant scene in There's Something About Mary, or think about what might have happened to my dog if he hadn't been rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico and adopted by us. This is not real, I tell myself. Stop being such a downer. When middle class white people whine about how depressed they are, it just makes you want to punch them. It's really hard to punch yourself. Try it. Yeah, it stings a little, but there's no satisfaction in it, just a dull ache. It's just February. Spring will be here soon.