The spiral into sadness happens rapidly without warning when it’s cold. With wintry air comes slippery sidewalks, layers on layers of clothing, and ice cold feet. All I want is to be able to walk down the street uninhibited by bulky boots, mounds of dirty slush, and the Winter Blues. I want to wear my favorite flow-y floral dress without worrying if I’m warm enough. I want to be free, not cooped up in a stuffy office breathing in moldy air while competing in a staring contest with a computer.
A break sounds nice. Ah, yes, some fresh air always does some good. But it’s too cold to go outside; the sun is useless. So there I sit planted, reminded by the automatic shut off feature of my space heater that I’ve spent too much time at my desk – too much time procrastinating, shopping for the best deal to a place where the sun shines effectively but too afraid to place the order. And although I’m frozen in time, my mind still races:
Where am I going to find the energy to play this open mic tonight?… …Straight hair or curly? …Am I taking care of myself? …Should I do cardio or weights? Or yoga? No, spin …What the hell is her problem? …Where did I leave my keys? …Do I still have to get a gift for my ex-boyfriend’s sister-in-law whose baby shower I was un-invited to because my ex and his new girlfriend of 2 years are drama queens? …Should I move to Nashville for a few months before moving to England? …Will it all work out? …How and when should I promote my new album (who even makes the CDs?)?… …Exactly how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
Je ne sais pas. idk. I dunno. Who knows. No. freaking. clue.
I’m too frozen to move, too cold to think, and too iced to deal. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in bed hibernating, hoping that the answers to my questions come to me at the first sign of Spring when the sun warms worries and turns gray fuzzy thoughts into sharp insights.
Because when it’s cold I just can’t.
There is no troubleshooting life. There is no Help Wizard. And unfortunately, I’m not savvy enough to make the error messages in my head disappear. I keep clicking the little x in the top left corner of the box but the same message reappears: Something is off. Yes, as a matter of fact, I would like more information. What is that something and where is the on/off switch?
This is my first attempt at really writing. I’ve been writing songs for over a year now but the thoughts circuiting my brain have grown too large to be limited to 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I need more space and time to figure out how to turn that something off on – that thing inside me that is off but has somehow had enough power to hold me back.
Writing seems to be the only thing that can move me forward when my system fails. I can ignore it all I want – read advice columns, play silly games, or click the minimize box – but the error message remains, blinking in my toolbar until I face it head on. The only Force Quit option is to write…to open the documents slowly, sift through the data, and spit out words that offer an explanation, even if they only make sense to me.
Every model is different – I have to keep telling myself that. I’m an upgraded version from who I was two years ago and he is completely different than my old worn out hard drive. He doesn’t overheat when things get hard, freeze when he’s tired, or crash when he simply can’t take it anymore; he is a quality, reliable find. Still, I can’t help but remember what happened with the old machine every time I stroked a key too hard or raised my voice because it just. wasn’t. working. I will never forget how he gave up and threatened to leave me alone so many times.
The scars are stored, buried now under new layers of happiness, but filed forever nonetheless. All it takes is one simple search item followed by a strike of the return key to recover them and I can’t will my fingers to stop. I tell my mind to quit dwelling in past folders but it won’t obey my commands. Instead, it processes new input by comparing past and present data and uses it to predict the future. These faulty analyses will not hold up long term. They can’t. Of course the past can be helpful for learning, but it can also be destructive if we wallow in it.
I refuse to wallow. I’d rather troubleshoot with words.