I don’t spring forward, I spring back. My wintertime melancholy smooshes me into a drippy wad of muddy woe, and with the daffodils, I feel resurrected when the days get longer.
Until about the age of twenty, I thought I was broken. At six, I sat on my cold swing, hatted and mittened and snowsuited, motionless when I could have been moving. I had been bundled up with orders to go play, but I couldn’t. The February trees were all branches, no leaves. I doubted that any leaves would sprout, ever again. Playing wasn’t on my list of things to do. Winter had done its job on me.
My grandma noticed. She walked with me every day, winter or summer and the times in between. The last, snowless, gray days of winter were spent looking for signs. A green tongue of a bulb’s leaf pushing through the dirt was one. A certain bird, or even better, a V of geese, another. “Spring is coming, baby, and there’s another sign,” she reassured confidently. To her, winter was short, but to me, it ticked by in minutes, not days. She didn’t let me stay in bed. She woke me up, every spring, when I knew in my heart that I had died with the green things the fall before.
Seasonal Affective Disorder didn’t exist when I was six. Learning about such a thing at twenty unbroke me, but didn’t change the on-the-ground facts. Having a name for my distress, worry, eventual shivering sureness that the days would stay dark did make me less angry at myself for the baseless worries. Spring always comes, and I celebrate every thunderstorm. Rebirth, and nothing less. Same at six. I danced in rain, too fast out the door to hear the PUT ON A JACKET, too cold, and welcomed warmer days with a cold every year. Best. Cold. Ever. Warm days, home from school, the best days of spring. Seasonal Affective Disorder blessed me with snot and sore throats and sick days when I was six, and blesses me with them every year.
I have to stand in the rain. Just have to.
Last spring, during my annual resurrection, I was too busy being brokenhearted to remember to run outside. The rain was already warm when I noticed, and my heart was done being broken.
Now, I think of those warm thundery times and remember other resurrections. My whole soul came back to life last year, in those very first weeks of spring-almost-missed. My whole body woke up, head and heart and spine, propelling me like a slingshot into the world, to dance whether the rain came or not.
Fall still hits hard, and winter has done the usual damage; this spring, I will pull us all out into the rain together. I am not alone in my doubting the coming green days, and I am no longer doubted. My smooshed state is okay for now. People I love understand very well. My love, especially, understands very well. That’s good, and new for me.
I talk to my small person about signs of spring, even when she doesn’t need them like I need them, yet. Maybe never, if she’s fortunate. We still search for green things in the gray, and she celebrates with me, for me.
Expect happier things from me when the days get warmer. My public self on social media is quiet about the inner grayness, quiet about many things. Writing at length, where people might read the gray-blah-sorry me, makes me uncomfortable. Why don’t I stop? I hope the discomfort signifies a need for change. Here’s the whole deal, unfiltered as far as I can manage.
March 10, 2013. That’s a holiday. If I’m lucky, it’ll rain.