March in New England

FIRST TO ARRIVE

Tricked again, crocus and tulip both
Rushed to dress, primping in the sun,
Crocus flirting with the melting snow.
Tulip fooled by the fake invitation
Expects a warm welcome. First to
Arrive, but the party never starts.
Winter laughs. You are so naive.

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I Should Have Done This Yesterday

Welcome, March. I was supposed to choose a new form for you, but I haven’t yet. I’ve been sitting here, leafing through Turco’s The New Book of Forms, trying to decide on one, while my coffee grows too cold to drink. Now I’m cranky and no closer to knowing what I’ll be writing next. How was this a good plan?

Remember how I claimed to love form? exult in structure? Me too. So much better to explore that than theme, right? New month, new form: what could go wrong?

I could go wrong. Life could go wrong. I could let myself be distracted by all the things I’m not doing. I could find myself swallowed by the depression that hits hardest this time of year, leaving me feeling like a cobweb on the ceiling of God’s forgotten room. Waiting for a window to open and blow me away, or a broom to find me and end the waiting. No form needed.

I struggled through February to get here. Now I’m content to lie in the mud, staring at a cloudy sky, pretending I remember what it feels like to be lost in the stars. I hate the parts of me I see reflected in the worst of our leaders. How badly to want applause for just existing? How low a bar have I set for myself? How cruel are my thoughts, even if I never speak them? How vain am I? How destructive at heart? How callous? thoughtless? ignorant?

Who am I to judge anyone else? What can I possibly say that has any value whatsoever?

I will choose a form, and I will keep writing, because I don’t know what else to do; and I have to do something, or my thoughts will swallow me whole. I will write my wispy words. I will cling to the ceiling until I fall or am blown away.

Welcome to March.

Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry

Good-by, March. I’m not sorry to see you go, but you know that already, don’t you? I don’t know why you and I can’t get along. Maybe we’ll call a truce one of these years and leave each other in peace. I’d like that. Wouldn’t you?

The month is ending with another migraine. Windy, unsettled weather dances with wacky, unsettled hormones. I lie on the couch with the shades pulled tight against the sun, hoping tomorrow will be better. Hoping tomorrow I’ll be better.

I’ve had a recurring image in my dreams lately: I need to change my clothes, but can’t get out of whatever I’m wearing. After the third time in one week that this popped up, I realized that my dream-brain was saying I’m struggling to change. What I’m wearing is too tight, too restrictive, and no longer suitable for what comes next. It’s time to change, but I’m having trouble making it happen.

I’ve shrunk my life down to fit tightly around me. Small and restrictive feels safe, but it’s also lonely and somewhat boring. If I want my life to feel different, I’ll need to face the uncomfortable feelings that come with change. That thought is enough to send me back into the safety of the small. My dream-brain does a better job of handling it than my waking-brain. I’m just not sure the reward is worth the effort. Frankly, I’m not sure the effort results in a reward. What if things get worse? or stay the same?

Survival was my only goal in March. Make it through in one piece. I did that. Maybe April will bring fewer migraines and a lighter mood. Maybe the struggle will ease, and I’ll finally succeed in making real change.

Don’t Ask Too Much of Me, It’s March

I just re-read last year’s March posts. I couldn’t remember how much I talked about depression and mental illness. Not too much, it turns out. March is my own private Mental Health Awareness Month, because it’s typically the month when I fall apart rather spectacularly. My depression worsens; my migraines intensify; my life implodes. The anticipation is killing me.

I kid. My migraines have been worse with all the crazy weather swings, but my mood has been stable. Bad, but stable. I’ve been depressed for most of the winter (all of the winter?). I’m imagining (because I’m too lazy to dig through my journals to see if this is correct) that it set in around the holidays, or maybe when my daughter and granddaughter moved out. I could track it by looking at my blog output. I know I wrote less, skipped more days. It doesn’t really matter. The point is that March isn’t going to be any worse than the past few months. I’m already sunk deep into the sticky depressive goo of my life.

I’m like this year’s spring—the air feels warm, but everything looks dead. The plants are all dormant still, and the ground is cold. That’s my life. My heart is beating, my breath is warm, but I feel dead. Last year, we had snow covering the yard and freezing cold temps. The longer days and brighter sun stood in contrast to the lingering winter scenes. I didn’t have the feeling that things should look greener and more alive. Yes, I wanted the snow to melt, but I understood it in context. It had been a long winter. The snow made sense. This year, the brown grass and bare trees seem out of place. Things should be brighter than they are. I should be brighter. More alive.

My life isn’t making sense to me. There are have been big changes—mainly my granddaughter’s moving out, which has forced me into a new role. I play my part still, and play it well, but it’s left me needing to redefine more than just who I am to her. It’s left room for more changes, highlighted the need for more changes; yet, I fail to act. I fail. That’s the theme, the song I sing myself. My lullaby. I wonder which came first, the depression or the feeling of failure. They feed each other, I’m sure. Each strengthening the worst of the other, until I cry out my surrender, too weak to fight.

A new song arises: why bother. I can’t win. It’s March.

WHY MUST I SPEAK

Why must I speak?
Is it not enough to listen
tortured as I am
by every breath
that breaks my silence—
crashing, pounding, pummeling
each fiber, every nerve?

Is light so absent from my eyes
you cannot see your answers
staring back at you?

Let that be your answer then.
Expect no more.

If only you would pause and
in the breaking stillness
listen as I do–

You would hear the ghostly voices
joined in harmonies so pure
as the demon chorus sings my lullaby.