The Other February

FebruaryAll of these valentines I keep posting and adding to my Etsy shop, the snappy comments and sass, they’re just spackle over the cracks that open up in February.  It’s the hardest month.  It always has been.  I forget that.  Every year.  If not for my piles of journals, I never would have made the connection.  I’m in danger in February.

I forget how the cold and the dark take up residence, even while North America is turning back toward the sun and the snow melts.  Inside me, the cold and dark stay. Even this year with a light box.  There’s no escape from February.

I forget how my skin grows burrs on the inside that snag and startle.  I’m so uncomfortable in my own skin.  Even murmuring words of kindness and acceptance to counter the sudden self-hatred, I can’t get out from under the briars.  I feel bloody and raw from the inside out.

I forget how strong the wrong-thinking gales blow through me, knock me down, rip off my flimsy protection.  I drown in panic and confusion as that storm snatches away each breath.  There’s no shelter, no leeward side to center and regroup, just the unrelenting force of despair screaming through and around me.

I forget how lonely February feels, locked in this dungeon, a barred window between me and all the people passing by on the street above.  I see them, can almost touch them, but I can’t get out.  And they can’t get in.  Some speak gentle words.  Some take parts of me for safekeeping until I can remember that I’m human.  I don’t make sense to them, and they sound silly to me.  Or infuriating.  I’m safer not talking at all, which makes me more alone.

I forget that even with my huge collection of tools and skills February drains them of any meaning.  Days become a string of distractions, tiny moments of relief swallowed up by February’s vast pain.  It’s instinct that drives me—a wrong-headed survival mode that grabs and clutches at whatever floats by in the roaring floodwater.

It’s probably not a coincidence that I started blogging four years ago at the beginning of February—screaming from the heart of the maelstrom, “I’m here!”

I’m here.

I’m here.

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Littlesundog
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 08:54:16

    I was hoping that light box would help this winter. Maybe you need to think of coming south for a visit? I think February is a tough time for many of us. I have been trying to get outdoors to work in the woods when the weather is good. Otherwise, I dress warm and meander to the river and back on difficult days. A walk in nature always does me right. 🙂

    Reply

  2. LindaNoel
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 10:29:44

    Reading this is the push-to-get-up-and-get-those-endorphins I KNOW are waiting for me to wake up by dancing with a basketball & headphones at the Y ! Also, we have woods here AND someone said they saw daffodils AND it was 63 degrees yesty…. Maybe you should vacation here instead of, oh, Hawaii, to get a wee bit of relief from Dark Feb. ? Need to clean declutter the back room, first tho….. 🙂

    Reply

  3. kirizar
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 12:33:07

    Is the photo inserted at the head of the story a sample of your Valentine’s collection? Or, is it representative of the somber mood that duplicates itself in the dark ditch of winter? (That’s about as poetic as I can get after eating pasta.)

    Reply

  4. Servetus
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 20:15:07

    Interesting. February is the worst month for me, too, and for my “at risk” friends. I don’t even try to fight it anymore. I just sock in with as much comfort as I can and wait for March. Thinking of you.

    Reply

  5. jinjerstanton
    Feb 15, 2015 @ 12:10:56

    Luckily, February always ends. Always.

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Feb 16, 2015 @ 05:25:31

      Yes, it does. But often I’ve reached a point of no return by the end of the month that lands me in the hospital or in out-patient services. I’m hoping for better this year.

      Reply

  6. Ocean Bream
    Feb 15, 2015 @ 15:24:35

    I know I keep saying this, Sandy, but I love your writing. I love love love it. And I don’t quite understand why February is somehow worse than other months. I wish I did. I am thinking of you throughout this month. One thing I can say, though, is that luckily it is the shortest month of the year! For me February is the deep breath before the plunge into spring, when the world is slowly opening a sleepy, ice-encrusted eye, and letting some sun shine through to melt the frost.

    Reply

  7. the secret keeper
    Feb 15, 2015 @ 17:32:53

    Only half the month to go. February is my least favorite month of the year. Not for the same reasons but I just can’t deal with how it makes me feel. Trapped in the middle of weather that crushes one’s spirit. March will be here and spirits will begin to rise again. Hold on tight.

    Reply

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