The weather has been non-compliant this winter. And as a result, it’s as if everyone in the city has been forced to do something against his will. Normally I’d cheera Winnie the Pooh blustery kind of day, but Christmas rain really ought to be snow. Today at a public rink I witnessed a man in hockey skates, a white turtle neck, Patriots sweatshirt, and summer shorts. Bostonians trudge on.
This has been the least festive Christmas holidays within memory: no tree, no cold, no snow. Just a weak rain. It makes the air clammy and uncomfortable. Usually the harsh winter light glows a pale blue. This year, everything has been painted in corpse gray. I’m starting to internalize the color palette a full two months ahead of schedule.
This is my first birthday without my mother. In two days it will be the first Christmas without her. My emotions rage so high that I don’t have the energy to show them. I’m angry at her, at my father, at my sister, and certainly at myself.
Life is full of regrets. I had always wanted to bring my grandmother to a fine photographer’s studio for some portraits. That never happened. Same with my mother. Another missed opportunity, I suppose. I try to sleep off my undirected anger. Now I scream in my sleep. My dreams are filled with tears. I can’t tell if my psyche’s catharsis really is carthartic at all. Chances are it’s not.
People warn you not to lie. Lies, they say, multiple at an alarming rate. Not so true. Skilled liars need only utter one, maybe two. But regrets fester, burn, and grow. I’ve fallen into a state that cherishes my regrets and seeks out more.
It makes sense. People are fundamentally afraid. They long for misery and sorrow. Because the reality of self-inflicted misery isn’t so bad. You can’t loose what you don’t have. If I allowed myself to be happy, I could lose it. Psychologists have documented self-handicapping pretty well. There’s nothing new about it. A kid might become sick “all of a sudden” before a big test. Why? Then if he performs poorly, he’s escaped his failure. The circumstances were beyond his control, after alll. How could it be his fault?
This line of thought rejects personal responsibility. Life is a cruel game of chance. It can deal some pretty bad hands, or so the reasoning goes. The trick to winning the game is a good poker face. And that’s a matter of individual choice. Still, neither the weather nor I really feels like smiling right now.
I don’t know why I want to be alone when I know that the problem is that I feel alone.
Some holiday cheer.