Sunday, January 29, 2012

Heavy Thoughts

January has been a long and difficult month.

I have no idea why. Perhaps it's the weather: temperamental and moody, given to flashes of nasty. Kinda like me. These days, I am feeling moody and every day I am faking something: cheer, understanding, clarity.


I struggle occasionally, with the winter blues, although I thought that last year was the worst I'd see. Last year, I thought I was prepared for second anniversary of my brother's death.

I was wrong.

This year, I am more prepared for the emotional wallop of missing him, of replaying that terrible day, when my world changed forever  but I am also terrified by it. This year, these long, cold weeks leading up to February 10th have almost (again) been my undoing:

I am unfocused and unmotivated at school, at home, at life.

Last week, I exercised twice and both times, it took EVERYthing I had to propel myself to go. At home and at school, I cannot summon up the enthusiasm to truly participate. I feel off-kilter, fuzzy and vaguely paranoid.

I yell.

Intellectually, I know that there are a number of factors contributing to this brief (please God, let it be brief) peine de coeur -  ti's the season, after all, for the winter blues. The holidays are over, money's tight, the monotony of routine yawns long before me, I'm thinking of Andrew, the laundry has overwhelmed me, the Reds are feistier than usual, blah, blah, blah...  This is what my mind tells me.

The rest of me doesn't care about any of it.

The rest of me doesn't want haul laundry baskets down the stairs, nor plan the week's menu or go for a long, brisk walk in the sunshine. Fuck that, says the rest of me. I just wanna sit here, in this patch of sunlight, watching dust motes dance.

And, says the rest of me, I want to eat. It's a frightfully strong compulsion, actually. Even as my brain registers what's happening, it's like my body is a separate thing, desperately longing for all things substantial and sweet: chips, bread, cheese, potatoes.  Baileys.

The rest of me scrambles to swallow the grief that rises, unexpectedly and at odd moments, but swiftly - always so goddamned swiftly - into my throat.

Down! Down! Stay down!

I will do anything, eat anything, to keep this grief at bay. I will eat mounds in order to shove grief and other feelings back down, away from the places where someone (including me) might see.

 I try to smother them with yummy breads and pastries for these carb-filled foods are heavy and dense and fill up the spaces left aching and empty, otherwise.


What?!?! What the hell did I just type there?
Did I just write that?

Yes, yes I did.

Is it true?


Yes, it is.

I am absolutely flabbergasted by this sudden insight into the "why" behind my weight. It's not, of course, the only reason I'm fat, because I know that my own lack of self-control and stick-to-it-iveness certainly don't help matters. And while I've  referred to myself as an emotional-eater before, I've never actually understood it.

But this  - this horrified realization that I am choking out my own heart - literally and emotionally -well... it has simply stunned me.

What an awkward, awful, truly astonishing truth. Wow.

I am embarrassed.  And crying. (And eyeing the calendar, trying to determine if this is actually PMS, run amok. Could this Hell be hormonally-induced?)

Mostly, I am questioning my sanity at publishing this post, for all the world to see.


For the first time in many, many weeks years, I feel lighter.

And it feels...good.

And you? How do you cope with the winter blues?


  1. Dearest Liz,
    What a post that shows a breadth and change and hope and life ... amidst despair. An epiphany.

    My cycles of despair don't seem to be related to weather, but I live with someone whose cycles are.

    It is tough. But you are moving forward, the only direction any of us can hope for.

    I'm holding you up to the light, my good friend.

    Hugs and love,


  2. i love you- i heard a sermon recently about the hole we have inside and it was very moving- i 'think' it was this one- It is a hard time of year- and depression is a hard shadow to catch- and it takes courage to open your eyes- especially in the dark. Hugs

  3. You write so honestly, I'm all choked up. I'm so sorry about he loss of your brother. You'll always have these waves of grief but they WILL get fewer and farther between as time passes...I know this because my best friend passed away from cancer at age 23. When grief overwhelms you, remember that although grieving is something that needs to be done, Andrew would want you to live happily. Writing is your outlet and therefore you've already taken the first step. Little steps...

    Tara :)

  4. Thanks, everyone. I am teary, yet not. Undone, but stitching. I hope.


  5. Ohh sweet sweet Belly. Why isn't there a teleportation device that can instantly beam me to you so I can just hug you?

    1. Someday, I will learn to fly. Until then, know that I love you and accept "virtual" hugs.

  6. Darlin (shrinking) Belly, your words always blow my mind You write and think and feel so lushly, so gorgeously.
    I mourn for your brother too.
    Hugs and hugs and more hugs.
    Keep writing honey. Spit it out. : ) oxo

    1. Spit it out. LOVE this. Thank you for reading and sending hugs from afar. You always have exactly the right words, Pam. Thank you.

  7. ahhhh now that feels better. now i know i'm not the only one...

  8. Liz: January has been rough for me too. I feel like my posts have been so dark lately. I'm so sorry for you. But I am so glad you had a moment of clarity. Do something special for in his memory.

  9. Ok, so there's a little "reply" button underneath each comment, but for some reason, it's not working for me. Stupid button.

    Anyway, thank you all for your kindness and your friendships, near, far and somewhere in between. Your words, your hearts, your love...bolster me. Lift me up. Make me smile.

    Thank you, especially today, for everything.

  10. Oh, Liz.
    Hang in there my friend. BIG HUGS!!

  11. Hi Liz:
    Remember the video we watched about vulnerability? remember she talked about numbing? And eating is one way we numb? It is a normal human response to pain and the loss of a dearly loved brother is about as painful as it gets. However, in your writing, I see glimpses of the joy he brought you. I see that you are forever changed because you got to be Andrew's sister - and changed for the better. Don't let the pain of your grief numb the gratitude, the celebration of who he was and what he meant and still means to you. Of course you miss him and mourn for him but the flip side of that is joy and gratitude at having had him. I wish you all the best in your journey and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Your teacher

  12. Sweet Teacher, thank you. You are right and I know that you know this pain and then some. Thank you for teaching me - here and in class - and for supporting me in the best ways.