Not a sob but a stream of tears for a few hours (and in public). I sent a sorry for myself text to someone trying to be kind. I hurt today in a way I haven’t for awhile. It’s been… well… probably since last winter that I felt this. This wound opening. Like a festering infection of a seemingly harmless cut. A familiar and yet surprising sensation of complete and total self pity.

I didn’t always used to feel this terrible this time of year. I’ve also never really been this alone. I think back to my younger years and the holidays were solid. A quintessential family unit growing up with all of it’s normalcy of traditions. As that faded into adulthood, I worked in high-end restaurants for way too many years where my staff family and I coveted this time of year. We worked long hours, made absurd amounts of money and spent the majority of it celebrating with each other. It’s only been in the last few years that this time of year has been altered. My family unit no longer mine, but a scattering of separation. My work decreased greatly with the shift into self employment and seasonality. A connection to the outdoors reduced – my solace aside from social stimulus. My losses only amplified by everyone I’ve ever known coupling up, having families, starting traditions of their own.

I cried today because I now hate this time of year. Without a central structure, without the busy-ness of stacking cash, I feel so incredibly alone as everyone hunkers down, fills their schedule, and prepares for winter. Now, I know I’m not really alone. My friends and family would be offended to hear me say so. They’re there. So are you… I get it. I feel it. I would say the same thing too. Your offering to invite me over, your inclusion only increases my fullness of pity. A harsh truth that only makes me feel worse because I know your intentions are good and sincere. Guilt added to shame added to loneliness. Fuck it!

I knew this was coming based on my experience of the last few years. I’ve even attempted to avoid it by diving into my feelings, escaping the weather and taking some time off. In one week I leave for warm beaches, solitude, and deep introspection. I guess it wasn’t soon enough. You would think I would be happy, excited, relieved. Instead, I’m scared, uncertain and unexpectedly crying  profusely on a perfectly tolerable autumn evening. I have no idea where this scab has come from. Why I’m acting in this way? Why the change in weather hurts so much? I imagine purpose would ease it’s pain. It’s not as easy as a bandage of money, food or alcohol anymore. So, I guess I’m packing my bag, declining your invitations and letting the tears flow for now.

I hope to shift this experience from here on out. It may mean redefining this time of year and what it means for me. It may be finding a healthy way to escape. If you happen to be someone who knows this kind of hurt, I’m sorry and I won’t try to appease you with pathetic protocol. I’ll do the work and hope to light a way.

Follow me here to feel less alone or just to see how I stumble.