The days immediately after blogging I feel a sense of euphoria. It’s as if the actual process of writing, the seated contemplation, the search for the perfect phrase and the motion of my fingers flexing fires up neurons and synapses all leading to the release of some form of endorphins into my blood stream. Once set loose, they surge through my body alleviating aches and pains, boosting my confidence and most of all renewing my rocky relationship with words. I begin to see words everywhere. I find myself talking to no one in particular, quietly conversing with myself and secretly commenting on my surroundings to my inner being. I understand that in most circles, speaking to oneself is commonly associated with madness. In fact, it is often said to be the first sign of complete insanity. Well, I don’t deny I’m a little crazy. I embrace it. I almost find it an endearing quality…one of my many quirks shall we say? Like the fact that I sweat when I’m cold, that my biggest fear is a ceiling fan falling and decapitating me and that I feel safest when I’m wearing a hat. I suppose I’m not doing myself any favours by revealing these things for all to read, but at the end of the day, who the fuck cares?
Friday was an epic day for me. No, I wasn’t offered my dream job, Colin Firth didn’t suddenly offer to re-create that scene in Pride and prejudice for me, nor did I win the lottery. Something even bigger happened. The sun came out. Unless you live in the UK (or Seattle) you can’t really understand the hideousness of perpetual greyness. Waking up in the morning is a chore when all you see out of your window are clouds and this pathetic excuse for precipitation. The drizzle leads to this overwhelming dampness that chills your bones and fills you with a sense of hopelessness so dire that it seems improbable you will ever achieve anything worthwhile in your life again. This is how I spent so many winters in my lifetime. Before I moved to New York I never understood the concept of fierce sunshine mixed with a gruesomely cold wind. What? I need to wear 5 layers of clothing AND my sunglasses? However, I now find this combination to be delightfully liberating. I enjoy the duvet-eque sensation deriving from wearing everything you own in one go and the chilling caress of the Atlantic gale whipping up a storm on the Hudson river. It moves me to walk faster, smile harder and appreciate the warmer days when they finally arrive.
But, back to Friday. Yes, the sun emerged in the East of England and thus brought with it the moment I look forward to every single year. Let me explain. I hate birthdays. I hate New Years Eve. I hate every moment that our society has created that signifies an “end of an era”. These celebrations cause the type of person who tends to over-analyse everything (me) to freak out and begin to assess the futile nature of life. My birthday falls at the coldest, most despicable time of the year. The end of February sucks, there’s no other way to say it. I fall into this deep and dark depression, thinking about what has occurred over the last year and regardless of all positives I always come to the conclusion that I have eaten too much, exercised too little and accomplished a big, fat (emphasis on the word fat) NOTHING. You can imagine how damaging this is on the human psyche. I feel useless, ugly and expendable. I dread having to fill out forms that involve writing your age and I know that I will never live up the the sky-high expectations I have for myself.
This raincloud will hang over my head until that day arrives. A part of me knows it is coming and I take out my sunglasses in preparation and under the safety of my most colourful hat I clean and polish the lenses. Then, around the 3rd or 4th of March it happens. Hallelujah!! My life is saved. I don’t have to go and jump off the Millenium Bridge longingly gazing at the Tate Modern and the National Theatre as they stand mocking my artistic failures all the way down to the cold Thames river because, finally, Spring, my saviour, is here!
I’ve written so many poems about the sheer brilliance of that moment. Every year I churn out another, reveling in the knowledge that even though there are many days of rain yet to come, I am now able to imagine what it feels like to be warm again. Now when I close my eyes, my sight returns and I am able to conjure a picture, any picture of summer, health and vitality. A picture complete with feeling and smell. The scent of the ocean fills my nostrils and for a moment, every day I can be extraordinarily happy.
Whilst writing this I have been wondering what my image for this year will be. What does my heart and mind conjure when I think of warmer and more fulfilling times?
1. Central Park. June 2010. Dressed in white, wearing a mask of the Chrysler building, drawing inspiration from the sky-scape around me as I devise (and sweat) a piece of theatre with my most fabulous friends.
2. The Ikea ferry, crossing the East River on my way to Red Hook, Brooklyn, feeling momentously boat-sick, but knowing it’s all ok because there’s a smile on my love’s face and a hand in mine.