But not for the reasons you might think.
In my home state of Texas my winter (of discontent) happens every year starting just after Christmas and lasts until just a bit after Easter.
I know what my northern brothers and sisters are thinking right after they read this line. Winter in Texas, really? Since when does a sixteenth of an inch dusting of snow and average temperatures of forty degrees above zero constitute winter? P.G. you’re a such a wuss. Okay, okay I’m a wuss. Will you guys stop laughing long enough so I can explain?
The cold doesn’t bother me (well not much) because I can always bundle up. The snow and ice doesn’t bring me down. I have VPN and a laptop so I can work my side hustle from home. I have fireplaces upstairs and downstairs in my modest home to keep me toasty and warm.
So what’s the problem?
I hate winter because for some reason it’s the time I’m the most melancholy and vunerable. It’s a period of almost four months where I tumble into a state of depression and self-doubt so bad I don’t think I can possibly go on. Don’t panic. I never think of ending it all.
It’s damn near debilitating, but somehow — I don’t know how — I’m able to present an outward appearance of a functional adult and go through the motions. I’ve been doing it for years so I guess I’m rather practiced at it.
All the while my brain is practically castrating me for being such a terrible writer. It takes delight in chastising me for failing to adopt better writing habits. My inside P.G. relishes the moments it gets to scorn me for taking the easy way out and concentrating more on my side hustle than my writing. It constantly hits me with the fact I’m working a side hustle because I’ll never be good enough to pay the bills with my writing.
The thoughts tell me I’m simply not good enough, will never be good enough and nobody cares to read the shit I write because that’s all it is — shit. Unentertaining, meaningless crap, a terribly written assault on the reader’s senses.
My thoughts tell me I’ll never get anywhere by writing, that I’m too old and it’s too late in life to try so stop being stupid. My inner self tells me to start worrying about the fact I’m going to be working at some side hustle until I finally break down and die. It tells me to forget this folly of writing and do something productive for once in my damned life.
Four months is a long, torturous time to have to listen to myself beat myself up. So how do I manage to defeat the green-eyed monster of self-doubt and self recrimination?
I simply muster enough courage to ignore those bastards of negative thinking and I fucking write. When I do these inglorious bastards, these destructive, piss-poor excuses and reasons to quit just — slink away.
But they’ll be back. They’ll lie in waiting all spring, summer and fall lurking in the shadows of my thoughts until they sense a miniscule opening in my fortitude. Then they’ll ooze through the chinks of my armor and take up residence in my brain.
And again, I’ll spend another winter fighting through it, thinking I just might lose the battle this time. Thinking I can only fight these feelings so long before I lose the will, the strength and the courage to fight back. Telling myself I just might quit once and for good this time.
But then I write.