As the joys of the holiday season fade into a distant memory and the January gloom takes full effect, I find myself in the ever-precarious balance between gratitude for the winter stillness and the frustrating caress of seasonal depression. With the grey skies ominously awaiting a downpour of rain but never allowing themselves to let go, I can feel the same energy surmounting in me: a stagnation of joy and build-up of emotions threatening to release into the atmosphere and consume me in a brief but intense flood. I’m trying to love the winter—the stillness in the air only present when life is in hibernation and hiding; the coziness of the couch as I cuddle up with my darling cat to fend off the cold; the warm ciders and hot teas that fill my body with warmth and comfort. These are the moments I treasure. And as the natural world descends into a period of rest and returns itself back into the soil beneath us, I am reminded of the natural cycles of life. Life, death, rebirth. As the universe constantly shifts in a balancing act and things come and go, so do we. Our every moment of consciousness is as precious as the last and as exciting as the future.
This winter I am confronted with the changes of the past year and forced to reflect upon them. I consider the great shifts of my life—graduation, saying goodbyes, leaving comfort, embarking upon adventures, settling down in a new space—and I allow myself to feel the discomfort in my soul. My heart aches for the love I lost and my brain sends waves of gratitude for the love I experienced. It’s a cosmic battle between trusting in the path I have set for myself and questioning whether I have let go of the right things. Finally alone with myself and my thoughts (and my cat, of course), I can allow myself to grieve these things without pain. For once, I have full clarity. This path I have chosen, this path that I have been led down by the universe, is driving me towards my full potential. Everything that has mattered in my life—every person, every choice, every mistake—has helped mould me into the person I am today.
And as the natural world descends into a period of rest and returns itself back into the soil beneath us, I am reminded of the natural cycles of life. Life, death, rebirth. As the universe constantly shifts in a balancing act and things come and go, so do we. Our every moment of consciousness is as precious as the last and as exciting as the future.
And I know, you’re probably thinking, “no shit, Juliette,” but sometimes it’s easy to forget to see the big picture. We get so caught up in the negative things society throws at us that we forget about the beauty of everything. There is beauty in everything.
I had a strange revelation today. I was on a date with a pretty boy with eyes that looked like the earth laughing about my irrational fear of vomit. I told him how I had gotten myself absolutely wasted while home and spent a night sat by the toilet, with my poor mother taking care of an inconsolable, terrified daughter who couldn’t even handle her own poor choices. He laughed and joked about how he has the lucky ability to make himself throw up when overly intoxicated and remove any hangover for the next day, and I was reminded of a moment years ago when I made a choice that created massive implications for the rest of my life. This brief moment of flashback played behind my eyes like a near death experience. I watched myself drowning in my own despair dump a bottle of pills into the palm of my hand and toss them into my mouth, washing them down with a glass of wine, tears flowing down my face and hatred in my eyes. I saw the flash of panic and watched as I ran to my roommates, the disappointment and fear emerging on their faces as I told them what I had done. I watched as I leaned over a toilet and couldn’t get myself to stick two fingers down my throat, my pupils dilating and my vision going blurry, frantically fighting the ticking clock in my head.
And just as fast as that vision emerged, it was gone. I carried on like nothing had happened, laughing and smiling over lunch, but a foreign feeling tickled at my subconscious as I sat in that bright green booth and looked into this stranger’s eyes. I had a revelation that I didn’t understand before: my irrational fear isn’t as irrational as I had thought. My fear stems back to a fear of failure, and in that fateful moment in the fall of 2020, I wasn’t afraid of the act of puking, I was afraid of failing at my chosen task. I was afraid of living.
If I could go back in time, I would tell that girl about my realization in the booth. I would tell her how healthy and happy I am, that I am living alone but not lonely, hat I am able to puke my guts out when I need to, unafraid of the future. I'd tell her about my many dates with pretty boys and girls who open car doors for me and hold my hand while walking through a park and make me laugh with my belly. There's so much more to life than fear, and I never want to waste another moment hating myself because of a demon in my own head. I am so glad that that young woman survived and continued to grow. I am so grateful for the friends and loved ones who got me through my worst moments, and I am so proud of myself for persevering and surviving.
Now every time I pray to those porcelain gods, I thank myself that I am no longer afraid of tomorrow and that the idea of failure no longer scares me. And while, of course, I certainly do not plan on puking my guts out on a regular basis, I am so damn glad that I am alive and can. I am in love with living and loving and sharing my goodness with this world that is so deserving of love and light and joy. Even in this time of darkness, I know that the light is coming. I reflect in the winter to pave way for growth in the spring. Healing is cyclical, and it’s okay to break down every now and again, as long as you pick yourself back up and treat yourself with grace and love. Everyone needs to start somewhere.
Now every time I pray to those porcelain gods, I thank myself that I am no longer afraid of tomorrow and that the idea of failure no longer scares me.
As we journey into 2024, I wish you love, light, and laughter. I hope that you follow your dreams and refuse to fall into patterns of the mundane. Explore the world. Try something new. Live every moment with intention and kindness to yourself and others. The world needs more love, so bring it into existence and spark healing everywhere you go.
May the year bring blessings upon blessings,