January sucks. For most of my life, January has felt like the longest month of the year. Well, it probably felt like the longest because I usually include the first two weeks of February in it as well. This bleak period is bracketed by my two least favorite holidays: New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. No matter your personal circumstances (single, dating, or in a LTR), these two dates always disappoint.
Oh, sure, we all have tried to make these days fun through the usual strategies proposed by Hallmark and liquor companies. One year, we vow to go out to a party. Remembering our disappointment, we decide to stay alone the following year. This just makes us, well, lonely. The next year, we throw our own party at home. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, these parties can’t deliver. The year after that, we determine to stay with our special someone(s) for a quiet evening. When the mood feels contrived, we wonder what happened to the romance in our relationship. These holidays just can’t live up to the hype. The six weeks in between these two days feels like an eternity to me. It's the same every year.
This January, I am struggling to balance the many deadlines that are closing in around me. My career is at a serious crossroads and I am not entirely certain how things will unfold. Without going into detail, much of it is really beyond my control. Both positive and negative elements swirl about me. I have made some mistakes that I am trying to fix. If Guadalupe is with me, then things will fall like dominoes along a positive trajectory. If not, the light at the end of the tunnel is really attached to a speeding train. I might have fucked myself (and not in the good way). It reminds me of that Gordon Lightfoot song (which made a better disco-song) about feeling like a hero in a paperback novel. Heroes often fail.
At the same time as my job takes up most of my time, I am wondering about the direction of my personal life. Like my career, I have made some mistakes. A year-out from Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies), my personal life still feels disordered. Without a doubt, I am so much better off now than the eight years that I wasted with him. The demise of that relationship, however, was the most painful experience that I have ever had (and hope will ever have). Not only did it mean an end to the way I structured my life for close to a decade (a painful change for anyone), but it also revealed just how easily I allowed myself to be manipulated. Time and again, I betrayed myself when I knew that the relationship was destructive to me.
Clearly, my problem is not romanticizing that past relationship. Indeed, I really, really, really don’t want to repeat the mistakes of that relationship or replicate it in any way. As a result, my inclination is to avoid emotional entanglements all together. While safe, this is ultimately unrewarding. The problem is, though, I have no idea what I actually do want out of a relationship(s).
It’s times like these that I wonder about my life, the cosmos, and the meaning of existence. Only the newest of readers will be surprised that GayProf suffers from existential crises. If I had bothered to clean my bathtub, I would be taking a long bath and pondering the nature of our lives. At the moment, I feel adrift and unsettled with my life.
Being raised Catholic, a friend recently pointed out to me, meant that I learned to imagine death as the triumph over life. I had not heard it phrased so distinctly. Catholics construe living as a burden and a constant struggle. Positive things in your life are finite. If not valued, they will always be taken away by a vengeful, blue-meany of a God.
All suffering, meanwhile, is ultimately a “test” that must be embraced. Do you have a painful lesion? God sent you pain to see what you can take. Did you lose a finger in a cannery? God smites your vanity. Did that milk go sour prematurely? God loathes your gluttony – and you should probably have your refrigerator coil checked.
These visions of the universe inform my existence still even as I struggle against them. I have trouble setting aside the negative and enjoying the positive. I often expect the worst – witness the gravitas. At least, though, Catholics liked the drinking.
All of this is to say that the past couple weeks have brought into focus some seriously bad choices that I have made in my short existence. No, I don’t mean “bad” in the sense of having once gunned somebody down. Nor do I mean “bad” in the sense of having continued to have my hair feathered years after it went out of style (although...). Rather, I mean that what I want out of life has not at all been accomplished by the decisions that I made, particularly in the past year. Those choices brought me to my current point, which is marked by serious flux, financial instability, and uncertainty. Now I have to figure out how to fix those choices. In the meantime, January sucks.