People sometimes say that they appreciate my honesty in my writing. Yes, I am honest, but I am usually only honest about the things that I want to be honest about. If I were truly honestly these days, I might write something yucky and choppy like the following.


 

Hello, my name is Jasmine Martin, and the truth is, I am not good at Januaries, Februaries, and/or Marches.

I want to be, but I’m not.

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These months are dangerous ones for me. They immobilize me. I think my body may be trying to settle into a form of hibernation, and it turns out that laws of nature are difficult to work against.

These blindingly white days have a way of shoving me towards darkness, even though I don’t want to go there.

The truth is…

 

Being social feels like too much work.

Untangling myself feels like too much work.

Writing feels like too much work.

Trying to swallow a giant Advil feels like too much work.

Working well feels like too much work.

Making decisions and moving forward feels like too much work.

Surviving feels like too much work.

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Ah.

Perhaps that last one on the list is the real frustration.

Why does living require so much maintenance?

(You mean that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I need to regularly wash my hair, brush my teeth, do dishes, make food, tidy, do laundry, go grocery shopping? And on top of that, I am supposed to be having a job, responding to texts and emails in a timely and meaningful manner, and making life decisions? And I am supposed to read my Bible and pray? And sleep at night? And clear the snow off my car? And have a mysterious, exhausting cold that goes on for almost two weeks? And write and create and have thoughts? Plus I was going to EXERCISE and LOSE WEIGHT? AND WHY DO MY FINGERNAILS NEED TO BE CLIPPED- AGAIN?  How is this humanly possible?)

(But I’ll have you know that I have kept that new year’s resolution to make our bed every day. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health… I have made the bed.)

The truth is, I do all these things, and then I just need to do them again the next day, the next week…

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The truth is, I have to learn to be okay with the small, daily, necessary tasks. I have to. That is what life consists of. It is time to accept my smallness, my humanity, and to take delight in the process of nurturing a life of quality.

The truth is, I might not feel like I want to do all these things, but I feel so much more alive when I do.

The truth is, once I start these tasks, I usually don’t even mind them.

The truth is, there are things that I can do to make February a healthier month than January was.

 

Here’s my list.

  1. Go outside and do fun things to combat the mentality that the cold is something to be avoided and fought against. Embrace the cold (before it embraces me).
  2. Get into a regular sleep schedule. This has always been tricky for me because I COME ALIVE between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., and just want to stay awake and do ALL OF THE THINGS. Unfortunately, I have yet to work a job that works well with this.
  3. Leave enough time in my schedule to enjoy caring for myself and my body, so that I don’t need to rush through my morning and evening routines like a madwoman, and end up resenting my body for the care that it requires.
  4. Choose to be okay with the process of making food. It’s a required part of life-  nothing to get all huffy about. It is literally a life-giving task. Embrace it. I like this woman’s perspective on it: http://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/blog/enjoydinner (I actually like her perspective about a lot of things. If you aren’t yet familiar with the Lazy Genius, you have been missing out.)
  5. Do the next right thing. One step at a time. (If you ever feel overwhelmed, consider listening to Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, The Next Right Thing. Her voice alone will calm you, and her words are truth.) 
  6. Hand my phone over to Ricky in the evening so that I avoid mindless scrolling.
  7. Watch my little sister Renee’s videos for artistic and just general life inspiration. (You can count on beautiful and thoughtful content from her. You should definitely subscribe.) Here’s one of my favourites:

“I suppose I thought life was the puzzle. That it was meant to be lived, to be understood, to be unriddled with the help of the ocean and a bottle of wine. But the puzzle isn’t life, is it? The ocean, the wine, the Sunday evening on the balcony- that’s life. It’s enough to be enjoyed, with or without the missing pieces.”

Erin Loechner (Chasing Slow)

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Happy February, everyone! Does enjoying the winter months come naturally to you? What have you learned about yourself in this area? What makes winter wonderful/bearable for you? 

 

15 thoughts on “The Truth is…

  1. This was a well-timed post for me. I find I have to keep working towards the next big thing these months. And that big thing might just be something like seeing a friend that I haven’t seen for awhile or organizing a closet that desperately needs it- things that take energy but have very satisfying end results. I find it’s good to have one abnormal event a week to keep me out of a slump. Thanks for writing again!

  2. Also, in thinking about this further…. I like your thoughts on finding joy in other peoples’ accomplishments when you don’t feel like you have any of your own at the moment. For me, it means intentionally celebrating with my boys when they learn to sit, or master their colours, or discover something new in the world, or have a happy, healthy day after a week of being sick and grumpy. It’s the little things that get us through the gloom 😉

  3. I remember that time after the first marriage buzz had worn off when I began to realize I wasn’t going to heal the world all by myself after all, in fact, judging by the amount of food we consumed and the laundry we made, I was going to spend an extraordinarily large chunk of my life doing very ordinary things. It took me years to recover from that realization (still recovering, maybe) and it was always hardest in winter. Jasmine, dearest, I know you live in a basement so give yourself a little extra grace and rest til spring. Because here’s the secret that made my Winters bearable, and I’m afraid it’s not very spiritual. It was VERY LARGE windows. I’m happy to share them if you or anyone else ever need them. I’d even throw in a comfy chair and a tea or coffee.

  4. It’s so nice to hear your post!
    I can sympathize with your winter struggles. Sometimes I find I just have no motivation in the winter months. Thaws like we’re having now really get me excited, and motivated! I’m not really sure that I’ve tried anything to help with the winter; but I liked Tamara’s idea of setting a small goal to accomplish every week. I’ve found before that even if I can only send an encouragement email to someone, or write someone a note; that it usually helps when I feel down.

  5. I know exactly what you mean about everything being too much work in the wintertime, Jasmine! I’ve been feeling like that myself a lot the last couple of weeks. I keep wondering why I feel too sluggish to get up and do things! The sad part is, I really love winter weather – and winter sports (when I have time and energy for them). The negative feelings always seems to catch me by surprise!
    One thing that really helps me is listening to music. I can feel my spirits lifting with the first few bars.
    There’s a song based on opening verses of Psalm 107 that has especially encouraged me in the past year. The words “O, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,” help to remind me that everything is so much bigger than my feelings right now. He’s still good, and we need to praise Him for it, even we don’t feel ‘happy.’

    1. I could identify with your statement, “The negative feelings always seem to catch me by surprise.” Thanks for the reminder to listen to beautiful music… I have done that several times recently while driving to work, and it can do wonders! Thank you.

  6. This was a really good read! It’s always nice to hear that “we are not alone”:) I loved hearing the ways that help you through the gloom. One of my strategies for a good winter is to have lots of good books around and to give myself permission to read lots. Thanks for posting.

  7. I don’t really have the February problem where I live, but I do get the “hot season doldrums” when March, April and May roll around. And I could REALLY resonate with what you said, “Why does living require so much maintenance?” YES! Exactly! By the time I get something healthy made for my meals, my hair washed, teeth brushed, exercise done, laundry through the washer, hung up and folded, room cleaned, desk cleared off, and then do it over and over and over, not to mention SLEEP, where do I have time for other things? So sadly some of those maintenance things get pitched when they shouldn’t and then my life suffers because of it. Thanks for voicing some of those frustrations. It resonated with me. 🙂

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