By Craig Stadler
Welcome to June 2019. You’ve made it half way through the year which only started five minutes ago…or so it feels like. We have seen elections come and go and I will vent about that in a minute, but as we get ready for the 3 month deep freeze of Winter, how are you doing? How are YOU?
Winter for me is an interesting time. If you believe in all things scientific, you will find that there is a disorder known as SAD, or Seasonal Affect Disorder. This basically states that in the colder months, when there is less sun, the body is not able to produce the same amount of happy making hormones in the body and people tend to feel depression even more.
Now, if you are like me and are already medicated up to the eyeballs for depression and various other colourful and emotional disorders, this is a time of dread, when people like myself generally cocoon and hide and wait for the warmer months. And I don’t like Summer, so it’s a vicious cycle.
2019 for me has been a rollercoaster. New home, new career, new life, new suburb, which have all been brilliant. But it has also brought the end of a promising career, the realization that some close friendships need trimming, financial strain as I try to repair my past financial mistakes and try to assist my mother to live, who is unable to work. My brother’s retrenchment has not helped there, because he is not able to assist anymore, so it causes a general feeling of frustration and helplessness. And of course, just as we thought we had recovered from my mother’s breast cancer and subsequent mastectomy, she has had a stroke and lost a large portion of her eyesight.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a snot psalm or a plea for pity. But it has added to an already thriving cluster fuck and it has started to feel like the meds are just not up to the task, but they can not be increased because they are already expensive.
Add SAD to this kitchenaid mixer and I find myself hiding under the bed waiting for the storm to pass.
This very column has been written at the last minute. In fact, I’d say it was written at number 99, but that was a week ago. Last month, I could think of nothing to write. So I hid. Fetal position, blanket and Netflix. It fixes nothing, but it drowns out the noise.
It was in my cocoon state that I discovered on Netflix, a show called Pose. A touching story of the gay and trans community in New York in the early 80’s and the ball scene at the time. Imagine “Paris is Burning”, but with a storyline, a ton of heart and a mountain of shade.
The early 80’s gay story has always been very appealing to me because I’ve often thought how much of our current freedoms we owe to the people that struggled and fought back then.
Now if you don’t know what the ball scene was, I suggest to pop onto Netflix and watch both “Paris is Burning” and “Pose”, but to sum it up, it was a party/fashion show where people from less fortunate communities would gather and celebrate as extravagantly as possible and model the fashions of the upper set, where contestants would walk in various “categories” that would mimic the lives of the people they could see on the other side of the tracks. The lives they yearned to be, and could be for those brief moments while walking in the ball.
It dawned on me that the ball scene never changed. We live it now. We emulate the stars in everything we do, we pass off intersection sunglasses as international fashion, we live above our means to create the illusion of affluence and the biggest costume we every put on is to smile.
These masquerades are obviously not healthy and/or sustainable in the long run, but there is a case to be made for smiling.
I had a former employer who would always tell us to “Fake it until we feel it”. Present the shiny side, smile and pretend to have fun, and the theory is that you will eventually begin to feel happy. Self brainwashing as it were. Think about it, a perfectly healthy person can arrive at work and 5 different people ask if they are ok, and at least halfway through that day, he will consider going home because suddenly he doesn’t feel well.
Why aren’t we using this method to our benefit. We have nothing to lose.
I have started by getting out of bed and writing down these thoughts, which hopefully make sense to you. How will you start?
At some point, no matter how well medicated we are or how good our support system is, the individual needs to stand up and make active steps to find bliss.
The category is “Smiles and Happiness Eleganza Realness”… NOW WALK!
It’s getting cold out there guys…look after yourselves and those you care about.
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