Hello Darkness My Old Friend
Ah, winter, you bitter old whore.
I hate winter. I hate winter because during winter I really don’t feel like myself. If you follow me on Twitter and notice a distinct trend toward whining self-pity during the winter months, that’s why.
Three months ago things were totally different. I had a new job which was terrifying but exciting and I was coming to the end of paying off a very heavy loan which was going to enable me to make serious improvements to my general life and situation. I was the slimmest I’d ever been as a grown-up and I was basically bouncing around in my seat, happy and hopeful and excited for the future. Then the nights started drawing in, through no fault of my own huge swathes of my financial plan fell through, and I started feeling like shit.
It always happens in winter. My ability to function as a human is tentative at best, having developed an annoying bit of social anxiety over the last few years, but in winter I’m basically holding myself together with spit and string. I don’t sleep well, I get anxious and bored and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m much better when I’m around people, which is why people I’m around may never notice, but I don’t have many friends in my local area (the delightful @poptasticdave an outstanding exception) and it’s been a while since I’ve been confident at making real-life friends, especially when the fact that I can afford basically no socialising hangs over my head. Normally at this time of year I’d drink myself to sleep most nights but I managed to avoid that this year only because I’m working office hours for the first time ever and I am unable to face 6:30am with a hangover. This year instead, I have eaten my feelings. Which is ill-timed, as I no longer have the physical job which gets more physical at Christmas and allows me to absorb large swings in eating habits. I have a sedentary job now and I’ve put on nearly 14lbs. I’m the heaviest I have been in well over a year. As you might imagine this has not helped my sense of self overly-much.
Over Christmas Grindr and Hornet were practically bristling with students who had come home for the holidays and who, inexplicably, were chatting me up. And while attention from pretty people well over a decade younger than me is always nice, there wasn’t a massive amount I could do about it. And they were frisky. But they were at their parents and I can’t accommodate, and in any event I’m the heaviest I’ve been in a long while and feel about as sexy as a plank of wood so the idea of being up close and personal with a skinny waif filled me with dread rather than lust. And as above, my ability to be at ease with new people from a standing start at this time of year is severely compromised. So, attention from pretty humans, not helping.
Also pissing on my emotional cornflakes is the fact that the detailed step-by-step plan I had drawn up that was going to see me much better off every month, as well as living somewhere more conducive to the prosecution of a social life befitting a handsome homosexual-about-town, had to be thrown over the shoulder. Instead of my substantial overdraft whimpering in a corner by the end of the financial year and a move into some bijou apartmentette in town in late spring, I’m having to pay off my overdraft over the course of calendar 2015, which means realistically I won’t be able to move into a place of my own until February or March 2016 and I won’t be tangibly better off until about October.
My current living situation, while reasonably comfortable and reasonably priced, is not really suitable for having friends round or for having people stay the night. Of course, I could move somewhere else right now. After all I’m not paying that chunky loan off any more, I could use the spare cash to move somewhere else, though I wouldn’t be better off in any monetary way. But I have had a sizeable overdraft sitting on my head for nearly 15 years now and since Barclays literally doubled the cost of it a few months ago, I want rid of it for good. (Fuck you, Barclays. FUCK you.) But getting rid of it will take every single spare extra penny I have for the entire year. All the money I have extra from not paying the loan off will have to go against the overdraft to get it beaten by Christmas.
So that’s the choice an indifferent universe is putting before me at present: improve my living situation now but be unable to improve my financial situation indefinitely (and still not have any cash for socialising), or throw another year under the bus in order that things would improve after the next New Years Eve. And all this while having the general outlook and disposition of Doctor Gregory House, though sadly without the medical genius and addiction to painkillers.
Of course the sensible answer to this problem, and the one I’m taking, is to kill the overdraft off and do everything humanly possible this year to set myself up financially for an awesome 2016. But that’s another year of not having things that I want, not doing things I want to do (like boys) and having to do a cost-benefit analysis if someone so much as invites me out for a beer. Which leaves me where I was earlier today; in a foul mood, waiting for the Sun to start shining again so I can feel better.
And I will feel better. Once I shed a few pounds and the days get a little longer and I start seeing some benefit from chewing lumps out of my overdraft, I’ll be as right as rain again. It’s not the first time I’ve been mardy in winter. I have a brand-new nephew that I’m as excited about as I’m capable of being right now, I had the most successful Christmas in a very long while in terms of managing my money and I’m slowly getting better at my job. There are nice people on Twitter and elsewhere that I hope to get to know in real life and that I will make sure I can afford to do things with. The outlook is good. It’s always darkest just before the dawn, etc. Right now I need to start making plans, putting things in order, doing something concrete to improve things in small but noticeable ways. Standard regaining-control stuff. Oh, and a reminder for next winter to buy a sun lamp.
I feel a bit better now, actually, having wrote about my feels instead of eating them. This New Year, as with many in the past, I had a quiet night in and was asleep way before midnight. Hopefully next year I will have been tagged in numerous embarrassing pictures on Facebook and be nursing a bastard of a hangover as I celebrate the death of my overdraft and my imminent move to a new place and subsequent submersion in pretty boys. To the future! points