SWB on Blue Monday and MLK Day

You know when you’ve left guacamole out of the fridge and it has turned brown and looks a bit like dog faeces? Well, I reckon that if someone was to insert a camera inside my ear and plunge it deep into the limbic structure (the part which controls emotions, apparently) of my brain, it would look a bit like that.

I thought I’d feel better this lockdown because I don’t have to teach from home. I am, temporarily jobless, aside from home-schooling, home management, cooking, cleaning laundry, (always the F**KING laundry) and looking after the animals. So, like, yeah, not busy at all. But last time in March, being plunged into a new situation overnight and learning how to teach via Microsoft Teams when I have all the technical ability of an amoeba, was an excruciating experience. I’m not sure I’ve sufficiently recovered and suspect that my liver most definitely hasn’t.

So why now, when free from that arse-ache, is my head still like mush and everything still feels like a massive effort? Since a vaccination for this bastard virus is at least in sight and a return to ‘normal’ no longer feels totally outlandish, surely I should be feeling more optimistic?  But despite this, I have virtually no concentration skills and the effort it took to get to even write this post was bigger than Trump’s ego.

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that today is ‘Blue Monday’, a date statisticians worked out when we would feel the most depressed during the year.  If even in non-pandemic times people are typically feeling lousy, how the heck are we went to fare this January? Christmas, and the break it afforded us, (no matter how small this year) has all but receded in the rear view mirror and we’re perhaps still recovering from its excesses, be that the extra pounds on the scales and lack of in the bank account. That, coupled with the dismal weather and the fact that we can’t book ourselves a holiday, could leave us all feeling less than chipper.

Do you know what I’ve just done though? I had a word with myself. ‘Stop being such a grouch,’ I said.  Firm, I was too, because you have to look for the sparks, the joy and the inspiration SOMEWHERE: they are not just going to come flying at you out of your coffee. So, I opened the old Instagram feed and there it was: Martin Luther King Day.* Today, the third Monday in January, is a Federal holiday in the US, to celebrate his legacy. Now, there was someone who didn’t just sit on his backside bemoaning his lot and watching Judge Judy in his y-fronts of an afternoon. ‘Use your voice,’ said MLK, ‘Even when it shakes.’ Be more MLK, I said to myself.

Thus, with King’s deep resonant voice in my ears, I’m going to use my voice on this platform to suggest three things we can take comfort from this week:

  1. With the inauguration of Biden on Wednesday, we should be seeing some real, positive changes coming from the States, namely with regard to the Paris Agreement, tensions with Iran, Covid measures and a renewed focus on equality and civil rights. I’ll sleep a bit easier knowing that the leader of the free-world doesn’t want to actively hasten our planet’s demise, aggravate a wannabe nuclear-power, ignore a pandemic and incite racial violence. Having Biden in situ in the White House just makes me feel less defeatist about the state of the world.
  2. Last week I wrote a post about people being absolutely useless and leaving their dog shit everywhere. readers then got in touch to tell me lovely things they were doing, picking up litter, visiting house-bound neighbours and supporting local charities. It was so tremendously up-lifting. There are many stellar individuals out there, doing small but purposeful things to help others. Diane picked up some shit that would otherwise have wound up tramped into some one’s living room. Susan took a bag out and collected a pile of rubbish; Rose baked a little girl a cake. See? Lovely stuff, everywhere.
  3. The days are lengthening, and this has a massive impact on me because the dark evenings make me  lethargic, my creativity dwindles and I’m ratty as f**k. That extra hour of daylight has a profound impact on my psyche. Suddenly I want to try a new recipe and get out for a jog, not because I feel I should, but because I want to. Everything in winter requires more effort. I feel I should mention here that there are plenty of pictures of me on social media looking active and chirpy, because much of the time I am. I also though, spend rather a lot of time lying in bed beside my fat cat or curled on the sofa. You just don’t get a lot of ‘likes’ on Instagram for pictures with the hashtags ‘lazy’ and ‘introspective’. So, I am looking forward to a boost in my energy levels and more equanimity. (One can always hope). Life eh? I suppose it wouldn’t be nearly so sweet if we didn’t have the sour moments too.

*If you would like to give yourself a bit of time-out this week, you should consider a session with  the girls of Still I Rise Storytelling, where they will be learning all about inclusion and diversity, no doubt with a wee nod to MLK, what with the week being in it.

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