state of jamelah, state of the blog

It’s been awhile. At this point, I’m not even sure what to write, but I figure I’ll put something here, leave it like a note for anyone to find, if anyone wants to find it. I know it’s not really necessary to offer an explanation for my absence — sometimes I feel like blogging, and sometimes I don’t — but that explanation feels like a good enough starting point, so I’m going with it.

I hate winter. I know that there are people who love winter, and I’m glad that they are able to derive joy from the season, but for my part, I hate it. Hate. It feels like an endurance test, or a long, slow, unrelentingly gray and dark form of torture. Winter depresses the hell out of me. The sunless days and the ever-present cold and the colorless palette combine into a force that make me feel heavy and gray and dull. I bundle up, I keep my head down, and I trudge through, one day at a time. Winter is to be survived.

But in my focus on making it through the season, just making it through, I tend to forget myself. I have good days and bad days, I still smile and laugh, I’m still able to force myself to function normally, but there’s something within me that seems to go missing this time of year, and it seems to take all I have to keep going. This happens to some degree every year (some are harder than others), but it always seems to take me by surprise when I find myself in the middle of it, when I recognize that my listlessness, my lack of interest in almost everything is nothing new, it’s just that same old winter death march, played out one gray day after another.

This year has been especially rough, and I haven’t had much left over to devote to being clever or anything else. I started a new 365 Days project in an attempt to force creativity on myself, and promptly stopped caring. It became an endurance test too, and the only thing that’s kept me snapping a picture every day is the fact that I’m stubborn, that I know that this too will pass and it will be warm again someday and I will, at some point, have fun with it. Possibly. Until then, I slog through, and that has to be enough. Add to this the fact that sometimes I have to drive in terrible weather, that it can take more than an hour to drive a little less than 30 miles, that there are times when it feels like I have to concentrate with every cell in my body just to keep the car on the road, and there are days when I am nothing less than exhausted.

The job itself, though? I’m pretty happy with it overall. Since I hold fast to my rule of not writing about work on the internet, I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned what it is that I do. So. I work for an outpatient mental health facility. It’s kind of like a huge doctor’s office, where people come for therapy or for psychiatric services or medicine check-ups. While a lot of what I do is just busy-work, the fact that almost everyone who comes in the door is mentally ill sure keeps me on my toes. Every person is different, of course, and some people are easy to deal with and others are like… OH MY GOD, but it’s a pretty constant, fascinating parade of humanity and it keeps me engaged. Plus, I finally seem to have gotten to the point where I feel like I can handle most things that come my way. There’s always that initial part of learning the ropes at a new job where it’s hard not to feel like a useless idiot all the time, but I think I’ve finally gotten past that and I feel like I’m actually helpful. That’s probably the most I’ll ever write about where I work. I have all kinds of interesting stories, of course, but I can’t write about the people who come in, both because I’m bound by law to maintain confidentiality, and also because I somehow feel oddly protective of them (even the ones who are so frustrating they make me want to bang my head against a wall), so I’ll keep those interesting stories off the internet, but I guess my point is that despite the fact that in many ways, I’ve been feeling like my ass is kicked, in this regard at least I am satisfied.

I also in general spend a lot less time on the internet, so I’m not running into blog material or sitting here thinking of stuff to write about. I don’t know what that means in terms of this blog and what I typically write. I’m sort of over being cleverly and ironically detached from things, making fun of them from my superior distance. That leaves me at somewhat of a loss, since clever and ironic detachment is kind of what I do, but I guess I’ve come to a place where I’d rather engage than intellectualize. So I haven’t really figured out what it is that I write about here anymore. It won’t be Cosmo anymore, though, that’s for sure.

When I figure it out, I’ll let you know, and you can read along if you still care to do so. In the meantime, if this field lies fallow for awhile longer, be patient with me. I’m just deciding what to plant.


7 thoughts on “state of jamelah, state of the blog

  1. I was expecting update on the book you were working on. May be it is top secret and people who know the secret prayer are allowed to know about it.

    Up in NY, we had massive power outage after the snowstorm. Not fun when there is no power and heat. Cold water which will almost freeze on your face. But it could have been worse. much worse.


  2. Jamelah

    I found this post through NetworkedBlogs via Facebook. I’ve read several of your ironic takes on reality over the years and usually enjoy them, getting a bit of a chuckle on occasion.

    I find you outlook on things enlightening in a weird way. Generally, it often reminds me of my own outlook on life as an undergrad in the frozen wastelands of upstate NY. It is easier to feel superior and critical of all the crap the world presents to you, but it’s hard to remain ironic and detached on a lifetime basis, if you consider yourself ‘serious’ and somehow wanting to do something to improve the world.

    I worked my ass off to become an architect going to grad school in the Midwestern cultural wasteland of Missouri. I’ve been struggling with keeping a positive, non-cynical outlook on life for years, particularly since my son was born. It’s not easy to carry around so much passionately antagonistic feelings. Once you start to consciously try to move beyond that critical standpoint, things get very jumbled and all the clarity that you enjoyed becomes grayer, blended and nuanced.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this ‘response’ except to tell you that I’ve enjoyed your photography and your writing. Whenever I see one of your contributions to Utata, I get a little extra charge of anticipation wondering what aspect of reality/perception you’ll be skewering next.

    I’ve been working on writing a book since finishing grad school. Many years later, friends ask me if I’m “still” writing it. Of course I am! No matter how many times I think through the rationalizations for giving up on it, it becomes clearer than ever that it is absolutely essential that I finish and publish it, even if I’m 79 at the time.

    Wishing you warmer, sunnier weather soon! We’re starting to get some here in Saint Louis, so it should be drifting up your way in a few more weeks.


  3. Tis the season, I find myself forcing creativity every spring. Hopefully by summer the sun will be warming itself on the cheeks of our creative fruits.


    That’s so cheesy. I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. Good luck!


  4. Have you thought to ask anyone at work about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). The colder weather also brings shorter days and it is amazing the effect this has on people.

    I am not one for winter at all so I feel your pain in this regard. You might want to invest in some full spectrum lights for your house. It won’t totally replace the missing sunlight or the wonderful warmth of the sun on your skin but it may allay some of the symptoms and make getting through this part of the year a little easier.


  5. Hey, I like winter… but it doesn’t really get all that cold down here and it never snows – it just rains for about seven months every year…


  6. Sorry to hear winter’s got you down. For me it’s summer, but this year winter has been pretty brutal. Good luck with the new job, and I guess I’ll be checking this space to see what you’re up to when you’ve bounced back.


  7. I still be liking the internets. It amuses me. Call me crazy, but I think it might, just might, catch on with the masses.

    And a couple of weeks ago I started this new fangled thing called facebook, or “facedbooks” or something like that. It lets you chat with people you haven’t seen in a long time. Probably just a fad. Oh well, back to video games and beer. . .


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