It’s been a long haul hasn’t it friends…?
I mean this time last year, before the virus had us in it’s grip, we were just experiencing the normal
January blues; maybe a post-Christmas anti climax, perhaps feeling a bit heavier than ideal in the weight department, a bit lighter than ideal in the finance department.
Little did we know that soon we would be asked to stay at home for a few weeks, or that a year on we would be being asked to do the same, and more.
Add some dreich drizzle and short days to the picture, and it can definitely affect how we feel.
I know I’m certainly feeling a sense of struggle and I’m in a better set of life circumstances off than many people I know.
In normal times I see myself as a generally happy and contented person.
At the moment though I’m feeling more than not just a bit fed up or frustrated.
I’m actually feeling sad.
One of the things I’ve noticed about this experience, is that at the moment, the erotic part of me is being affected, the flame of my libido is like a gas burner that’s been turned to low.
Maybe with only the pilot light left on.
As a storyteller I have an inbuilt tendency to create a narrative, to make sense of any and all aspects of life. Often this takes the form of imagining a good reason for something like why someone was so shirty with me, that allows me to forgive them.
If at times mildly delusional, it does usually work well as a way for me to manage my feelings.
Unfortunately when I am in a state of anxiety, I can all too easily conjure up a tale of doom from very small amounts of evidence. A look here, a sigh there, a lack of cheery chat, a change in levels of sexual activity. All can be gathered together to create a convincing case for why everything is going horribly wrong…
And then I realise, what is happening, I am waiting for the end. Part of me is waiting for the wonderful, surprising, delightful and healing realisation of my sexual self over the last few years to disappear, dry up, fizzle out, drift away…
And this feels me with incredible sadness, the grief of anticipatory loss. A vision of a life without that sexual bit of me. Memories surface too, of times in my life when that part of me felt absent.
And as I start to grieve, I sit with it. It’s a skill that’s taken me a lifetime to learn and it’s invaluable. This hard won ability to reflect on how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking, reveals a new thought.
This story may not actually be what is happening.
I realise it’s time to have a conversation: firstly with myself, then, with the one I love.
Time to separate out the truth from the tosh
Telling my tale of loss and ending out loud, to a sympathetic other, allows me to see it for what it is, my fear.
And more importantly I now know it’s not just me. My beloved is feeling something of this too.
Not the fear, but definitely the low level of life energy.
I am assured and calmed. I’ve been heard. By articulating it out loud the story seems less frightening, the ending less certain.
Some time later I feel a small wave of desire.
And now I know my libido hasn’t just disappeared forever. I haven’t lost my desire or my desirability.
I remember winters past, and a tendency for my sexual energy to wane at this time of the year.
As I look back I realise that for many years of my life I didn’t really notice this phenomenon because that energy was on the ‘down low’ almost permanently.
The contrast is in fact a great sign of how much I am feeling alive and engaged, and how much I want to continue to feel both desire and satisfaction in my life, and in my body.
And I remember something that I often forget somehow. That the natural world is not one of straight lines or graphs but of waves and cycles and seasons.
I smile when I realise that there is another true story that I could be telling myself. The one about how when we get to the Spring equinox in late March, the sun will be stronger, the days and nights all be equally long and …woosh!
All at once I will have that desire to run naked through the green spaces of my city, soaking that good sunshine into my skin, revelling in the heat and rejoicing in the renewed life that will come to life after this winter is over. I know it to be true. Because I always do.
There is an abundance of life energy in me. Even when it is turned right down, it is not turned off.
And I know that am not the only one.