I took this photo from a bridge over the Chicago River last January. I’d had a stairs-induced panic attack in the Art Institute that ended in me pouring sweat and crying. I was on a date.
Winter and I have a history of not getting along well.
But I’ve been embracing it this year. Walking in winter. Bundling up and getting my shit done, because if I spend another cold season hiding in my house crying for summer, I’m going to die from it.*
This year, I’m letting winter hold me the way summer does. I’m asking January to be my womb and let me find the cord and trace how deep it goes into her belly before hitting spring-placenta. This is the only way to full-moon magnolias and lilac-breezes through rolled-up windows at stoplights that make you roll them down, and that’s where I’m headed. That’s what I’m made for.
The best words I learned last year were:
FEELINGS AREN’T FACTS and THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH.
I remember this photo and this day because I was on a date—with a man who loved me anyhow. And I got through the panic attack and I took this picture because there were buildings reflecting sunlight on breaking floes, and I felt peaceful. I was at home again in my city. We found a five on the ground and gave it to a busker before getting in a cab. (And a bum coughed on me that day. Right. On. My face.)
My new therapist’s name is Angelica, which is what my dad’s dad used to call me. I’ve scheduled our sessions for Thursdays so I can sometimes sleep in beforehand and never be expected to sling drinks and entertain any(one)(thing) immediately after.
I hope you’re warm.
*Will it really kill me? Not directly. But it feels like hell to always be wishing it was warmer.