Gradients of Coping

IMG_8196We do everything we can to cope. We look it up with carefully crafted Google searches. “teeth clenching how to stop”; “hot baths stress epsom”; “b vitamins shoulder pain”; “tension headache ever end?” We work to buy ourselves happiness when we aren’t working, if we’re lucky. If we aren’t, we work in order just to eat, in order not to drive ourselves off the cliff into oblivion. Darkness isn’t so bad when it gets bad enough. You think about the word “quotidian” a lot. The morning comes with some variation of alarm noise and a faint understanding that this wasn’t always the way. The requisite breakfast wipes away that feeling, because this is just the way, the way it always has been, forever. Five days a week and never a feeling like you’ve slept too much, or even enough. Will you ever sleep enough? The internet has twenty-five lists of the top ten ways to get more sleep. We all read it, no-one sleeps. We daydream about good sleep. We talk about all that time we had when we were younger. Where did the time go? You can understand why your mom yelled at you for sleeping so goddamn much. She wasn’t sleeping much. She envied you. You now envy you.

Coping done well is a good enough definition for living. Sometimes we get to live and we love the shit out of it. Those times you want time to just cool it, to just take it easy, to ooze by narcotically. It doesn’t. It gains some sort of amphetamine boost. One minute you are sitting out in the sun, with food, and wine, and upward facing smiles; the next, you are struggling to shut off your alarm for another nine minutes, desperate for dream.

IMG_8189You look forward to “sun breaks”. The rain cordons you off into your apartment and you stare out at passing umbrellas obscuring miserable people. Moss has taken over the city. You watch movies until it hurts. You like it, then you hate it. The documentaries you most want to watch are the ones destined to make you feel worse. If it wasn’t raining enough already, we’d like to inform you that the game is also rigged against you. Also, all the polar bears are dying. They are great documentaries though.

IMG_8325March comes and hope scratches at the door. Sun trickles in sometimes, enough for you to remember what it is. The crocuses struggle out of random patches of moist soil. You spy the occasional stranger sporting an unbidden smile. Things are happening. Soon we can be happy again. The seasons churn through, as always, and we are returning fodder for their influence, year after year. We know that our hormones are our masters, but we pretend otherwise anyway. These seasons control us, yet we attempt rebellion anyway. Good on us. Spring is coming. Let’s celebrate with wild coping. Let’s rebel as best we can.

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