It turns out Valentines Day had a silver lining. I spent the next afternoon ironing and stewing, and I realised something. My reaction to what happened was, while completely sincere, maybe a bit more extreme than I would usually expect. I thought about why that might be, and how I've been feeling lately, and realised I haven't felt like myself since before Christmas; about three weeks before, when I felt emotionally spent. Usually my holiday is my time to recover and regenerate, but Christmas was so busy for me, I didn't get the chance, and was back at work before I even knew what was happening. Even on my trip up north - which was wonderful - I didn't emotionally recover; I was tired, and the happiness I felt definitely wasn't as much as it would usually have been. I thought some more, and realised the last time I had felt truly, completely happy was at the Beirut gig. For some people that might not be so strange, but I'm one of the happies. I'm cynical, but I love life and I love to laugh, and yet for the past three months my setting has been negative-neutral, ready to switch down into sad or (more often) angry. I can't describe it as the blues, exactly, it's not the mean reds, and it's not that mood indigo; it's more like nude. I feel so empty and tired that I don't feel - the good things, anyway. I realise I've been on empty, but I didn't realise, so I kept trying to live normally, and wondered why I was so tired, and grouchy, and ready to be mad. I'm restless, and I'm not being as kind as I like to be; I'm impatient, and irritable. Life's not that much fun at present, and it's because I'm still emotionally exhausted.
It was a relief to finally know this, but another thing to figure out what to do. Next weekend, Vincent and I are taking a special trip down to Wellington, just the two of us, and I think that will help; there will be no-one we know but us, and I can finally get myself together again. And I'm going to give myself a break. Some people can do things with other people every night and never get tired; they seem to thrive on it. I, however - as most people who have lived with me can attest - need down-time, and lots of it; time to lie on the couch, nap, watch Gilmore Girls, and read. To some people it might seem like I'm doing nothing, and they might think it's unfair or selfish, and I've thought that too, but I know now it's not; it's what I need to be able to be me (for better or worse). I always read those articles called things like Women Who Can't Say No and think I'm not one of them, but I think a lot of us are without realising it; it's so ingrained in/expected of women to do things for other people at our own expense that we do it over and over. My threshold might be lower, but that's how it is, and if I'm not myself then I'm no good to anyone. I'm tired of being a little black cloud in a dress, and I want to have a good time again.
From the excellent man who wrote the brilliant line "And there's you, a little black cloud in a dress". Valentine's Day is over, and it's all uphill from here.