The loneliest time of the year

Usually, I consider the period of time between October and March to be the period where I get the most lonely and depressed. Now there’s a word I haven’t used too often on this blog too often – depressed. It has crossed my mind that I have been suffering from “depression” for a very long time. I did major in social work with a minor in sociology (with many psychology courses) in college, so I am more than aware of it. That naturally is involved in more than my inability to connect to women romantically, but it’s a part of it all the same. It’s not unusual for people, even those who aren’t depressed so often, to feel more “blue” around fall-winter-sprint; every year some trite news program will cite a study and truck out some “rented expert” talking about it. They say it has something to do with the loss of sunlight and seasonal shifts and whatnot. I imagine for some, it could be the immediate influx of Christmas music on the radio. I of course have my own reasons for this extra blueness around this time of year. Most of it stems from being lonely.

October is not only the month for Halloween, but the month for the New York Comic Con, held every year in the Javits Center since about 2006. The end result is the same, in that both events seem to drive home the fact that one reason I’m alone and loveless has nothing to do with my hobbies. Simply being a geek or a nerd isn’t a valid excuse. Geeky, nerdy things are far more mainstream now than they were in the late 90’s or even during the early 2000’s. After all, Tumblr didn’t exist until 2007. And every year, while I make the trip out and have fun, I am only reminded of the countless other people from across NY and the east coast who managed to find love for themselves despite being fans of comics, video games, or anime. They’re all dressed up as their favorite characters having a blast, and it looks like a blast. Yet somehow that’s a shell I can’t crack. It could be due to not having as large a social media presence, or it could also do with being over 30 (and not chasing after people half my age like some creeps do).

Halloween is similar, only to a larger scale. That used to be my favorite holiday, at least until I was no longer a child and could no longer go trick-or-treating. After that (around junior high and definitely by high school), the name of the game is either parties or bars/clubs. Those aren’t my scenes at all, even on normal days. And much like at the conventions, most of who you see are couples enjoying the time out, dressed in far out outfits and having a ball with each other. It’s a celebration of horror, of the extreme and unique, when everyone is normal for at least one day of the year no matter how freaky deaky they are. Except for me. Even on a night of monsters, I don’t fit in. I’ve tried, and I actually like the whole dressing in costume thing. It allows me to try to pretend, at least for one night a year, I am somebody else than the person I am. To be able to hide myself from the prying eyes of the world in the guise of somebody else. And that’s all I have ever wanted to be – somebody, anybody else. Unfortunately, like with any disguise, eventually it has to end, and underneath whatever mask or outfit I am in, I know who I am underneath. I’m no more charismatic, charming or confident in a costume than I am outside of one. And maybe that’s a good thing; the last thing I’d want is to let somebody down or fool anyone into thinking I was more than I am.

November is Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful. That can be hard when life seems to be a struggle all the time and it seems to get worse, or at least little better, every year. I try to have perspective and enjoy what I have when I can. After all, I’m not a starving person in Cambodia. Although if I was, I could at least look forward to a quicker death. But it does get hard to remain thankful when everywhere around us, the sell is on. Black Friday seems to be a month now, and Christmas in December is all about buying and buying. I almost feel like relating to the Grinch about it all, with all the false cheer and come on’s atop of what was supposed to be a joyous and moral holiday. I could all but block that out if not for what really gets me down – New Year’s Eve. It’s the day where I contemplate how another year has gone by and I still have the same old problems, and another year is coming to batter me some more. I don’t see another year as a year of opportunity, but another year I have to endure. Instead of being handed a glass of bitter wine at some friend’s party I barely want to attend, I’d rather be handed a handgun with a single bullet, or a cyanide pill. But instead I put on a brave smile and endure all of the fake well wishes of a better year as I watch all of my friends embrace significant others, or enjoy the well earned rewards of more successful lives. It’s the same pomp and circumstance, meaning nothing, every single year that I can remember.

And then afterward comes the march to Valentine’s Day, which may as well be renamed “Sucks If You’re Single Day”. The cards, the roses, the hearts, spread all over the place like confetti on the soul. I never need any outside reminder of how much of a failure and a loser I am, but here that day is, rubbing it in my face on a corporate, industry wide level. I imagine it is worse for people who have been widowed, of course, to be reminded of happier times with someone who is no longer there. Not long after this is my birthday, the end of the half year of glumness. I turn a year older, one tic at a time, facing many of the same problems from the year before, and the year before, and the year before.

My 30th birthday was very hard to face. The end of one’s 20’s is a major step towards morality I suppose, but to be that and still a virgin in NY society was a very tough cross to bare. Male virginity may be considered standard in high school, cute in college. But beyond 30, you’ve entered the territory of the circus freak or freeway monster. If you haven’t learned or earned whatever tricks, social graces, skills or charms needed to woo someone else by then, you’re never going to. Ever since that birthday I have made a sincere effort to close the door on my romantic life. To consider that chapter of my life over and focus on other things, such as my job prospects or career, or even hobbies. Yet closing that door permanently is very hard. It goes beyond physical pangs of lust; I have that but I have control over myself. It’s the longing from somewhere inside that I can’t easily control or shut off. I do my damnedest to, but it remains with me, like some wound that won’t heal. I wish I could tear this desire from me and leave it on the road somewhere, but I can’t. It’s ironic, that so many pieces of fiction like “ROBOCOP” or some other man-machine type stories involve someone striving to gain or regain human emotions, when I’d like nothing more than to stop having them. Fleeting moments of pleasure or joy are not worth the hours, days, years of misery that come afterward. It’s never worth it, and I’d like to be done with it all. But, we can’t just remove emotions like we do disc drives, so with me they remain whether I like it or not.

Don’t get me wrong; spring and summer get pretty lonely too. But it’s this stretch of time where I feel more blue than usual. Whether it is because of having my dateless status rubbed in my face by various hobbies to being proven to be a freak among freaks or an overdose of sickly sweet “cheer” or facing the end of a year, this period is my least favorite of the year.

What’s my most favorite time of year? That’s easy…the times when I’m asleep!

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