today is Sunday. today is bitter cold.
and today, i am filled with melancholy.
the cold brittle air snatched my breath from me, like an ugly spoilt child, as i made my way across town to Kirkcaldy bus station. with each stride, i could feel winter’s icy fingers slap my face and cut me to the quick. i walked fast, as if trying to escape her clutches, chugging along the pavement like a steam engine: my legs, like pistons; my breath, tiny clouds of vapour. a quick tempo and scenic route; both sea and sky looked dark, gray and foreboding. a bleak winterscape. no escaping winter just yet…
i had almost an hour to kill until the bus i needed to catch, to take me to Glenrothes, departed. despite the chill, i decided to keep moving and not stand still for fear of freezing over. i took a stroll along Kirkcaldy’s High Street.
Kirkcaldy High Street runs parallel to the Esplanade. an exposed stretch of beach where people walk their dogs. a wide open space where lovers amble. a convenient place for idiots to abandon shopping trolleys and other litter of their mispent youth.
the sub-zero wind funnelled up the side streets, blowing in, direct from the sea. i drew my scarf in close about my neck, trying to cover as much exposed skin as possible. my lips were dry like parchment; my eyes, watering. i decided to join the queue in Costas for a coffee.
as i queued for a soy latte, i picked off the traces of nail polish from my nails. red glitter remnants of the Festive fell to the floor.
“that’ll be £2.45”
i paid the fellow, handing over coinage with chipped fingertips. i smiled despite my nails being a lacklustre reminder that seasons change with the scenery and that the Festive was over, and a new year had began. i put my change in the tips jar.
i took my coffee outside and as the cold sea air gasped in my face and hijacked my breath i began to think about the changing scenery, and the changing social scenery.
as i walked down Kirkcaldy High Street i began to remember how this street looked when i was a child. i remember a bustling town centre. now every other shop front is boarded up or bedecked with ‘To Let’ signs. a sign of the times.
a, now vacant, pop-up Xmas Shop looked tatty, sad and long-forgotten. i peered in through its dirty windows. the shop was empty, yet full of deflated Christmas spirit. limp balloons clung desperately to the polystyrene tiled ceiling; boxes of budget Christmas cards remained stacked in the window amid tatters of cheap tinsel and a fallen angel.
changed times. Christmas is a commodity. seasons change. people change. social scenery changes. friendships change. family dynamics change. there is nothing more certain than ‘change’.
i checked my watch. i still had 30 minutes to kill. i kept on moving. Waterstones.
book stores are a favourite haunt of mine. i always feel like i am returning ‘home’ when i peruse book stores. i always feel like i am in good company, among old friends.
i bought a book. “The Bees” by Laline Paull.
filled with a deep sense of unknown sadness, i wandered further into the wilderness of a dying High Street. each closing shop and boarded window a symbol of economic strangulation. a slow death. death. another certainty in life. something we must all face, alone.
every year, at this time, i am filled with deep melancholia. life goes on. another year. a new calendar. a new picture. a new vision.
this time of year always makes me stop and evaluate my life; it is my time to re-prioritise and re-group.
2014 is gone. on the whole it was a pretty good year. it brought me work, a home of my own and the independence and liberty that these necessities in life bring. it saw my love deepen for a man who has enriched my life; it saw our love deepen in ways i never ever thought were possible.
2014 saw my family unit remain strong and full of laughter and love for one another.
it saw my friendships change. the landscape of my friends has been at sea… on reflection, some seem to be drifting further out from me and, despite my paddling, i cannot reach them; others have cut themselves free, no longer ‘tethered’ or ‘anchored’ by the reflections in each other’s eyes; their faces i no longer see.
some new friends have sailed to me, some moored in my harbour. for their friendship, i am grateful. these new faces are filled with joy and genuine compassion. and best of all, it feels natural… uncomplicated, not contrived or forced, or harbouring a sense of obligation.
sadly, as each year does, it has seen some heartache and loss- family and friends. this time of year never fails to heavy my heart.
this year has not been without a struggle: the loss of a YES vote in the referendum for Scotland’s independence had a profound effect on me. i no longer feel an allegiance to the UK, or Scotland – despite it being the beautiful country of my birth. the resounding NO result left me questioning my fellow Scots, feeling bereft and restless.
and the restlessness never stops. the mind is blown apart. the heart is leaden. the struggle continues.
it is never easy, trying to make a living in any of the creative industries. the advent of the Internet has made everything too accessible, and free for the taking. everyone is a photographer now – thanks to Instagram; everyone is a musician or record producer or record label now – thanks to Grooveshark, Reverbnation, Bandcamp and Soundcloud et al; and everyone is a writer now – thanks to the numerous blog sites available.
my mind is fried.
it is, once again, time to redress values and work ethic. time to discover new USPs and explore other avenues for promotion of our work. time to reinvent thyself. time to deploy new marketing strategies that move with the changing scenery.
i stopped at a shop window and gazed at my own reflection. i looked tired and cold, despite holding a cup of hot, steaming coffee. with a heart heavy with so many burgeoning questions- some best not answered, i gave myself a shake, and a good talking to.
the proverbial glass is neither half-empty nor half-full. the glass is merely a vessel – it is there for the filling, and re-filling with whatever we need to quench our numerous mercurial desires. we may sip from that glass, or we can down it in one go. the choices are endless and they are ours. we just need to keep on ‘drinking’.
i am determined to own 2015. i am determined to create chances and opportunities, to take these chances and make bold yet informed choices. all (closing) doors will be knocked on; kicked in, if they must. i am determined to keep my head up, above water, despite the prevailing undercurrent of negativity and strife that life seems to splutter out before me.
2015 will see me, and my beautiful lover, continue to make music; make pictures and films; make art; and make love and soup at 4 am.
i hope, as i entrust my faith in the unknown and cast my dreams into the ether, that 2015 sees all my family, my lover, his family, and all my friends prosper and be happy, healthy, and know that they are loved.
i do not make New Year’s Resolutions, per se, i simply hope to continue to enjoy good health so that i may continue to nurture and protect the love i have for those close to me.
for myself, i am happy with very little. all i want is health, happiness, love and the chance to travel – with my lover.
and it needn’t be far…
(c) Kat McDonald 2015
a dreamer… but i’m not the only one…