January 21st was Jól, if you calculate your calendar with the Lunisolar method.
That is, the second full moon after the winter solstice. The first full moon after solstice starts the year, but I was observing the Urglaawisch Yuulsege that day.
…and tearfully toasting my new ex during Sammel. And accidentally drinking too much. And flipping bottles to try and impress the hostess’s dog.
The dog is 7. He’s Gen Z. I figured he’d think it was lit. But he’s a dog. He’s not going to dab appreciatively.
Anyway, the thing about my ex.
I ended a 9½ year (to the day) relationship at the end of November. I am not going to go too deeply into why it ended. But my official (and honest) explanation is that it just wasn’t going anywhere. During the phone call where we broke things off, my ex and I agreed that it was sad, but a relief.
But it is sad, dammit.
I sent a Christmas card wishing my ex well, but carefully avoided leaving any crumbs of false hope. I never heard back. Not that I particularly expected to, though I do hope the silly anecdote about the Harambe Christmas sweater brought some holiday cheer.
So I left it at that, and returned to making decisions about all the artifacts left behind. Among the items was the first, and only, bouquet I had ever gotten.
They were a gift brought along when my ex came to see me for Easter. When my ex went back home, I dried the flowers and put them back in the vase, where I gladly woke up to see them for seven more years.
And then after the breakup I woke up every day to see those flowers and hate myself. Look what you’ve done, I would tell myself. This person loved you enough to get you flowers and you threw it all away.
I had legitimate reasons for leaving. None of those reasons made my ex a bad person, just the wrong person. And it just wasn’t something Easter flowers were going to fix.
Another item was a small ragdoll I had made to look like my ex, because we were in a long distance relationship and it was nice to have something to cuddle or sleep next to. I held on to this, very literally, for the first week after the breakup when I couldn’t get out of bed. Eventually, I realized items either needed to be contained or removed if I was going to recover and stop stumbling on random things from my ex.
The ragdoll went in a box in the closet for a while, because it was far too specific to the now-absent relationship. I was only keeping it to make a decision on it, and I knew it was going to have to be removed from my life eventually, along with the flowers.
These things were lovely, but their purpose had been fulfilled and it was time for them to go.
I wanted it to be sacred and purposeful.
Both Yuul and Jol mark times of stagnation and introspection. There is nothing to be planted and precious little reason to go outside. Anything that hasn’t died off yet is just holding on. And it’s miserable, which is why we have so many winter holidays in the first place.
So when we aren’t socializing and reinforcing how important community is, we go into our homes. We go into ourselves. We burn through our stores and scrape our cupboards and learn to survive without. Even though many of us are living post-scarcity, it’s probably the best possible time to get a feel for what you do and don’t truly need.
I didn’t fully grasp this during Yuul, between the usual rune headache and accidentally drinking too much of the libation, but I was being unsubtly whacked over the head with the idea of life transitions.
I’m not dead. Sure as hell felt like it between a severe cold and the breakup and the general misery of winter. And the future I thought I was going to have may be gone, but that leaves room for different ones.
Where I flip bottles and dab at middle-aged dogs, apparently.
But, also a future where I approach compromises with a better grasp on what I want. Where I establish myself on my own terms, and not based on a foregone conclusion, because guarantees make me lazy.
…and where I reckon with uncertainty. Which is kind of a big deal in all other aspects of my life, these days.
So along with onions I grew in my experimental scrap garden, little bits of goldenrod, and cast-offs from the altars that were due to be burned…my little ragdoll and first ever bouquet went up in flames.
I want a good harvest. In more ways than one. And I am hoping that I am able to continue to do the work it takes to make that happen. And to trust the process of digging around in literal dirt, and emotional dirt, and pulling weeds, and handling my responsibilities in a way that I can reap the benefits but also accept a certain amount of failure.
As I’m finishing up this post, I’m caught in a squall and getting snowed in. Buried, but halfway through winter. Soon I’ll be able to say I was planted instead. My onions and squash and lettuce will grow, hopefully I will too.
To a good year, and to peace.