Accepting Myself Through All Four Seasons
Written by Whitney Lacey
Every year as time inches towards November, I pull out my sweaters, search for new soup recipes, and the dread sets in. My winter self is coming. Technically, it’s my fall/winter self but that’s a mouthful. This is the part of me that shows up every year, without fail, right as the days get shorter. I don’t remember when I started noticing it happening, but I do remember not appreciating it.
My winter self is quieter and more likely to leave a party after only being there an hour or so. She’s less likely to make plans, knowing full well that she may want to cancel them. It can take her several days to respond to texts, even though she’s been active on social media channels. From early November to early March, my winter self takes more time to make decisions and tends more toward emotion than logic.
For a long time, I hated my winter self.
My summer self shows up in early March and hangs out through spring and summer. Just as fall/winter, spring/summer self is just too much, so I’ll stick with summer. Summer self moves quickly. She responds to all of her texts, organizes her inbox, likes to work out, plan trips, and talk to new people at dinner parties. From starting new work initiatives to impromptu cook-outs, summer self is “on.” And I really liked that.
Comparing winter self to summer self was about as fruitful as comparing a waffle to hamburger. Yes, they’re both foods but why waste the time comparing two wonderful things when they’re both doing great work out there in the world for different reasons. And yet, I was comparing the different sides of myself ALL.THE.TIME. Let me tell you that hating something, particularly yourself, for four months out of the year is not great. Frankly, it’s mean. Like, really mean. I didn’t like the quieter, more introspective part of myself because I was upset that I wasn’t the exact same all year round. Now, I find this to be an interesting stance because I was supportive of and continue to support the constant change in the world around me.
Seasons flow one into the other in a repetitive pattern, but I wasn’t granting myself the space to do the exact same thing. I wasn’t looking at trees or flowers and criticizing them for blooming in the spring instead of winter. I wasn’t bothered by the grass laying dormant in the winter (and sometimes when it’s too hot). To be fair, I didn’t know grass could go dormant but it makes a lot of sense. Everyone and everything needs a break, right? So, why couldn’t I offer myself the same level of understanding?
Seeing myself as a whole person, rather than trying to split me into two distinct personalities was a start. But I also needed to reframe my negative perception of my “winter self” behaviors. Because I wasn’t getting the positive human feedback like a laugh or feeling the energy from the low rumble of twenty people chatting at a house party, I decided the quiet solitude I leaned into during the colder months was bad.
For a period of time each year, being alone and quiet lets me take inventory of what’s working in my life. I can allow myself, without criticism, to take time responding to texts, taking more naps, and going out less is great if that’s what works for me at that time. The same brilliant humans who laugh with me at summer gatherings are understanding and know where to find me if it’s an emergency. As the seasons change, I can always allow myself that quiet time so that I have a sense of what I want and need. This way, I can be my whole self.
Whitney is a UX Writer, currently writing and creating in Austin, TX. She’s been in the tech and entertainment industry since 2015, and is always looking for ways to create delightful user experiences.
When she’s not in front of a screen, she’s probably trying to engage you in a conversation about your favorite pizza or the benefits of owning a chihuahua.