I GET KNOCKED DOWN, BUT I GET UP AGAIN

by Steve Clem on February 14, 2013


February can kiss my ass.

I absolutely loathe everything about this month. And it’s not just because it has Valentine’s Day in it. And while I’m thankful it’s the shortest month, some days I would still rather cut this month out and make March twice as long.

Why do I hate February, you ask? (If you didn’t ask, oh well — you’re going to get the answer.) Let’s just review my history of February over recent years.

February 2005: The beginning of the end of my marriage (well, truthfully, it started much earlier — but this was when things got REALLY ugly, so perhaps it was the near-end of the end?). It was at this point that I lived in my own bedroom, in the same house with my soon-to-be ex-wife, because under Minnesota law, if I had left the home it could have been used against me in court as “abandonment” of my parental rights. Thank you, Minnesota, for a law that essentially keeps couples who are at risk of strangling/stabbing/shooting each other together under the same roof. Oh, and my ex-wife’s birthday is in February, too. So there.

February 2008: The first serious relationship I had after my divorce began to unravel, right around Valentine’s Day (shocker!). I found out that one of her old flames was busy trying to get her back, and even though she wasn’t pursuing it, she also wasn’t stopping it. I was prepared to spend the rest of my life with this woman. I loved her. I loved her daughter. But then that damn month of February had to pop up and get in the way. I stumbled a bit, but I persevered.

February 2009: This year’s entry takes the cake for its sucktacular craptasticness. This was literally when I hit bottom in life. My second serious relationship since my divorce ended rather abruptly (think of going from hearing “I love you and miss you” one week to “this just isn’t working” the next). The day after it ended with the girlfriend, I lost the job that was my most favorite of ALL I’ve held: writing for an amazing and creative film and corporate training company. And within two weeks of that, I also lost my home and my car. This was the closest I’ve ever come in life to giving up. But I didn’t. So yeah. Suck it, February.

February 2012: On the face of it, last year’s entry in the “Sucktacular Sweepstakes” would have appeared pretty benign to most people. After all, I traveled to San Diego for an amazing vacation with friends. Only it was a farewell trip with the Now-Ex-Lady Friend®, my third serious relationship since my divorce. We had ended things the previous month, but the vacation was already booked, so we toughed it out and decided to go anyway. It was a fantastic trip, but it was like an alcoholic’s last bender — bittersweet and leaving you feeling both elated and horrible when it’s over. I said goodbye to another woman I’d envisioned spending my life with. But I kept on keepin’ on. Even though Now-Ex-Lady Friend’s® birthday was in February, too.

I haven’t quit you (yet) February! I’m still here. I’m not hiding in my cave. And I’m most certainly NOT blaming others. In fact, I’m still very close to all but one of the parties involved in the horrible months above, and I’d happily remain close with that one if she’d acknowledge my existence. I consider all of these women (including my ex-wife) to be amazing people, or I wouldn’t have had the connection I had with them. And they will always be in my heart.

It does me no good to go into this month with a defeatist attitude. Hiding behind my fear will not help me conquer this beotch I call February (or this February I call beotch). Complaining about being disappointed by the actions or inaction of others (girlfriends, employers, mortgage companies, car loan companies) is a complete waste of time. The only one who can make this and future Februaries good for me is the person who just typed this sentence.

So I vow that every day this month, I will wake up, shower, get ready for work, get my sons to school, feed them, pay bills, do the best I can every day at work, and remember that if I assume that this month will suck, it most definitely will.

No way, February. I got this. You’ve got 21 more days to mess with me. But I have 21 more days to put all my energy into remembering one simple truth: I’m a lucky man. Because even though you’ve tried to knock me out year after year, I’m still standing. And I’ve got one helluva team assembled in my corner.

I am not a victim. I’m a survivor. Soon to be a thriver.

And some day, I’m going to be enjoying Valentine’s Day with the love of my life. And you’ll still be the shortest month of the year. GFY.

* * * *

Steve Clem is a divorced dad, a recovering Republican, and a Prisoner in the Tundra. He is in The Guinness Book of World Records for being part of the largest Hokey Pokey of all time. He was the founding editor of the Iowa City weekly The ICON.

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