I love spring. Who wouldn’t? A part of that is because spring means you still have three seasons to get through before winter. And when it starts getting warm and fairs and markets start opening up around April or May, November (my least favorite month) seems so far away.
And I love summer. People who know me well may balk at this and provide direct quotes from me that refute that. I’ve been known to say things like, “East coast summer – why even bother?” or “It’s just as hot and humid here as the south! WTF?” However, since I don’t yet live in my ideal California seaside climate, I’ll take summer any which way I can.
I also love fall. It’s very hard not to. The end of summer is often oppressively hot and humid and I like when tourists go away and children go to school and the town feels more like mine. And don’t get me started on fall TV, brightly colored peacoats, pumpkin anything, the amazing fall foliage around these parts…and pretty much any fall or Halloween activity. LOVE.
Lately, the nights have been getting down to the 30’s and it was dark tonight by 7:00. And lately…I just feel so blah. I don’t feel quite right. I don’t know what Sundowners Syndrome really is, and it is a real syndrome, but I know that for me, it means a lot of things. It’s how your fever (or your baby’s fever) spikes in the middle of the night and is usually down again by morning. It’s how you feel powerful and on top of the world the whole day while the sun is shining, and then anxiety, self-doubt and fear creep up the second the sun goes down. It’s how when you’re going through a hard time and wake up at 3 or 4 am, you may feel 100 times worse than you did earlier that day, or will once dawn hits. It’s how when the nights start coming earlier and lasting longer, and the temperatures are down, you often feel as if you’re coming down with a cold or flu and you get run down with chills and body aches and swollen glands for no good reason. I may have had a high school and college fling with being a night owl, but I’m such a morning person at heart. I like sun. And warmth.
November is my hardest month. If someone even says the word, I picture a November calendar page with an illustration above of grayness and doom and gloom – like a hazy inkblot of ugly. It’s so cold and so far away from April. Things are different now, though. I do like Thanksgiving a lot and this particular November will be filled with some fun surprises. Last November was a joy with dressing up my then four-month-old to look like Mrs. Claus…just cause I could.
I still don’t feel quite right, though. And I know this means that something’s wrong internally but I don’t know what it is. When things are right, I feel pretty much 100% right. I thought that once all of the big things – the west coast trip, Stormy’s passing, my sister’s wedding – were behind us that I’d feel 100% right again. I guess it’s not so simple. I’m afraid of something…what could it be? I had a dentist appointment yesterday morning and I had to seriously talk myself into the car and then talk myself into the office from the car. And I almost turned and bolted several times once I had already checked in. And I’m not afraid of the dentist. And I’m very much not afraid of pain. And it went just fine. But it was so weird to be afraid. When I’m not 100% right, things that don’t usually scare me, scare me.
Tonight I was going to go see Phish with my husband. I haven’t seen a show with him in six years. And as he pointed out, “If you don’t go this weekend when it’s ten minutes from home in a place you trust…when will you ever go?” And he was right but he wasn’t quite right. When I feel 100% right, I go to loud, scary, smelly shows. I go to Phish shows where I don’t know anyone and I don’t know the music. I go to Clapton shows in Madison Square Garden and I dance in the aisles to “After Midnight” and after the show, I’m pumped and want to go for 1am ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s and then go back to Times Square hotel rooms and plan the rest of our lives. I can do that stuff sometimes. When I’m not 100% right, I think about how I’m not actually a Phish fan and it will be crowded and smoky and I hate smoke. So here I am at home. We’ve had big parties yesterday and today and they were GREAT and I loved seeing 30+ old and new friends all at once…but I was tired after the busy week I had and with no warning at all, I said to my mom who’s visiting, “I…need help. Can you help me?” And she did. Through the loud noise and sunlight and wonderful people in my house, I took a random hour long nap while she watched Scarlet for me. It was glorious. It was also strange – strange to need help and even stranger (in a good way) to ask for help. I am blessed.
It’s not a particularly hard time for me. It’s that time after a particularly hard time when you’re sifting through the pieces of broken hearts and tragedies. I haven’t pieced together all my emotions into something I can understand and heal from. I’m holding something in and whatever it is, it’s dark. Sometimes I think it’s just a fear of physical weakness…like when I hear the word “cancer,” I feel physically ill just by the idea of its impact on the world and on me. I was afraid of the dentist because I was afraid she’d tell me my teeth are rotting out. (They’re fine, by the way) I was even afraid of getting my hair cut the other day because I was afraid she’d find gray hairs. (Astonishingly, she didn’t) For some reason I wasn’t too nervous for Scarlet’s surgeon check-up earlier this week and that went fine. Then I wonder – maybe I was nervous. Maybe I am. Maybe even though two doctors said it looks great, even though we’ve done so many great things like massaging it so much that it didn’t form a ridge. Even though we made it symmetrical. Even though we rubbed away bad scar tissue and filled her skin layers with pure aloe, pure rosehip oil, pure Vitamin C, and pure cocoa butter. Even after all of that, maybe I’m still so sad that my beautiful baby girl was hurt in the most prominent place on her body. Maybe I’m still going through that but it’s not rising to the surface of my consciousness – where it belongs. Maybe I still have to heal from the inside out, quite like how her deep cut has been healing…the inner stitches have dissolved and released her compressed tissue. Her cheek is now almost its former size but there’s still a stiffness to soften out. There’s still a visible mark that has yet to fade.
And there’s Stormy and the other Scarlett. There’s work and financial stress. There’s exhaustion. There’s a little sister who’s now a wife. There’s talk of a future new puppy and new baby. Maybe it just all adds up together into a bottled up, under-examined, dark and sinister life force, making me feel not quite right.
I think I can work with this and shape it into something more manageable and examined and understood. I do believe it’s going to happen. I just don’t know how yet.