Last week it snowed. The city turned cold, wet, slippery and gloomy. With wind blowing packs of snow in our legs and faces, crossing the bridge, once a highlight of the way to the old town, became an ordeal. Not twenty-four hours later Daylight Saving Time kicked in, and the sun, or whatever was left of it, started to set in the middle of the afternoon. The temperature rose a little, and the sun started shining again a few hours a day; but thus so royally announced, November started.
I don't know if it's the family tradition, my Mediterranean, sun-thirsty roots, or a more generic light sensitivity seasonal autumn blues funk, but my brain is definitely not impressed. Darkness has descended upon us? Let's get in a dark mood then.
Every day that I don't cry is a victory. Every few hours that I don't feel like crying are a victory. They don't come easy. Most of the time, I feel lonely, abandoned, not good enough, hopeless, and fighting off those emotions is a constant, harrowing battle. I write todo lists and check off items with rage-fueled strikes. I force myself to go out for walks when the sun is out, to go swimming every few days, to play my viola, to fight the urge to hide under the covers and be social instead. I've even joined #digiwrimo, to help kicking my writing muscles into gear. But it seems that as soon as I let my guard down, the negative feelings creep back.
I accept every opportunity to go out, from concerts to talks and glasses of wine to dinners. In the course of a few days, I've order Lebanese food to go after work and huddled up with a friend in her small kitchen, where we downed it with liters of hot tea while talking about the future and its uncertainties; I've shared one of the best pizzas in town with a concerned American right after Sandy stormed through the East Coast—and a mere days away from the presidential election; I've participated in a Scandinavian quest to find good German red wine; I've been to the pool twice, and of course to one orchestra rehearsal. Still I've had two meltdowns, have snapped at a colleague I never snap at, and have spent quite an inordinate amount of time solely focusing on quieting down the little inner voice which insists that I am worthless.
Yesterday, I saw Berlin Telegram. It tells the story of a woman's fight to reconstruct her life after a heartbreak, and it is beautiful. A few minutes in I had forgotten that I ended up alone at the theater, and how hard it was not to let my heart sink when friend after friend apologized for not coming—a downside of last minute plans. I joined a few people for drinks afterwards. We raised our glasses to winter. "It will be long and cold," said our impromptu toast master. "And dark," I added. We clinked glasses on that. He and I drank and danced late in the night, talking about the grace of Greece's light, the bitterness of love, the protective barriers we erect, his now ablated cancerous tumor. So misery loves company, but it was oddly beautiful, this conversation half drowned in music, through his half-hearted smiles and my bitten back tears.
I am well surrounded, in fact, and even if it's not easy, I have the tools to fight. So hear that, November? You won't get me. And on your last day I'll be off to California, and I won't even care if six of the days I'll spend there will be in a skiing (and casinos...) resort.