My Love Hate Relationship With Fall

Leaves6Fall… the very word conjures up visions of cloudy days, chilly fingers, and a depressing gloom.

Everything bad happens in the fall. For real. My cat died in the fall (on my birthday). Bill Clinton became president in the fall (also on my birthday). I witnessed a near murder in my own family in the fall. My marriage was tested with torturous flames in the fall. You see where I’m going with this? Fall = Bad!

Oh, and also Fall signifies the start of winter which lasts far too loooooooong in Indiana.

In my teen years and early adult years, fall was a time of depression for my mother, usually resulting in thick tension. Depression slithered through the house threatening to swallow all of us into its stinky belly. During these times, I took on the role of mother for my younger siblings and the role of counselor for my mother. Two roles a daughter should not take on. It’s not her place.

I’d known nothing but depression during the fall when I married my love. It took me four years to finally get to a place where fall did not send me down into a spiral of darkness. I finally felt like maybe fall could be my friend. I reached out my hand in a peace offering to fall. It bit me. Fiercely.

Just a few short weeks into the fall of ’08, our marriage hit a painful hurdle. It was confusing hard. And once again, fall swallowed me up in depression. It didn’t help that I gave birth just a few short days before. Post partum hormones do not mix well with sorrow and pain.

Last year, toward the end of September, I packed up my kids and my camera and went out to find something to love about fall. I was determined to beat fall at this game of darkness. Where he loomed in shadows, I found light and beauty. I’m not sure that I really felt happy right away, but I forced it in an effort to trick myself into being happy. I chose to fight the gloom.

And I won. For the first time in all my life (that I can remember), I enjoyed fall. Before I knew it, Christmas had arrived and fall slithered away.

It’s mid-September. Fall is sneaking up again. The days are more often gloomy and chilly. I want to stand up to it… not let it win. But it’s so easy to just let it grab my foot and pull me back down. It almost sounds snuggy to be in the sorry-for-myself-in-my-sweatpants mode.

I think maybe now I know why it was so darn hard for my mom in the fall. It was habit to fall into depression. And habit is easy and safe. It takes bravery and strength to resist the comfort of gloom.

For the sake of my kids and my husband, I will choose to stand and fight. I will choose to wear clothing that makes me feel dressed for the day. I will choose to wear makeup and jewelry to make me feel pretty. I will choose to smile when I’d rather cry. I will choose to use gentle words when I’d rather snap.

Fall, you cannot have my soul. You just canNOT.

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