Monday, April 2, 2012

My Love Affair with the Sun

"I was walking, and I realized I was smiling.  It must be the weather."

I overheard this at the coffee shop today while I sat sipping my soy chai, reading and enjoying the sunshine.  Yes, that's right, sunshine.  Salem is actually sunny and not cold today.  (It's not exactly warm, but it's not cold.)  I cannot possibly express how much joy this brings me.

The sun came at the right time, because I was this close to telling Sam that I refused to spend another month in this overcast, rainy town.  The sun gives me a bit of hope.  First, I am reminded that it does exist (I was beginning to wonder) and that after every winter, the summer will eventually come again.  When the sun is shining, I have energy.  I'm cheerful, not easily irritated, and I'm full of hope.  I feel like me!  Today was such a productive, amazing day that it has confirmed my suspicion that I am solar powered.  I'm broken when it's cloudy.  And I needed a day of feeling like me.

Before we moved to Salem, I wrote a post about learning to love the rain in anticipation of our move.  If you have forgotten, don't feel bad, because I hadn't remembered it at all until I happened to stumble upon it recently.  Once I read it, I felt guilty that I had failed so miserably at something I once thought I could easily accomplish - being okay with the rain.  It's humbling to reread your own blog and feel chastised by your former self for not following through with something you promised to do.  Sorry, Kimberly of 2011.  You had high hopes for yourself, though you may have naively expected too much.

The truth is, I do not like the rain.  I sincerely gave it my best effort, but every morning that I wake up and it's cloudy and gray and drizzling, I feel my spirits sink.  I really, genuinely wish I could like the rain.  I wish I could be one of those people who dances in it, who likes taking walks in it, who doesn't mind when the bottom of her jeans get soaked and leave her feet cold.  I thought the longer I lived in Oregon, the more I would get used to it, and that maybe I'd even like it.  And maybe if Sam and I stay here a while, I will learn to like it.

But as of now, I hate it.

I wish I could write about how I'm thriving, how I love wearing scarves and boots and getting all bundled up to go outside, that I don't miss California weather at all.  I wish I could say that I've changed my outlook, so that when it starts raining I'm simply thankful for the gray skies and the frizzy hair.  I want to be positive, and I sincerely try to be, every day.  But I can only fake it for so long before I must admit that this weather is getting the best of me.  I have always been, and now realize that I will most likely always be, a summer girl.  Give me sunshine, leave the rain.  I don't care that rain makes things green.  I actually loved the dead, brown hills of Porterville that everyone else hated.  I called them "golden" and I thought they were romantic.

I don't remember ever being so excited to see the sun (in April) in Porterville.  Usually around this time, I was only annoyed that the temperature hadn't yet hit ninety.  If I was a little chilly in my shorts and flip flops, it was still too cold for my taste.  How utterly foolish I was to take those days for granted.  Had I only but known, I would have savored each second of sunny, seventy-degree weather.

Speaking of Porterville, I've recently developed a bad habit that I'm sure is detrimental to my mental health and that I should probably break immediately.  My secret shame, my own form of self-torture, is to look up the weather in places other than Salem, such as Porterville, Long Beach, and even Fallon.  In case anyone is wondering, the weather forecast for Porterville next week says things like, "Plenty of sun," "Brilliant sunshine," "A full day of sun," and other phrases that make me want to weep.  I play the "What if?" game, where I consider what life would be like if we'd moved to Phoenix or Fallon, or if we'd stayed in Petaluma.  If we lived in Phoenix, I could be enjoying 80+ degree weather, wearing shorts and flip flops, and absorbing enough Vitamin D for my sensitive soul to live off of.  Before you say, "Phoenix would be way too hot in the summer," let me stop you.  I don't understand "too hot".  I love heat, and I'd be fine.  I know this because Porterville was known for it's 100+ temperatures as well, and I've lived in it and I loved it.  Even when all my friends were complaining about sweating and melting and being too hot, I was skipping along, thanking God for His gift of sunshine.

People have tried to tell me to be thankful that I get to experience all the seasons.  That would work if I liked all the seasons.  The truth is, I'm sick of winter right after Christmas, I tolerate spring, and fall is just okay.  But I'm in love with summer.  I've tried to change, but I'm beginning to accept that this is just part of who I am, the way I'm wired, my preferences.

My ray of hope, the silver lining on all these clouds, is that I know I'm not alone.  Even all the Oregonians I encounter - coworkers, customers, friends from church - are sick of the weather.  They all admit that they get depressed around this time of year, too.  (And according to a customer, this March was the wettest on record.  Thanks, Oregon - what a lovely welcome I was given.)  Today was a reminder that I won't have to wear my super warm fleece pajamas to bed every night for too much longer, that there is an end to the misery, and it's coming.  And when that happens, hopefully I'll look back on this time and think about how silly I was to get so upset over cloudy days.  But right now, when I feel like I need that sunshine, that warmth, that hope of someday feeling alive and energetic again, I am down about it.

My sweet husband tries to encourage me.  He reminds me that we can't change the weather and, at this point, we can't change where we live.  He says I should focus on what I can change - my attitude.  (He is pretty wise, and amazing, but admittedly annoying when he says things like this.  It's especially annoying when he's right.)  The truth is, I've never been so good at changing my attitude.  I'm pretty stubborn, I like to pout, and it's easier to just be grumpy.

But I don't like to be grumpy.  So what else can I change?  My hair.  (Maybe this is why I dye my hair so much?  So that I can change something when I don't want to change my attitude?)

Here's my new yellow hair, inspired by my favorite color, which is, of course, inspired by the sun.


And you lucky ducks who live in warm, sunny places, I implore you to please be thankful.  In case you forget how lovely it is to live in decent weather, just think of me with my frizzy hair and wet feet, and smile with gratitude.

15 comments:

  1. I would tell you that you wil eventually enjoy the rain, but I would be lying!! I'm a summer girl too - although I am now finding that it CAN get too hot!

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  2. Hey!!! I'm so glad you've joined the blogosphere again. By the way, I BEGGED Matt to let us go somewhere for spring break because I have been so down because of the weather. I begged and begged and begged, searched flights, did everything I possibly could to search out some nearby sunshine. And to no avail. But that's okay, I got deathly sick. Haha. Anyway, I totally, TOTALLY feel your pain. I've lived here since I was in 3rd grade, and I have learned to love the fall and the spring, and the first part of winter. But January through June are really tough for me. It's the pits, to be honest. I'm so glad you got to be YOU again today :)

    I refuse to let Matt and I move anywhere in the Pacific Northwest after college. I mean, we might live in Portland for a while, but my one request of him is that we "live somewhere warm for once." I've never really lived anywhere super warm, and I think it's about time. Right now we're looking at moving to South America in a few years... whoa! :)

    We should get together soon! Your hair looked beautiful today by the way. :)

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    1. glad you know what i'm going through with the gloomy weather! and i'm glad it's not just because i'm a pansy from california, ha. i hope you guys get the chance to live somewhere warm - south america would be rad!

      let's for sure get together soon! i'm always down for some chai or coffee.

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  3. I hear ya, Kim. I am so much more productive when I'm not fighting against the weather. While I love visiting Oregon, I struggled when we lived there. I can only go so long without sunshine.

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    1. i am my father's daughter. :) love you, papa.

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  4. I love the sunshine too! I feel for you Kim, but the hair does look great!

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  5. Kimmy, I am in the same spot (attitude-wise) as you right now. I'm so sick of
    Winter. The sun came out last week for an afternoon, and I shuttled both girls to the park even though the ground was still wet as were all the slides at the park. We enjoyed our hour of sunshine though, and it snowed again this weekend, so I was glad for my small ray of sunshine. I'm so ready for more of it....Please, let the sun and warm weather be right around the corner, Lord. I like that you complain about stuff sometimes. It reminds me that it's ok not to be happy about every little thing all the time. Sam is right though, we can't focus on it; we have to find something positive or do something positive until the sun comes back out again. :) Thanks for the encouragement. I'm praying for sunshine for both of us.

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    1. so glad to know it's not just me, laura! that's why i let myself complain sometimes - to realize i'm not the only one. there's comfort in community like that. :) but yes, there's a time and a place but i can only let my complaining last for so long. i hope you get some sunshine soon! where are you living now, by the way?

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  6. It's amazing how much your upbringing affects your preferences! I'm the exact opposite of you, haha! I was raised in the rain, the "gloom", the overcast skies... And that's my favorite weather! Granted, I wouldn't want that year-round, because I do love sunny summer sports, but I would choose that over 90-degree, bone-dry, "dead brown hills" weather anytime. I can't WAIT to be there next week! But it's just interesting that since you were raised in the summer sun and heat, you love it so much more. I don't think that's something that you really can willfully change. Perhaps over a long period of time! Anyway, sorry it's been gloomy. I'll start praying for sun... after we visit you. ;) haha!

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  7. Salem rain is to Kimmy as Houston humidity is to Carissa. :) I miss the dry heat and sunny days of southern CA too!!

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    1. let's just move to malibu together, carissa. and lay on the beach allll day.

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  8. I love the way you speak of your honey....I can hear your adoration/affection.

    You can easily wear many different shades of color on your hair...you ALWAYS look great!

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