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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunshine

We've had an unseasonably warm, dry winter so far in Ohio*-- sometimes our Novembers are covered in a foot of snow, sometimes our Decembers are slushy and permanently gray-- but my stay at my parents' house this season has been full of relatively nonchalant 40-something-degree weather. Considering this, it shouldn't have come as a shock to me when I stepped outside today at noon to bright, blinding sunshine and a jacket-free temperature. It made sense with the weather pattern, and it wasn't totally out of the blue, but I still found myself spreading my arms out in the wind, taking a huge breath, and feeling like, "Wow. Is this real life?"

My 2011 was a wonderful year full of opportunities and fun memories and love and personal growth and everything else it was supposed to be, right up until the very last two days. Then, in the middle of the night, I received a call that informed me of some deeply personal, deeply distressing news. It's not something I can-- or would-- disclose to the entire world, but I'm currently going through a small tragedy in my life.... For a while, I was tempted to ignore it in the areas of my life where that was possible, to pretend everything was fine online and to my casual friends, to compartmentalize. But then, this afternoon, I felt that sunshine.

It's really amazing how, when horrible news comes at you like a poison-coated butcher knife to the stomach, you can feel so immersed in sadness and worry that a year's worth of happiness can be wiped from your memory in one fluid motion. You're checked out, you're miserable, just gone for a day or two. The clock ticks passed midnight on December 31st, but nothing feels different at all. But the thing is, life moves on whether you're willing to participate or not. The old year ends and the new year starts and the clouds move in the sky and the sun comes out in the morning. I'm feeling low-- really, really low-- and that doesn't change just because I replaced my calendar-- but something about a warm, bright new day makes me feel like, I don't know... life will always continue to regenerate itself. Just like my bad news came out of nowhere amidst a previously great year, 50 degrees sometimes happens on January 1st. There's always hope, even when you're not looking for it.


*Bear with me here. I'm allowed to draw melodramatic symbolism from the weather once a year, and I'm getting it out of my system early on. (Creative Writing professors basically get paid their entire salary to slash out weather metaphors with red pen. And to quote a lot of dead people/sometimes wear berets.)

44 comments:

Domi said...

This kinda made my cry.. Hang in there!

Scumbag Sam said...

Hope you feel relatively sunnier soon and you're able to get past whatever the news was. Eloquent even in the face of personal disaster, I salute you! X

madhu~ said...

I still need a jacket in 50 degree weather because I'm a wuss. But I love this optimistic post of yours---it sets a positive tone for 2012 even though it started with a tragedy for you :( I'm sorry

Bridget said...

My family and I have had some substantial tragedies throughout 2011, but if there's one thing everyone can agree on it's that life moves on. I really love this post and also your attitude - hang in there, Hayley and happy New Year :)

Stefan said...

:(

sterff1face said...

It's true, you really can't help but to see something symbolic in a bright sunny day in the middle of winter, especially on the first day of the new year (and since I live in Northern California, this ended up with me walking outside in short sleeves, earmuffs, and sunglasses. Because I'm cool like that).

Although I have no idea what happened, I think that fact that you are able to look at an awful occurrence reflectively like this so soon after it happened is a good sign. Obviously you're not going to feel better about it right away, but it's like a small reminder to yourself that one day you will. :)

Christina said...

I'm sorry you're experiencing a tragedy right now Hayley. I know that words from a random stranger on the internet really don't carry much weight, but I want to say that I'm thinking of you and wishing you the best.

Nicole said...

Hang in there Hayley!

sarah said...

I'm distressed to hear you're going through some tragedies right now. I'm just a fan of your's and don't know you personally but my positive thoughts are with you still.

jenniferkmccall said...

I hope everything gets better for you!

Kara said...

Thank you for this.

And I don't know what to say, except that I wish you peace and love and happiness this year and I hope you feel better soon.

Sidsel said...

I found that to be a beautifully written post.

Maggie said...

Thank you for posting this, Hayley. My mom's best friend and a good friend of mine died in late November rather suddenly, and it's been very tough to continue with the knowledge that I will never see him again in my life.

I am so sorry for what you are going through. I identify so much with your honest expressions of your feelings in this post; your words have comforted me tonight. Thank you.

Again, I am sorry.

Chloe said...

This is beautifully written and - I'm mildly ashamed to say - made me tear up a little...

2011 hasn't been an easy year for me personally, but I'm definitely feeling hopeful right now. So sorry the new year's started off on a negative note for you; I know I don't know you in person and don't know the nature of your situation, but you seem like an amazingly strong person and I'm sure you can get through whatever it is. Well done for finding hope even in the most dire of times; you are a true inspiration.<3

Thea said...

That's a terrible end to the old year... but it sounds like you're already trying to do your best to live your life well despite it and still make the most of everything. I admire your ability to look for the promise of better things instead of just wallowing in the bleak situation you're facing (the latter, if I'm honest, being my own, decidedly less effective method of dealing with tragedy). I hope that whatever's going on in your life, it works itself out in the best way possible. Best wishes for 2012!

Lys said...

So sorry about both the terrible news and the distress you're going through because of it. How inspiring that you continue to see the sun. Here's hoping that the beginning of 2012 brings comfort and condolence from the bad ending to 2011.

Anonymous said...

It's corny and trite, but oh so true: Every cloud has a silver lining. They are sure as shit hard to find and in some personal situations, I had to grasp for straws. Yeah I got raped, but at least when I have sex for real, it won't hurt. I haven't gotten wasted since my best friend drunkenly fell out of a window. And the scar that I got from that car crash makes me look like a badass.

Whatever this tragedy is, you'll get through it. You're more resilient than you think.

<3

Katie said...

Best wishes, kiddo. <333

Maggie said...

I hope things get better!

Alexis said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through something terrible. I'm sure that you'll surround yourself with supportive family and friends, and be able to enjoy the (oh-so-cheesily metaphorical) sunshine. Thank you so much for sharing your optimism with us - you do so much for us, and I hope that we can give you enough support in return.

Anonymous said...

Last year was a year of losses for me yet I am so happy with who I have become. Although it sounds incredibly cheesy, sometimes you have to be your own hero. Hang in there Hayley!

EJ said...

I'm so sorry you're having a bad time of it right now. I hope that things get better soon. Sending good thoughts and best wishes your way, for what that's worth.

<3

Nyckeija R said...

Just today I learnt the word "apricity", which means the warmth of the sun in winter.

I know weather metaphors are incredibly cliche and cheesy, but sometimes that's what life is.

nelamonster said...

Nothing I can say will make you feel better (probably), so let me just give you a hug from afar.

Freya said...

Hayley I promise it gets better, you just take each day as it comes try not to worry too much about past or future days and go into things with a smile if you can. It makes you stronger, I swear.

Emma said...

Hayley, I'm so sorry to hear you're going through a tragedy right now. I sincerely hope you feel better soon. And I hope you know how much you are adored by your internet legion - your humanity, hilarity and honesty (whoa, alliterating so hard) has made me love watching your videos and reading your blog for all these years no matter how dramatically my tastes have changed and I have changed. My thoughts are with you xx

AmyK7 said...

Hayley, I'm so sorry you're having some personal troubles right now. I hope that whatever it is, you will overcome it in good time as you are one of my favourite people ever, and although I don't even personally know you, I hate knowing that you're not feeling great. Be happy, and Gryffindor pride! <3

kira902k said...

Beautifully written. I think if I ever go through a bad time in my life, I may look back on this. Bookmarking it now.

I hope things get better<3


Alex

Jenny said...

Agreed with the weather, it's also crazy warm here in Michigan for this time of year and very bright and sunny. I'm not sure whether to be happy or concerned. 0_o

I can also relate to losing someone at the start of a new year. Janurary 18th of last year I lost my childhood best friend and Grandmother. It seemed like I was in perpetual devestation for the first half of 2011. Time will heal, but we will never forget. These kind of tragic events in the course of our lives teach us to be stronger and better people. My condolences and best wishes to you in the new year, Haley.

-Jenny

Julia Rose said...

I'm sorry, Hayley. I, too, am going through a bit of a rough patch in my personal life. I know how you feel. I guess this came at a good time, since we are feeling very much the same right now. I really do feel horrible, because I can only imagine what that phone call may have been about. My prayers are with you and your family, wether it involves them or not. Remember, it's always sunny somewhere.

Bethany said...

I had a similar experience, just about 2 days after Christmas before the new year. The new year feels like its starting with crisis, and that's a weird situation to be in. I've been trying to handle it by talking to people about it, and recognizing moments of awesome each day, like your sun.

Anonymous said...

My Grandpap died on December 29 a year ago. I know exactly how you feel. <3

Samantha Jay said...

I guess we now kinda know what this was all about. I can't believe it. If it's true ... such betrayal. We are in your corner and love you.

Anonymous said...

I came here planning to say the exact same things as the person above me. I'd just like to echo her sentiments <3

caliowin said...

This post makes more sense now, and I can't even begin to imagine how you feel. I echo the sentiments in the two comments above. I hope people don't bug you to talk about it!

Allie Kate said...

I love you. I love you so much, and you are the most beautiful, and the most wonderful, and the most of anything else that is good. This isn't something you should ever forget/need reminding of. But just in case. And I'm sorry I ended that sentence with a preposition.
<3

Anonymous said...

Hayley, you're awesomesauce. <3

Sarahalala said...

Hayley, I just wanted to send some love and good thoughts your way. You've done a lot over the years to make me laugh, to inspire me, and to bring me out of dark places. So whatever you are feeling now/in the future, I hope your heart always has a place where it can feel the love and support and respect of those around you. <3

Cynthia said...

This blog post was memorable to me. Today when I heard of the recent goings-on I immediately thought back to it, and it made more sense. It's terrible what he's done and managed to hide. I'm just glad you weren't still together when this came to light. I just wanted to say you've handled this gracefully and your fans will always be here for you.

Caitlin Abbott said...

Hayley, I just read the statement Hank and John left on their blog, and I remember reading this post and hoping everything would be okay - not sure of what was going on. I'm a perfect stranger (you're actually the only 5AG I've never met.. darn..) but I'm thinking of you and what you must be going through now that the news has gotten out. DFTBA, and please stay strong and stay well. You're awesome. <3 HUGS!

Rosie said...

When I first read this post for the first time it certainly made me think, as your writing often does. When I heard the recent news my mind went straight back to this post and, although I don't know you, I'm not sure if I've felt so sorry about something for a very long time. I'm sorry how sad this must be for you and I'm sorry how confusing this must be for you and I'm especially sorry if you have found even a tiny little thing to blame yourself about in this whole situation.

So basically I have come back yet again to this blog post to try and remind you quite how amazing you are. In my head you have come, for a long time, second only to John Green in my list of awesome and inspiring people on the internet.

In short you are an incredible person and in my opinion nothing is ever going to change that.

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