Dear November, my coldest regards


Natalie Mix

Just another November sunset because the one good thing about this month is the stunning sunsets

I wish I was better at telling my stories in something other than a series of days when tears beckoned to me like a crushing wave beckons to the sandy sea floor. 

I wish I hadn’t nearly run out of metaphors for my tears, for the moments when the whole world’s problems slowly rain down around me, blurred and formless shapes, tragic and unsolvable. 

I wish I could put aside these emotions for long enough to write the column that I’ve been planning to write since yesterday, the column that was supposed to radiate the sheer gravity of my own existence, marvel at the footprints littering the path to where I stand today. I wish that I wasn’t merely a puppet controlled by the strings of my fleeting, yet powerful, feelings—so quick to toss it all out the window at a flutter of frustration, the insistent press of tears in the hollow of my throat.

I wish, even now, that the words were arranging themselves on the page a bit differently, that I didn’t feel so empty, detached, far away—simply a bystander to the emotions that I’m attempting to vividly paint across this page. I wish I’d started this column earlier, that it wasn’t 11:25 p.m. right now, that I didn’t still have two chapters of The Picture of Dorian Gray to read. 

I wish that I had applied to even one college, wish that I had written more than a single sentence of my college essay, wish that I envisioned a future for myself somewhere the way the rest of them do. 

I wish that I hadn’t spent an hour and a half driving between locations, wasting away in a parking lot, writing stories in my head to justify the frustration that bubbled up in my chest, threatening to spill out all over everything.

I wish that my eyebrows weren’t picked so thin, that my fingers weren’t constantly itching for some form of stimulation, that the crinkle of a bag didn’t send me lurching forward for my headphones to block out the noise. 

And I wish that I had anywhere for all of it to go, all of the wishing and wanting for change, to be someone else, to let go of the same self-destructive tendencies that have become indistinguishable from myself. 

Today, I sobbed in the car to a playlist titled “Pure, unfiltered anger” because there was nothing for me to hate. The hours of light were dwindling to fuzzy blue gray between the spindly tree limbs, and the flames within me popped and sparkled with nothing to burn. 

I’d already misdirected my anger at all the wrong people, and now there was no one left to blame but Fate herself. There’s nobody to hold responsible for all of the wishing, no one to hate for everything I’m not in these steadily darkening days. 

So I’ll hate November. 

The hours of light were dwindling to fuzzy blue gray between the spindly tree limbs, and the flames within me popped and sparkled with nothing to burn.

I hate November because it gets dark at 5:30 p.m. now. The world ceases her frantic humming, nighttime slips onto his shadowy throne, and there are never enough lights on in my house. When the sky begins to melt multihued trails between tree branches, I remain impervious to the euphoria of the sun’s circadian dip beneath the shadows of the horizon. The lightless hours can only bring dread for the sun’s eventual return. 

I hate November because there’s a mottled layer of ice across my windshield every morning, and I never leave myself enough time to scrape it off. Every second is precious as I scramble to deliver my brother to first hour Algebra on time, balancing my coffee, a banana, the keys as I start the car through the window by the stairs, and five extra minutes of sleep. I don’t plan to rifle through my trunk for the ice scraper, don’t plan for the time it’ll take to clear a square big enough to see through, so I’m reliably turning onto Hall street later than intended.

I hate November because my calendar still has September/October scrawled across the top in cursive, because I haven’t touched the notes my friends drew across it weeks ago. The calendar should be brimming with every deadline whose date I don’t know—deadlines for scholarships I’m not qualified for, colleges that could be the scene of my next impending breakdown, projects that exist only in fleeting mentions until they become all too real in a sudden epiphany.

I hate November because my mom is sad in November, and she’s not the only one. I hurt not only for myself, but for every heart that’s broken in my vicinity, every heart that feels a little bit like mine.

I hate November because it all fell apart last November, and every time the sobs tear out of me, I worry it’s all falling apart again. I hate November because I can’t trust myself, can’t trust that I won’t just let go again, won’t just watch it all fall and shatter against the icy pavement. 

I hate November because if I don’t, the hatred won’t have anywhere to turn but inward.

Maybe I hate November because I can’t bear hating myself.