I learned something new today. Apparently, I hate Standard Time.
I’m not sure about everyone else, but I’d always thought I hated “Daylight Savings Time.” That unenviable morning in early November that gives us an extra hour of sleep but extra waking hours of darkness. But that moment is not when Daylight Savings Time begins. That moment is when Daylight Savings Time ends, and Standard Time commences.
So Standard Time is what we really hate. When the sun is up at 6 but down at 4. I would very much prefer that the sun is up at 7 and down at 5. But who am I?
I am someone who suffers this time of year. While I’ve never been officially diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (Bipolar II is enough), there is no escaping the dread that comes over me when it’s pitch dark and I’m writing this at 6:16 pm and bedtime is nowhere near.
But I’m not only missing the sun. The nostalgia is what gets me and keeps me.
I think about the Thanksgiving where I was 7 months pregnant and my only job was to bring green beans. I went to the supermarket and bought what looked like a lot of green beans to me. But then I cooked them and what looked like a lot of green beans was only a serving. For 5 people.
I think about my little girl legs walking into a cold night after an adult fight.
I think about the Thanksgiving-eve night a week after I met my husband. I was 21 and madly in love with someone I met a week ago, and we were hanging out in his friend’s parents’ basement with like 5 dudes, and I had to go to the bathroom. Hubs-to-be told me where the bathroom was on the first floor, and I went up. I learned later that his friend asked if I steal and if so why was he letting me loose in his mama’s house. That friend was a groomsman in our wedding.
I think about a Thanksgiving Day snow and my brother and I making snow angels in the driveway where cars could hit us but we didn’t care.
I think about Christmas eve and walking down the deserted street to the house that sold live trees and my dad and my brother and I walking it home.
I think about the Christmas where our living room looked like a Black winter wonderland. I think about the Christmas where there was no Christmas.
I remember the Christmas as a grad student where I stalked multiple stores so I could buy my son a Kindle when they cost $100 and were too expensive. Where my daughter got an American Girl doll that cost $100 and was money absolutely wasted because she would have been happier with $100 worth of other toys.
I remember the Christmas not too long ago where I thought I did well for Christmas but my baby cried because Santa didn’t bring him anything that he wanted.
I remember the Christmas only a few years ago where I could barely pay my December rent and was in tears on my office floor.
I think about how my oldest gives me his list with dollar amounts because he wants to be reasonable.
I think about all the Bay Area Thanksgivings spent in graduate student housing and 15-20 of us packed into our tiny place with the best potluck Thanksgivings ever.
I remember the Christmas service at my church, the only church I’ve ever joined, where the elders told the church that the beloved pastor had a “moral failing” and would not be returning. I note that I’ve never found another church.
I remember the last two Christmases where I’m making up for past Christmases and I buy everything on their lists except the dog they asked for. The dog that’s asleep on the couch now.
I remember getting married, 7 months pregnant, on November 5, 2005 to my baby daddy.
It’s the memories, more than the dark or the time, that overwhelm me. My most visceral memories of *everything* are at this time of year. Each nestles deep, each equally as emotional, regardless of positivity. Someone said to me recently that I needed to repackage or recast these memories but I do not know how to do that. And I’m not sure I want to. I want to remember them as they were.
We are only 2 days in. And already it’s so dark.