I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: fall is my favorite season. But, as is typical when the weather somewhat suddenly changes to temperatures that feel cold compared to the 100-degree heatwave of a few weeks ago, I’m starting to feel that strange mournfulness that always accompanies the season change.
I always feel nostalgic in the fall, especially now that I’ve graduated, because the weather shift inevitably reminds me of Wittenberg. I think of walking across campus in the chilly night air; of hooded sweatshirts and brisk treks to the bar and cigarettes on the side porch of the sorority house. And even though this fall will actually be a hugely exciting time for me, because I’ll be moving to a new apartment and finally starting what will hopefully feel like a real and actual adult life, I can’t help but remember how sad, lost, and confused I was last fall, and how much I was struggling with pretty much every aspect of my unsatisfactory new life.
I looked back over the blog posts that I wrote in September of last year, which are some of my favorite posts because of how shamelessly honest they are, and it’s odd how cyclical everything seems now that September 2011 has rolled around.
Last September I was thinking about getting a tattoo and endlessly struggling with my on-again off-again love affair with cigarettes.
I was learning how to casually have a drink with friends at a bar where I didn’t know anyone, and constantly battling my instinct toward hostile unfriendliness in the face of harmless strangers.
I was buying the first lovingly thrifted housewares and wondering when and where they would eventually find a home.
I was subtly mocking my ex boyfriend for the bad bar poetry that he published on the internet that made me want to set him or myself or both on fire, and hating myself for even letting it bother me.
In September I was struggling with the desire to write and with the overwhelming uncertainty of what relationships, jobs, and hobbies I would end up devoting my time to over the next year.
I was missing Wittenberg and the safety net of a hundred friends within walking distance that I took for granted for four years- the sense of comfort and security and feeling “at home” that I missed more than anything I had ever missed in my life.
I was coming to terms both with what I wanted and needed for myself; fleshing out the things that were necessary for me to feel fulfilled and constantly searching for order in the empty chaos that seemed to swallow my post-graduate life.
I was enjoying the crisp weather change and reminiscing about everything that fall means to me: jeans, jackets, and scarves; the memory of the simple joy of the perfect leaf pile and the perfect Halloween costume; my love for everything pumpkin-flavored; the calm sadness of accepting change.
In September I was listening to Taking Back Sunday and Arcade Fire, reading High Fidelity and The Picture of Dorian Gray, and watching High Fidelity and 500 Days of Summer.
I was missing Amsterdam and the sometimes depressing and sometimes peaceful, life-changing solitude I experienced in Europe.
I was scared about money and about not knowing what I would be doing in a year from then, and trying but most of the time failing to live by the maxim “do one thing every day that scares you.”
I was missing him. Always fucking missing him.
And beneath and above everything, I was sad, because I was struggling to recover from my first real heartbreak. I was trying to make sense of the betrayal I felt, of the overwhelming loneliness and the denial that a relationship that meant so much to me could be so fleeting. I was trying not to lose respect for him and for myself, but no matter what I did I felt like I was always sinking, unable to come to terms with the senselessness of that pain that was so unexpected, that pain that still lingers today, as much as I try to bury it beneath everything I’ve learned about myself since then.
Last September I visited Lamar and Amy in Indianapolis, and I was jealous of the life they had there, and sad because I wanted to be a part of it but couldn’t work out how to do that at the time.
Now that it’s September again, I find a certain measure of comfort in the fact that many of the feelings I was beating myself over the head with around this time last year are still hanging around, for better or for worse. In general, I’m much happier than I was last September, and even though I haven’t necessarily found order in the chaos, I have found an acceptable balance in the amount of time I’ve devoted to the things I care about. I’m still uncertain and terrified and lonely, but overall I feel much more at peace. I still want a tattoo and I still find inexplicable comfort in smoking cigarettes and listening to sad songs on repeat, but I’m not drowning in my defeated saudade anymore.
I’m still just flying by the seat of my pants.