If it hasn’t snowed (which, it hasn’t snowed), then December 3rd has a specific sort of smell. I think it’s the smell of frozen grass and crinkly leaves commingling. For some reason, I get the distinct whiff of cobblestones on December 3rd, and just so there can be a symphony of senses, there’s the sound of a shimmer of resilient leaves in the trees, and my chin starts to numb because it’s just barely too early for scarves. 

I like the way December 3rd is.

I just went to the Cloisters–an extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that is constructed to look like… well… cloisters. This might explain the cobblestone smell I described. I purchased the audio tour because I got a raise at work, and I waited for some revelatory emotion to overtake me.

To be honest, I was kind of bored. I’ve pretended too long that I’m a museum person but I’m only a museum person for as long as the shoes hold out for me, which usually is only long enough to get me through one or two exhibits. But stepping out of the museum and into the crisp nip of December 3rd, not-comfy-enough shoes on the cobblestones, and I’m downright inspired, because I realize as the December chill tucks in around my neck, that I’m sad and that’s ok.

In early talks with New York, I asked the city to toughen me up. It has not done so.  Something about being on a 25 mile island that has a bigger population than your entire home state. You feel so damn small, but not so tough. Your problems feel incredibly small, but worse than this is  the genuine sort of hurt in seeing how hard and big and mean the world really can be to other people. This hasn’t toughened me up–the world’s not that hard to me. It’s just made me sink into a surprising, not-so-tough sort of sad to see the world the way it really is. It’s enough to crumble the healthy sense of self my mother instilled in me. I’ve always had sort of high functioning anxiety about my ability to make the world a better place, but I feel myself slipping out of anxiety and into a sort of depression, which to be honest, I like a lot more than my anxiety (at least right now) because it makes me feel like I don’t have to try quite so hard because nothing I do matters. I won’t even revise that run-on sentence, because it just doesn’t matter.

This is not a blog you post on Facebook. It’s a blog that you hope slips under the radar, unnoticed by all except maybe a small, insightful few who won’t try to “solve the sad” with a compliment or a platitude. More than likely, there will probably be a few over-curious students reading this too, who I kind of hope will have the dignity not to mention it to myself or their peers.

But it’s also a blog I still want to post to remind myself about what I set or to learn in New York: I want to remind myself of this sadness but also the okayness that comes with feeling like the world’s a little too big, and I’m a lot too small.

  1. Dec 05, 2016

    Feeling “…it makes me feel like I don’t have to try quite so hard because nothing I do matters” lately. So, so very deeply.

  2. Dec 12, 2016

    I don’t know if people like us CAN toughen up. Loving the world intensely means mourning it intensely too. And then sometimes going numb when the intensity is too much. I hope you feel big soon. Please forgive if this sounded platitude-y; I feel you so hard on this and mostly want to deliver a written sigh/shrug/cry.