storm warning.

Last night, it rained. Hard.

Let me tell about the rain in Texas (rather than the rain in Spain; you’re welcome). When I first moved here a whopping seven months ago–time truly flies–my friends hardly spoke about the heat. The heat didn’t require discussion. I knew that the sun would be vengeful, punishing me for something I’m not sure I did. No, dear reader, I was informed about the rain. Because it doesn’t just rain here. It monsoons. Deluges. Floods. Cats, dogs, and cows fall

flood
Oh, hey, Nessie.

from the sky. High winds. Rain descending sideways instead of downwards, which indicates to me that this ain’t a game. Thunder. Lightning. Hail the size of my massive head. When I initially moved here, I once arrived at my former residence and watched, wide-eyed, as the sky turned to a shade of inkwell black. As I scrambled to get out of the car before I was drenched and/or transported to Oz, I realized that perhaps for the first time in my life, I was filled with pure, meteorologically-based fear. (Sure, living in Anywhere, VA had its insane moments. Snow, rain, all of that. But having lived in that area most of life, I was used to it.) And rarely did we receive tornado, get-in-the-bathtub warnings like we do here. As I reached behind me to grab my ineffectual umbrella, I moved with the kind of panic you reserve for dark evenings when someone is walking behind you or when you share an elevator with just another person. (Is it just me? I cannot function when there’s just two of us in an elevator. I simply cannot.) It was terrifying. When I finally made it to the covered porch, a few droplets already falling on head, I turned around right on time as the heavens began to weep. It was incredible.

Oh, and this isn’t the kind of relaxing rain that lulls you to sleep. Rather, I was pulled out of my sleep and driven towards the window, where I peeked through the blinds and watched the sideways storm batter the ground and the cars in the parking lot. A few nights ago, hail accompanied the storm that came.. Ever hear a million rocks thrashing against your window as if they’re mad and not going to take this anymore? This time, however, there was no hail. Just angry water propelled by unremitting winds. When I finally headed back to bed, I lay there, wishing it was over. No such thing. It was determined to screech and ruin the dreams I could no longer remember. (No, Leonard hasn’t returned.) Thankfully, a fitful sleep eventually came over me and I was able to escape the noise. In the morning, the only evidence of the storm were the leaves that decorated the surfaces of my car. If only cars could talk. (“Darling, what was that?” Imagine the scratchy, accented voice of Idris posing that bewildered question, because my car shares his name. This ain’t a game.)

So how do we make amends with this weather fear? One of the many reasons I moved here was to avoid the snow and ice of the Northern VA area, which also came with the kind of cold air that bypassed coats and scarves and headed for pure bone. I’d rather be hot than cold. Hot means I can find a Starbucks and escape the heat outside. Cold means frozen tears just because I can never get warm. And since I’ll be here for the foreseeable future, what do we do?

We find a better umbrella, stay inside, and avoid Oz at all costs.

Does it rain a lot where you are? Do you hide like me or do you laugh in the face of weather-related fears (unlike me)?

laughter in the rain?

This morning, a cold, unrelenting rain descends onto the atmosphere. The skies are dark, overwhelming, and sad. And I’d like to swim in a pool of French fries and cupcakes while I sob myself to a fitful sleep. Needless to say, it’s obvious that I loathe days like this. I’d love to tell you that I’m someone who doesn’t allow the weather to dictate my mood, but that would be quite the lie. My name is This Square Peg, and precipitation is my master. And on gloomy, rainy days like this, I reflect the color of the day: gray. (I also want plenty of carbs and starches, as seen above.)

A friend of mine recently asked on Facebook if anyone had suggestions on how she could change her attitude about rainy days. I thought that was such a genius question, for one thing, and above all, I highly appreciated her eagerness to find a silver lining behind the murky, pea soupy cloud. A lot of the responses were nice and positive, cute. (One friend suggested imagining Gene Kelly’s routine genekellyin Singing in the Rain, for example, which I thought was a fun idea.)  So, as I hurried through the rain this morning, clutching my umbrella and casting my eyes warily toward the heavens, I wondered the same thing: how can I change my attitude about rainy days?

It Doesn’t Last Forever. Even though it’s been raining since yesterday, and per the quacks meteorologists, it will continue tomorrow, it won’t rain for the rest of my life. It’s going to end eventually. So I need to focus on the end game and stop shaking my fists at the sky.

Perspective is Everything. Yes, it’s raining, and yes, it’s stinkin’ cold, but something is growing somewhere. Something is benefiting from the moisture. If not me, then something/someone else. Right? Riiiighhht?

Funerals, Heartbreak, Etc. Perhaps my rainy days will be less morose if I don’t think of all the terrible things I associate with rain, such as the latter. I literally imagine funeral processions and sobbing in the rain over a splintered heart. Yep. That’ll have to change, huh?

Just Background, Really. It’s raining, it’s pouring, my love life is boring me to tears…(if you got that Barbra Streisand/Donna Summer reference, then you and me are besties 4 eva). Anyway, lyric gold aside, the rain isn’t the reason behind what I may be going through that day. It’s just the background. Not the cause, not the catalyst. It’s just rain.

So, in the end, I figure that changing my mindset will significantly improve the dark moods I tend to nurse when the weather is like this. No, you may never see me dancing in the rain, but you just might catch a tiny, unbothered smile.

Umbrellas.

Unlike Southern California, it really doesn’t rain in West Africa. With the exception of the Harmattan season, where I have sweet memories of my mom gently rubbing lip balm across my lips to protect against the dry, windy weather outside, nothing really disrupted the hot, sunny days back home. Imagine the interesting reaction me and my sister had when we witnessed actual seasons upon moving to States. Months after we arrived, we saw our first snowfall. There’s a picture somewhere of the three of us (me, sis, and little bro) outside our first apartment, bound in tight, wool coats and knee deep in snow. Anyway, all that said, snow wasn’t rain.

Oh, rain. Like this lady, I don’t care for it. Not only because it’s wet and messy and sad and wet, but because every rainfall reminds me of my issues with the umbrella. I recall my bestie watching me struggle to close an umbrella while trying to get into her car one afternoon–without getting wet–and, after finally getting in, hearing her say, “Aw, you don’t know how to use an umbrella, do you?” I know how. I just don’t do it gracefully. I fight it. I grapple with it. I get wet. Can you blame me? I had to get used to a brand new object! Come on.

This morning, as I prepared to head outside, I almost shook my fists at the heavens. Rain. Which meant the umbrella.

Care to read up about that pesky item you carry in your purse (or murse)? Here you go.

Umbrellas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Umbrellas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir