I’m looking out the window at the overcast sky, listening to some melancholy music, and it’s making me happy. Because it fits how I’m feeling today. It’s strange how this can happen – just having the world around you join in your mood can make it better. Whether there’s brilliant sunshine and you’re already feeling fine, or your down in the dumps and the sky is dumping rain, just having the weather agree makes things better. I can’t say I know why. I’m just glad it’s so.
Once when I was driving through Arizona, on my way home to Kansas from a visit to my boyfriend in L.A., the clouds were gloriously moody, raining and then holding back but brooding overhead. Just the way I felt leaving Marc behind. Knowing I wouldn’t see him for months and aching over it. I was so thankful for those clouds that day. My insides brightened feeling that the world understood. It wasn’t trying to fake me out. Wasn’t pulling a “It’ll all be ok.” It just let me be sad, and for that, I felt less so.
I have a photo of myself in my parents’ backyard on graduation day from college. I am laughing – my big, real, toothy laugh – and behind me that same boyfriend is walking up – blurry but you can tell he’s smiling, too. The sun is shining and the light is bouncing off the new, green leaves; it looks like the world is smiling with us. I remember I felt like it was. My boyfriend was soon to be my fiance at that point, he was home to see me, I was a college graduate and we were celebrating. It was a good day, and everyone – the sun, the trees, my family, Marc and me – agreed.
There are certainly times when the rain or an overcast sky can worsen my mood – when my inclination is to be in a good one, but the weather is fighting against it. There are studies that prove this phenomenon. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is due to, primarily, a lack of light. Melatonin is produced, serotonin suppressed, and over time it leads to the doldrums, if not depression. Cold temperatures make your system work harder to stay warm, lowering your immunity, making you vulnerable to illness, which is always a bummer. And humidity can apparently make people feel worse (I know it does me). There is ample evidence for crummy weather causing people’s mood’s to suffer. But I’ve found nothing proving the “the weather matches my mood” theory. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s not scientifically provable, like so many other things (love, God or no God, women’s love of shoes). No matter really, whether I can prove it or not, there it is. My brain likes it when the sky is as melancholy as me.
On those days when the outside is fighting with my inside, I have to work to get out of my funk. I have to listen to happy music (Josh Ritter, Mika, Mat Kearney, Beyonce, the Counting Crows’ Hard Candy album, the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, Paul Simon), take a walk, go to yoga, pray, read, have a boba, talk with a friend, watch a funny movie. I have to make some effort. But there are those serendipitous days when the humidity, the amount of light, the temperature and the cloud structure conspire with me to feel the same. I’m glad this is one of those days.