I’ve spent my whole life growing up in Arizona and for those who don’t live here; everything you’ve heard is true. It’s a sweltering desert with poisonous animals, cactus and retired folks who somehow lose their ability to drive a car when they cross state lines. I’ve heard the line, “It’s a dry heat” so much; I see it as a mediocre attempt at being positive. The truth is, anyone is sweaty and disgusting when the temperature reaches 110 degrees. Being fried-to-death six months out of the year is why I’ve never been a huge fan of living here. I stayed because my family is here and contrary to popular belief, I love them.
True love is being scorched alive with family and friends. Or, I am emotionally codependent and can’t pack a bag with the intent of being alone in a more perfect location. It’s hard to say.
Each summer, Arizona has brief hours of relief when a monsoon rolls in. They are usually preceded by a giant dust storm Arizonians lovingly refer to as a “Haboob.” These dust storms bring with them various degrees of Valley Fever. I read somewhere, natives of Arizona already have some form of Valley Fever dwelling inside them, but aren’t as susceptible to it, because their immune systems have accepted it as normal. Now that is an encouraging thought. With a name like “Haboob” it is sure to inflict terror in the hearts of many as they run for shelter.
Once the dust storm has run its course, we are occasionally granted some hard-core rain. I love the smell of desert rain. There’s nothing like it. Of course, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe it’s really the smell of Valley Fever. Either way, I love to walk outside after a summer rain and just enjoy the temporal 80 degrees while I can. Everything is fresh, until the next day, when it feels like a 96 degree sauna and you’re back to sweating again.
The other day, I read an article about what makes a person a “True Arizonian.” Up until that point, I didn’t realize just being born here, didn’t count. I decided to see if I qualified according to their 60 reasons. I had a brief moment of panic; what I was going to do if I didn’t pass? Live here illegally I guess.
One of the statements was, “A true native doesn’t run out of the rain, they run into it.” It was my favorite reason because it is true. I appreciate the rain, mostly because I don’t see much of it. I had a friend who was visiting from Kansas and the week she was here, we had a couple of rainy days. I got in the car all giddy and said “It’s raining. Today is going to be a great day!” She gave me an odd look and said, “What’s the big deal? It’s just rain.” I thought about when I’d gone to visit her. It rained the whole week. She didn’t have the same appreciation for the rain because she saw it all the time. She was baffled how everyone in Arizona was smiling and worse, they were walking around without umbrellas.
I enjoy the rain so much I have ceremonial procedures for rainy days.
- I eat soup or some type of comfort food that is probably going to add ten pounds the next day.
- I curl up on my couch and watch the rain hit my cinder block walls, since I’m too poor to afford a house with a view.
- Sometimes I stand in my backyard looking upward with my arms outstretched like you would see on an inspirational poster. Truthfully, there is nothing inspirational about I, I probably look like an idiot. Looking into a raining sky is awesome for about three seconds, until it stings you in the eyes and you end up wiping mascara all over your face. My advice: Get water proof mascara.
Honestly, my life is full of rain only its “emotional rain”. There are times when it seems I can’t catch a break. Negative thinking, dramatic life events and a completely broken spirit, push me downward. I’d like to say I’m an emotional super hero but I’m trying to be authentic here. #lifesnotfair
My first thought is to hide from the drama. (When I say “hide,” for me, that means taking a long nap and shutting off all contact to the world). There is usually some self-pity during these times and possibly some over indulgence of pizza. Followed by the question, “Why me?”
It’s beyond tempting to revel in the loneliness this emotional pressure will bring but in the end, it doesn’t make my life better. Well maybe the pizza does, at least for a little bit.
If I were to look back on my life, I could say I’ve had my fair share of difficult days and it would seem as though the people around me have it so much easier. I became an expert at throwing a “pity party”, occasionally to the point where I was praying for God’s return so I could get to the real party in heaven and away from this distressing and illogical world. However, it was during those darker times, my character grew. I was being torn down and reconstructed for better things. I was being prepared for a time, when I’d need to reach out to someone who found themselves in a similar situation so I knew how to encourage them. Character-building is draining and believe me, it bites. I’ve met people lacking in character and I feel sorry for them. They will never truly understand that rainy times bring emotional maturity. They help you appreciate the little things in life because you survived the junk.
People who go through difficult times and rise above them are blessed with compassion, courage and faith. They know what it feels like to experience redemption. Ultimately, there is a choice for all of us. You can run into the rain, or you could run from it.
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