Every region of the world has their own distinct meteorological phenomena. I’m not talking about hurricanes and tsunamis, things that you hear about half the world away. I am referring to local occurrences the likes of which you have never heard unless you live in a certain area. The northeastern United States has Nor’easters. A Nor’easter occurs when cold air flying down from Canada hits the warmer air traveling over the northeast. Simply put, it is the mother of all blizzards. This is a word I had never heard before moving to Boston. Oddly enough, having never heard it myself, it is bandied around even by the most learned circles. It is used on the television weather reports complete with the missing “th.”
Well, not to be outdone, southern California has terminology, too. Every year, in a state that is sunny most of the time, for nearly an entire month, it is overcast. It happens primarily in the morning, but sometimes, it lasts all day. The locals have a word for it. It’s not as flashy or region specific as Nor’easter, but it does have a distinct charm unto its own. It is simply called June Gloom.
It is a term that is aptly fitting of my own life. My birthday is in June. Every year, I fluctuate between trying to come to terms with the fact that I may have wasted another year and trying to forget it altogether. My birthday is an inevitable dot on the Doppler radar of my life growing into a larger storm system every day that passes in June. My very own gloom. When I first heard of June Gloom, I was almost relieved. There is nothing less heartening than being depressed while it’s sunny outside.
Most people use New Year’s Eve to transact such life ponderings, but I have always found that event to be about looking back on the positive things. In the unintentionally rebellious way in which I approach everything in life, I have to have my own personal new year. Contemplating with the rest of the world is not for me! But I do appreciate the fact the California has set aside one of its near perfect months in honor of my gloom, my dread, my doom.
I try to look at the years I have lived with objectivity, which given the fact that it is my life, is nigh on impossible. I have been lucky. Very lucky indeed. I should be dead by now a hundred times over. I have been dead a hundred times. I should not have survived to the age of one but a very persistent doctor took it upon herself to see to it that I did. What did I do with the gift of life which she bequeathed me? I tried to destroy it. Not actively, but intentionally just the same. Over the course of the years, I have put myself in life threatening situation after situation. I have put myself in harm’s way; I have done things that any life-valuing, sane person would have run from, but I didn’t think twice.
They say that once you have had a near death experience that it changes you. It makes you realize what is truly important. Maybe it is because I was a mere infant when I died and died again that I have never really surmised the value of life. Or maybe I was slated to be an entirely different person and the person I am is a manifestation of my death as an infant. One might say that as an infant, one would not actually have a near death experience at all. How could one so small remember that? Well, maybe not. But the fact is, that was not the only time I died. Oh no, dear reader, there is more! Rather than going off to college and becoming a responsible, god-fearing adult, I chose to throw it all off and move to the ghetto of Detroit where I promptly became a drug addict. As any drug addict will tell you, you take your life in your hands when you become profoundly addicted.
I have never actively sought death as a solution; I have never, ever, ever attempted or even seriously considered suicide. I’ve never actively attempted suicide, that is. Passively, well now, that’s a whole different story. When you become seriously addicted to something – anything – the initial high that you get wears off. After the first time, you begin to develop a tolerance. You need more and more to even attempt to get back to where you started. This inevitably means that you are recklessly doing more and more of whatever is your drug of choice. If you don’t stop, you die. It’s as simple as that. I stopped after I died. Even death wasn’t enough to stop me.
At this point, I really do not have an accurate death count. I could take an educated guess, but it doesn’t matter anyway. What does matter is that I’m still here. Nearly half of my lifetime has passed since the last time I died. Who knows, maybe in another half a lifetime, I will die again, but all I know is that this anniversary of my death and birth is going to pass uneventfully. I will not start the cycle again, at least, not intentionally.
So, here I am weathering my own personal June Gloom again. Fortunately, June is only thirty days long.