dark was the night; cold was the ground

“So, what happened to your sense of humor?”

“Can you just loosen up a little?”

“I miss the old you.”

“Why do you have to take everything so seriously?”

“It was just a joke.”

“Do you ever leave work mode anymore?”

But I’m happy now, is the thing.


The first time I can remember feeling unsatisfied with my life as it was is actually entirely coincidental with learning to love poetry. There is a Tony Hoagland poem called Reasons to Survive November, and it wasn’t the first poem I loved but it was the first poem I felt, viscerally and as an explanation for feelings I couldn’t yet quantify. There’s a bit toward the end that’s always struck me as incredibly powerful where he talks about “shoving joy into my heart over and over” and I (still) remember reading that for the first time as a senior in high school and realizing that someday, there was going to be more to my life, more maybe than I could even have imagined.

It’s a pretty negative poem (or at least, it comes from a pretty externally negative place) and I identified pretty hard with it during the peak (trough?) of my depression. I don’t anymore. However. I do come back to those lines specifically every so often; historically I wonder when I will begin to live it, but now I think I am. Maybe this is just a long-winded way of saying “haters can hate”? But either way. Haters can hate. And I will shove joy into this tiny little heart over and over until surviving November is not even a question but a fact, unquestioned, and I will live that like a firebrand. And that’s about how this life is gonna go.

© 2019 Caroline Horste

I am neither a professional nor an expert, and nothing here should be taken as counsel or legal advice. Along the same vein, nothing here should be taken as representing the views of anybody but myself, including my employers or the organizations I volunteer for. -CH