When the cold comes, and it always comes, we’re never quite as prepared as we think we should be. We lie, tell ourselves we’ve been through it before, we’ll get through it again, but without fail it is startling, it is jarring, and it shakes us to the centers. Winter in a state like Montana takes what you think you know of endurance, and erodes it. It washes it away in small increments, in darkness coming at 4:45pm, in sunrises that wait until 8am. It pulls away pieces of yourself in early September snowfall that stays until the first of May, in two weeks straight where the temperature never rises above -15°F, and you stop feeling your fingers within moments of stepping outdoors. It tests you, like all things test you, and my hope is that on the other side of all this, such great strength is born. Now, wherever you are reading this, whatever your weather, ask yourself this: What have you endured that you never thought possible? What strength was born in the things you survived that you swore would undo you? Let us know, if you wish.
I endured a trauma when I was a little girl, and when it was uncovered I felt like I had been consumed by negative emotions, guilt, betrayal, shame, I didn’t think I could ever have a sense of normalcy ever again. Thankfully I have overcome it. And I wake up every morning knowing I am strong, and I will never let those feelings consume me every again. Thank you Tyler, for creating such a safe space in which we can share our deepest darkest parts and still be accepted. 💛
I know you were talking about actual cold, but those first few lines read like a beautiful anaology for the mental health roller coaster on which many of us find ourselves unwilling riders. Thank you for your words that are always warmth in the bitter cold for me.
I lost my mother at a very young age and had a stepmother that hated me because I was a constant reminder of her. I grew up believing totally in fairytales and magic as I felt I was living in one. I have become quietly strong because of it and I am sure more empathetic. Good can come out of a terribly sad situation, it just takes a while to understand .....
I lost a lot of people a few years ago, and convinced myself it was my fault. That I was some kind of monster that engulfed people like a violent sea. So I turned it all off, shut down, and went numb for the longest time. I didn’t feel anything, and I never thought I would again. When you describe winter, that’s how I felt — like I was frozen. I never thought it would change, I thought that’s who I was, until I was traveling through Greece and met an older woman from England on a sailboat. She could see right through me. I told her everything, and she explained grief in a way that I had never understood before. She was the first person to make me believe that what was happening to me wouldn’t last forever, but she was also the person who told me that the only one who could change it was me. Nobody was ever going to come along and fix everything. I had to fight for it, and make it through my winter.
Thank you for this. I often forget what I’ve endured, what I’m capable of.
For me it's grief....so many times over. I'm someone with more loved ones "there" than left "here" and the missing sometimes feels like that long winter that's bleak and seemingly endless. But life does go on.... it's just changed in ways that you'd never ask for. The only comfort in it is my faith that those pieces of my heart that went with them might be waiting for me when I get there one day. In the meantime, I've got so much to do, my boys to raise, and the warrior in me is still charging into the good fight. And I miss them all the time.