Looking Inward: Why last week was my week
by Emily Russell
Sun Star Columnist
The last time snow graced the skies and blanketed the streets of Fairbanks, I cried. The serenity of the softly-falling snowflakes unsettled my freshly acquired status of a single woman in Alaska. Such moments were meant to be shared and admired with a partner. Instead, I sat alone at the living room table in my new residence and wept. How could the world produce the perfect weather when everything in my own life had been turned upside down, with the contents being dumped onto the floor of my newly emptied heart?
Snowflakes were not meant to go unnoticed or unappreciated, so I could not fathom why the world would be so cruel as to dangle them in front of me, forcing feelings of resentment rather than admiration for those perfectly formed flakes. Snow would not fall for another month in Fairbanks, as temperatures rose comfortably above freezing and the outside world opened itself up to chirping birds and sandal-sporting college students. And me. When the snow ended its hiatus, I knew there was a reason why it hadn’t been around for the last month and why it chose to make its return last week. Because last week was my week.
If last week was my week, then last month was not my month. The snowless 31-day-period that lasted from Jan. 15 until Feb. 15 was filled to the brim with sadness, self-doubt, self-pity, anger, apprehension, and hopelessness, among the countless other emotions that accompany the end of a wonderful relationship. I survived each week thanks to my duties as a teaching assistant, my responsibilities as a thesis-writing graduate student, and my consistent schedule.
Each weekend I attempted to carry over my distracted self and busy schedule from the previous week, but each time I failed. Every Sunday between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15 was spent exhausting myself of all the salt water that my eyes could excrete, which is a tiring, frustrating, and dehydrating experience. But that was the state I was in, and on those Sundays, it seemed that there was no end in sight. Until there was. It’s impossible to ever know when sadness will subside, but in my case, it seemed as if the world around me knew exactly when I would make my breakthrough. It happened last week, with the return of the snow.
Along with the falling snow, there was something else in the air. There was an increased level of self-worth. There were incredible feelings of strength, both physical and emotional. Self-worth and strength combined within me to create a level of confidence that I honestly haven’t felt since before the beginning of my last relationship, if ever. With that confidence, I taught some girlfriends how to ski, and in the process spent over three hours on the ski trails. At the end of my three-hour stint, I had enough energy leftover to buy and begin learning how to play the ukulele, attend a lecture on the Chilkoot Trail, cook myself a delicious meal and fend off any feelings of sadness or self-doubt.
Within the same week I made remarkable progress on my thesis, overcame a fear of black light parties to dance the night away with girlfriends and my team even won Trivia Night at The Pub! Within last week I became myself again, and would go so far as to say that I became an even better version of myself than I was before Jan. 15. I’ll take a majority of the credit for this breakthrough, along with the immense amount of credit owed to my friends and family that have stuck by me through the last month. But I’d also like to credit the snow, for without those flakes I may never have realized the stark contrast between my state of mind and feelings of strength and confidence from the last time they fell in January