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Goeun Park: I used to hate you: An open letter to November

Dear November,

I used to hate you.

I’m not talking about the coy, cute sort of hatred shown in rom-coms. I’m talking vendetta. I’m convinced that it was in my blood to find everything about you detestable. The chill. The dark. The impending doom that was another Minnesotan winter.

If sentiment alone could change seasons, you would have been a goner. I regarded you with the kind of violent contempt that would have wiped you off the calendar.

Admittedly, I was a little overkill. But sometimes, oftentimes, you were too. I can’t name enough body parts to express how much of a pain you were. In a couple years, when I’m older and wiser, you’ll get a proper apology. Unfortunately, this year isn’t it.

Do you remember the last time you came around? Last November, otherwise known as the month of not enough sun, not enough serotonin, and not nearly enough sleep. I dubbed you as the month of unending college applications and schoolwork. The month of seniorities and seasonal depression.

A couple days ago, the roommate told me how one of her high school teachers sometimes went through a whole day without seeing the sun. She’d find him sitting by the window, passing time so he wouldn’t suffer from the winter blues like I did. See, I wasn’t the only one who disliked you.

Once, in the midst of my boundless teenage misery, I asked you, “Are you really necessary? Do you really need to be so cold and dead and blegh?” With you, I couldn’t not complain.

I didn’t think of you when I fled south. Don’t take it personally; very few people think about November in the middle of August.

It only hit me the other day that it was November. I know we didn’t leave on good terms but I felt a little bad about not even recognizing you. To my defense, the 11th month here is much kinder. Today, I wore a pair of shorts and ordered a large iced coffee. I complained about 50 degree weather. (I know, I know, California has made me weak.)

I don’t miss you exactly, but I’m starting to remember how things weren’t always awful. There were good November days, like Nov. 30 in 2009, when my hands ached in the best possible way after finishing a novel or all the Nov. 6ths when I got to eat (at least) half of my brother’s birthday cake. I’m not completely heartless.

I think it’s true that the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. And I no longer hate you. Don’t worry; I don’t plan on being your biggest fan any time soon. I just thought you should know that I no longer despise every hour of your being. Who knows, maybe one day, I’ll even learn to like you.

Goeun Park graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and is attending college in California.