New Year’s Toast

With depression, often the pain is mysterious. I ache (emotionally and sometimes also physically), but I don’t know why. I try to assign a culprit. For example, it’s because my day isn’t going swimmingly, or I think of painful things that have happened in the past, or it’s because I’m lonely, or perhaps because I haven’t accomplished what I want to career-wise. The reality remains that it’s usually just chemicals. My depression is chemical. But my heart doesn’t understand chemicals.

But sometimes pain is tangible. And it’s because I sat out by the pool without sunscreen on a particularly scorching day in Madagascar. I told myself: Hey, it’s the first day of the new year and you have the day off, so why not relax at the pool. The sun will feel good. It’ll boost your mood. 

I forgot what my Australian friends told me. The sun is hotter in the Southern Hemisphere. There is less ozone and less pollution to block the UV rays and the earth is closer to the sun during the southern summer, resulting in a much higher UV index than a sunny day in Washington state.

Here is the result. That non-red space at the top of my thighs, by the way, is where my notebook was resting.


So here’s to the sun and sometimes actually knowing where the pain comes from! It’s helpful, but it still burns and leads to cancer.


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