Ever since I was tiny I always loved thunderstorms.  Growing up in the midwest we had HUGE thunderstorms.  The lightning would be so bright that the middle of the night would suddenly look like high noon and the thunder would crack so loud all the windows would rattle and you’d feel it in your bones.

That kind of volume is terrifying as a small human, but it was also thrilling.  I remember nights when we would gather on the sofa in the living room in front of the big picture window and watch the lightning storms like it was a tv show counting the seconds between the lighting flashes and the thunder.

When I got older I would stay outside as long as I could durning those afternoon summer storms.  Until the tornado sirens would start and my mom would yell for me to get in the house and get downstairs.   There was something so intoxicating about hearing the storm approaching.  Hearing the thunder from way off in the distance.  The low, slow rumbles echoing off buildings.  It was big – powerful.  Grand.  Momentous.

When I moved to California I was so disappointed to learn that we almost never have thunderstorms.  I’ve maybe heard thunder three times in the 17 years I’ve lived here – and even then it was pretty quiet.  Always at the “was that thunder?” level.  When I talk to my family back home they always say they think of me when they have big storms. Sigh.

I have missed the thunder.  The real thunder.   The  craaaack…… BOOOOOOOM thunder.

I realized it’s similar to the release I feel in my brain.  I have a tendency to get in my own creative way.  All the ideas come and stack up but none of them are complete.  And sometimes they depend on each other.  And sometimes they require large chunks of time for me to sit down and work them out and I don’t have that kind of time because I have too much on my plate.  And the pressure builds up and builds up like the energy in the air right before a thunderstorm.

Here’s my big “OH” moment – the reason I like being outside right before it storms is because it’s familiar to me.  The static in the air is identical to the static in my head. I’m at home there.

And I also know what’s coming next.

A bright flash of lighting – that’s the breaking point.  When the stress and anxiety builds to “call your therapist” levels and I can’t take anymore. I’m so in my head I can’t function and one-more-thing happens.  My cat breaks a jar of spaghetti sauce, or I get an important email that has to suddenly become top priority.  Or my mom calls.  Here we go…

—- BOOM —- there’s a huge release.  For me the boom is usually a big cry.  Involving me throwing my hands in the air and yelling “FUCK IT I DON’T CARE ANYMORE – AHHHHHHHHH”  I’ll announce to my cat that I’m quitting my job and anything to do with being me.  I’ll start forming a plan to pack up the car in the middle of the night and disappear into the desert and start dreaming up false names.  And then I fall asleep.

When I wake there is clarity.  All my ideas come pouring out.  Things don’t seem overwhelming anymore. The release is the same sensation of the clear sky after the storm has past.  Everything smells fresh.  The air relaxes.  Sure – there’s a tree on top of my car and the electricity is out, but hey – I FEEL better and that’s the important thing.



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