To put it frankly and in my signature vernacular: things are fucked.

Around this mark in the calendar each year I tend to fall into a depression sink hole, even in this best of years, and this is far from the best of years. I don’t know if it is the transition from hated summer into welcomed fall or some repressed trauma milestone, yet it arrives as regularly as the seasons themselves. The bald patches where my hair has abandoned my head for the first time since I was 17 testifies to what is being internalized below my scalp. I definitely find myself in brief moments rapt in the siren song that 2020 is the end of the world.

However, I do (logically) know better. Despite how good the memes are, there is nothing supernatural or maybe ultimately even that exceptional about the year 2020. This is not the world’s first novel virus or pandemic. Climate change didn’t start in 2020. Governments aren’t suddenly corrupt. Racial injustice didn’t begin when cellphones captured it and social media made it go viral. The well of human atrocities is deep and chronologically expansive. And I doubt when humans decide to start saying “2021”, the world and all its events (or the consequences for our own stupidity and selfishness) will decide to yield.

Though, illusory correlation or not, it does feel like 2020 is a convergence of many of these things, a culmination of numerous building unsavory aspects of our reality. And personally, the macro level has been paired with upheaval and chaos at the micro level. The last time my faith in the world and humanity was uprooted, it was in global ideas. Yet I could still take solace in my personal life, the little things I could touch. This time, no perspective or granularity of experience seems safe.

Things could always be worse and may still yet be… but they just were better too. However, this post is not intended to be about the current state of the world (could be a novel that I may write one day) or my life. Rather, this post is supposed to be about decidedly the opposite, about giving myself permission to turn away from those fixations briefly… for my month: October.

Anyone who knows me or follows me is aware that beyond being a horror author, I am an authentic horror genre and Halloween enthusiast. To suit my extreme/fixative personality, I go all in for holiday and surrounding month of October. (Let’s be real: the entire season, if not year round.)

It may seem flippant (and it definitely is) in times like these to indulge in books and movies and a holiday. However, these social media accounts are dedicated to my horror writing and the simple love of the genre. And I, for one, need the distraction. I need the simplicity. I haven’t stopped caring or worrying about all the more significant or more catastrophic elements around me, but I need to balance that with some irreverent fun. Otherwise, why bother?

While it may seem odd to watch zombie apocalypse movies during a global pandemic or while it may seem stupid to be excited over pumpkin spice and orange decorations while the western part of the country is on fire, my constant devout attention will not solve any of those problems. It will, however, cripple my mental health and cause my hair to fall out by the handful. It was always silly to wear a Halloween shirt every day and watch a horror movie for bingo every night. This year, it just seems ridiculous. Yet I am electing to give myself a little grace to be odd and stupid and find some damn joy somewhere, where I have always found it since childhood.

In my struggle to cope with all the things, I am attempting to come back to my own mantra, the mantra that was born out of the last time I dealt with these feelings. Life is largely shit and can end at any moment, so I need to suck any ounce of joy I can from any given moment. I need to pair this with the sentiment of controlling only what I can control. I may be able to take actions to help these macro problems, but I cannot control them. Some days, I may need to resign to work and worry at the micro level.

It is a luxury to be flippant and to capitalize on enjoyment when possible, so I am going to attempt to luxuriate a little bit. In short, it really is a shit show all around us. I am aware and have not forgotten. But for this month, it is still going to be horror movies and Hallowear and all the spooky traditions!

If nothing else, the pandemic has slowed me down, forced me to be “in” much more than I am accustomed. Historically, in October, I went all the places and did all the things and skidded into November a shell of a person. That is not an option this year.

This year will be about quality versus quantity. I will only be able to do a small subset of my normal activities and celebrations, but I intend to do them fully. Telluride Horror Show will be virtual; no haunted houses; no trick-or-treating; tiny cohort Halloween party. I intend to adapt to experience or create them in new ways. Rather than contorting and trying to shove normalcy into an abnormal situation, I am going to find a new realizations for these circumstances.

But whatever I do, I will be going all in.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Comments
  1. No matter who you are this is a positively exhausting year after the house of mirrors roller coaster ride of the preceding three. Congratulate yourself on sane survival at this point. As for the hair… If you take antacids… there’s your culprit. Consider adding biotin for battle reinforcements. Meanwhile, Horror is as good an escape as any. And as we all know, anything with pumpkins is just better… 🙂

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  2. sumarimike says:

    Love it! Enjoy the adapted Hallowed season as best you can. One of the things that’s kept me sane this year is the realization I am not one thing. That lets me care and be concerned, yet also be free to look for enjoyable things when I can. We are many things, not one polarized view created by those who wish to influence us.

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  3. I hear you, and your signature vernacular is on point! 🙂 Seriously, you touch on so many things I agree with. I find this, “my constant devout attention will not solve any of those problems” a good reminder to give ourselves permission to let go of things we can’t control and live a little, regardless of these challenging times. So,cheers to October and may you enjoy all the season brings!

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