“Not My Friend”–Norah Jones
Help me breathe,
Help me believe,
You seem really glad that I am sad.
You are not my friend,
I cannot pretend that you are.
April is not my friend.
It seems that no sooner do the bells ring in the new year than my stress level begins to increase. Even when I’m not consciously thinking about it, my anxiety rises incrementally day by day as the calendar creeps closer to April.
It’s not just the fact that, historically, April has been unkind to our nation. Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. were both assassinated in April. Tragedies at Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, and Virginia Tech all occurred in April. Last year, the bombing of the Boston Marathon joined the list of this nation’s April heartaches. All of that is reason enough to make any American dread the first full month of spring.
But April has also been especially cruel to my family. I lost three of my four biological grandparents in April. My dad and his younger brother both died in April. My beloved kitty had to be euthanized two Aprils ago. The days of loss and sadness on my calendar far outnumber the days of joy.
I’m tired of letting April cast its dark shadow over my life. Instead of sitting around this year waiting for the other shoe to drop, I’ve decided to take proactive steps to put some light back into the next 30 days, to create some happy moments that will crowd out sad memories.
April also happens to be the month of the A to Z Challenge, brainchild of Arlee Bird. The idea is that participating bloggers will publish one post each day (except Sundays) during April, with each entry corresponding to a given letter of the alphabet. In other words, the blogger’s post will somehow be tied to the letter A on April 1, will revolve around the letter B on April 2, and so on, right through to the letter Z on April 30. Bloggers are free to interpret this challenge any way they choose, so photographers, travelogue-ers, memoir writers, fiction authors, poets, and recipe junkies alike can participate. Last year, I had a regular weekly schedule of postings that I followed throughout most of the year, so I just tailored my A to Z Challenge entries to fit.
This year, I’ve decided on a unifying theme for the A to Z Challenge, a theme that will hopefully help to loosen the chokehold April has on my emotions. I will spend the month committing random acts of kindness, 26 of them, one for each letter of the alphabet. I don’t claim that every act will be my own unique invention–I’ve found a lot of great ideas out there that I plan to borrow. I will log each RAoK here, and hope that doing for others will boost my mood as much as theirs. Ultimately, I hope to make this April something to smile about.
I also hope that everyone who is inspired by my posts to commit their own random acts of kindness this month will share their experiences in the comments. Maybe a plague of kindness will infect the nation and we can drive out whatever madness has repeatedly made April such a tragic month in American history.