Texas Torture

South East Texas, where there are four seasons: hot, hotter, hotter than hell and rain. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed with the lack of heat, please do not worry, chances are better than not tomorrow the temperatures will rise. The humidity is so thick you can cut out heart shapes with a butter knife in the dead of winter. I have decorated our Christmas tree in shorts and a tank top, all the while sweating enough to fill a lake. We have what we not so fondly call, heat rains. Yes, you heard me right – rain caused by heat. One would hope it would cool us down but it will not be of any help, instead the humidity will rise and the heat will envelope you completely. South East Texas, where we run our air-conditioner year round, seldom using the heater to get the chill out of our homes in the morning. You either love it, or you hate it – there is no in-between. I was oblivious to the Texas heat for the first thirty years of my life, roller skating on the seawall in Galveston, Texas year round while the sun worked hard at bleaching my hair and tanning my skin to a pleasant shade of acorn brown. And then it hit, damn it is hot!

I had never known what four seasons was really about until at the age of thirty-four I moved from Texas to Northern Virginia. How beautiful it is to have a cooling down period in the fall as the earth prepares for winter and again come spring, a warming from the snow-covered ground before the heat of summer makes herself known. But none of this has anything to do with my story – well, not really anyway.

We leave places for a reason, we go back to remind us of why and to see those people we love which we may have left behind. I go home once a year at this point, though when I first moved it was anywhere between two and six visits in a three-hundred-and-sixty-five day turn. I needed to be there, not because I loved South East Texas, but because I needed to remind myself of why I left and I needed to see my daughters. Time changes everything and I no longer have the need to be reminded of why I left, though I would like to see my youngest daughter a bit more often.

Ever since I left Texas I have had a rash pop up on my chest and neck about two weeks before I depart from Virginia. I have lovingly dubbed it, “My Texas Stress Rash”. I really was not too concerned, as I really did think it was only stress and according to the doctor, this is probably what started my original outbreaks. However, as time moved on other changes in my body started to occur and one of those changes was my reaction to the sun – of which there is plenty of each time I go home. In my moments of graceful aging I have become allergic to the sun. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited this change makes me. Did I write this clearly enough for you to feel the sarcasm dripping off of my words like ice-cream from a cone on a hot Texas day? This being said, when I went home in March of 2012 to visit my youngest daughter I was not too surprised when my face started to itch a little.

I had not yet been in Texas for twenty-four hours. I had yet to go out on our friends boat, or even in the sun for that matter. Imagine my surprise when my face began to itch, hives began to appear and wait, what is that? Swelling? My face began to swell, my lips, my eyes, my mouth began to tingle and my goodness, the itching was enough to drive me crazy. This all transpired very quickly and before I knew it I was in the emergency room being told I was now allergic to the pollen in the air. After a high dose of steroids via an injection and seven days worth of steroids to follow (which I failed to take at first thinking, “the rash is gone I must be okay so why ingest steroids I do not need”- that is until I ended up in the emergency room again, this time in the middle of the night) and daily doses of Benadryl for the rest of my stay, I have come to the conclusion I no longer need the excuse of all the emotional baggage I had left in my wake in Texas as a reason not to move back. I now have a physical reaction to my home state, the place I was born and raised – yes, I am officially, realistically allergic to Texas.

All of this being said, Texas really is beautiful if you visit the right areas. The bluebonnets in the spring time are amazing as they ripple in the wind of an open prairie and the sunsets on the lake can be quite breathtaking. Just be warned of the Texas Torture caused by a heat beyond compare twenty-four hours a day from spring until late fall and now, the pollen count being so high it is possible it will not matter if you were Texas Born and Bred or not.