when I'm stuck with a day that's gray and gloomy
I'm not gonna lie. I've been kind of blue.
Not that you care. Not that anyone cares. Not that you should. My blues are the trivial stupid kind. The mostly self-invented kind. The I am going to die alone in a rickety old house abandoned and forgotten by even my 20 cats kind of blue. Ok, you have a point - more like the die alone in a rickety old house an abandoned skeleton after my 20 cats make a meal of me.
Admittedly my blues are kind of periwinkle in color. Especially compared to very sad and painful news happening to people I know and care about all around me. But I would say that they do not have the blues. They have actual pain and loss and grief and tragedy on their hands. Stuff that is several orders of magnitude beyond the blues.
And if you are going to tell me that I am being a moronic spoiled overly sensitive petty bourgeois fool I advise you to stop reading and take that superior mentally healthy shit back to your own damn blog and leave me alone. Right now. Here at Things to Do I am the only one who will be belittling my own feelings today.
Yeah. Kind of blue. Riding that downward spiral. Floating back up a little, sinking down and bobbing about.
This kind of blue is where I take time to sit under my desk and wallow. Where I want very much to mope and I spend a lot of time holding my head in my hands. And in the midst of this I realize that, in fact, I have grown a little. The people around me can't know how far I've come. This is not as blue or as bad as I have been in the past but I have not grown nearly as much as I thought I had. Which is a little disheartening.
Still I have gotten to work on time and gotten through the day mostly with my game face on. It slips sometimes but it's serviceable. The goal is to be functional and to not spread my gloom and misery like some kind of communicable disease - to hold myself back from raining on the parades of others even though misery does like a little company.
I wake in the morning and have almost entire songs written that I promptly forget on hitting the snooze bar. I am left with the afterglow of a rhyme scheme.
And in the midst of it I do have a conflicting and competing desire to not be mope-y
In an effort to get into a better mood you can exaggerate your misery to epic proportions to your friends complete with scenarios of high ridiculousness.
You can call friends that have problems bigger than yours and offer a sympathetic shoulder.
You can call friends that you know will not be sympathetic and force yourself to discuss other things with them.
You can write emails to everyone you know that you never send.
You can write blog entries that you never post.
You can write journal entries that get erased or will remain forever private.
You can face, accept, and embrace the utter ridiculousness of you, the reality of your true self in comparison to that cherished idealized version that you wish you were. Warts and all.
You can take yourself for a walk.
You can take yourself out to lunch.
You can walk into a room where they are playing a song you really like:
"Girl put your records on, play me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down.
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dream
You go ahead, let your hair down.
You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow"
-Corinne Baily Rae
You can wear a shirt that makes you feel skinny and busty, maybe even a little pretty.
You can wear shoes that make your strides feel longer and listen to the songs that make you feel stronger.
You can plan to get your haircut.
You can go to a lecture series and hear Alice Walker and Gloria Steinem and Wilma Mankiller rap about life. Inspirational women who have done some really unusual and extraordinary things with their lives.
You can allow your friends to take you to a gay bar where they play nothing but broadway showtunes and project the scenes onto big screen TV's.
You can get really drunk and belt out epically extreme and emotionally overblown totally out of proportion to real life cheesy songs like they are "the sound of your soul" complete with diva arm gestures and elaborate dance routines and ask yourself why in the hell you haven't seen "Wicked" yet? (But only if you are the sort who likes Showtunes.) While the gay man in your group, your cruise director for the evening, warns the other bar goers that despite what they might think, you are not a tranny, that you are a real live woman, like, with a vagina.
You can show up to work the next day more than a little sick.
Just sitting here bitching and moaning about this to you, I feel my blues drying up a bit more. I know that it is like the passing of a storm. And only a matter of time.
But to the matter of those I know in actually pain. I don't know why but I am recalling a poem by Louise Gluck. Make that Two Poems.
The Wild Iris
At the end of my suffering
there was a door.
Hear me out: that which you call death
Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.
It is terrible to survive
buried in the dark earth.
then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.
you who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:
from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.
Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you
I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring-
afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy
in the raw wind of the new world.
LJL tells me that I am too hard on myself. Perhaps that is true. It does occur to me that my periwinkle blues might be fed by internal demons.
I agree with Alice Walker that it's okay to sit with your pain or your sadness. In fact, it's probably a good idea to do a little bit of sitting.
That being said - the key is to sit with your sadness and not beat yourself up about it to feel worse. Be where you are don't spiral yourself down further and further.
I am sorry that you suffer. It is horrible. It is not fair. It is wrong. There are no words.
In this time, be kind to yourself. It is terrible to suffer as consciousness buried underground. But you and I both know (small comfort though it might be) that at the end of your suffering, there is a door.