Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 30: Give in to Sadness, Maggie Nelson, "Rite of Decadence"

90.  Last night I wept in a way I haven't wept for some time.  I wept until I aged myself.  I watched it happen in the mirror.  I watched the lines arrive around my eyes like engraved sunbursts; it was like watching flowers open in time-lapse on a windowsill.  The tears not only aged my face, they also changed its texture, turned the skin of my cheeks into putty.  I recognized this as a rite of decadence, but I did not know how to stop it.
                         --from Bluets by Maggie Nelson

It's really easy to give in to sadness.  I don't want to use the word "wallow" because that term, to me, is pejorative.  If I wallow in sadness, that means that I'm somehow enjoying it.  That I'm getting something out of it.  That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about being in a difficult situation, and simply allowing yourself to be consumed by sadness.  Not fighting it in any way, or not being able to fight it.  That's the difference.  I suppose, if I were being clinical, I could use the term "depression."  I have suffered through depressions, where simply getting a glass of water seems like an expedition to the North Pole. 

Of course, there are treatments for this kind of sadness.  Medications.  Therapies.  Self-help books.  I've tried many of them myself, to varying levels of success.  I've been lucky these last few years.  I haven't had to battle this particular blue monster.

However, I find myself tonight giving in--a little--to sadness.  My father is supposed to be coming home this weekend.  I'm not sure what home he's returning to.  My sisters are working on nursing home placement.  That's one blue aspect of my life.

Another blue aspect is my usual autumn funk.  The fall semester has begun.  Tonight, I'm teaching a night class for three hours.  It has been raining all day, a swathe of Hurricane Harvey precipitation sweeping into the Upper Peninsula.  It doesn't look like it's going to stop any time soon.

I wish that I could just choose to be happy.  That's doesn't work for me.  I'm drowning.  Going down for the second or third time.  I know my life cold be worse.  I could live in Texas and be dealing with flood waters.  That doesn't, however, diminish my current emotional state, no matter how hard I try to convince myself how good my life really is.

Saint Marty is struggling to find something to be thankful for tonight.  He does have a pretty good brownie to eat after dinner.

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