Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dark clouds

It's funny how emotions slow you down. I live so much of every day without them. I mean, maybe I get frustrated, excited, intrigued, or perplexed, but the big guys don't show up. Pain, despair, terror, hope, joy, elation, grief, heartache. They stay where they are supposed to stay to cause the least amount of trouble. And I manage them well, for the most part. I am a good emotional manager. I broke down once at work after my dog died and couldn't stop crying and had to be revealed to those around me. It wasn't a bad lesson though, I work with amazing people.

But yesterday and today have been difficult sad days at home. I've been in self-mutilation mode and it's just a bad place to be in. I don't cry, I wish I would sometimes. I just pick myself apart piece by piece until shreds of me lay all over the carpet, pavement and gravel road. And on breaks from that, I am just quiet. Like some un-thought waits behind my lips, but I cannot think it or say it or feel it. It just sits there. And I can feel the line of my mouth holding back the nothing. And I feel guilty about that, but not enough to break it. Not yet.

Last night, I stood at the window for long minutes and I noticed dark clouds against the dusk sky. They moved quickly, relentlessly, blackly, pointedly across my path of vision. And I thought, they have their purpose. But, the sky is bigger, and they know it as they travel across. The menace of their existence is put into perspective by the sky above, below, behind and in front of them. They were like small fuzzy grey soldiers marching quickly to their destination. And even as I saw them clearly, I was also comforted by what surrounded them...the sky that I know every day and all day long, every night and morning.

I'm trying to see through the dark spots right now. Looking for the sky, and I'm close to finding it. I think.

It seems treacherous to say this, almost as though I'd go through the past so many hours again and I would rather not. But, when I visited Auschwitz (definitely no comparison to where I am now) I almost felt honored by the emotion it caused me. I sobbed there, and I've never sobbed in my life. But, it felt amazing to feel something so completely, so strongly and unfalteringly. When the real emotions hit you, the big guys, you are knocked into submission by them. You can't just walk around like everything is alright for a little while. And however inconvenient that may be in the interim, I have to conclude that it's amazing sometimes to feel anything at all. Even when it hurts real bad.


Michael said...

Treacherous. Very interesting word choice. Like you're betraying yourself.

I have often suspected that, since my friend Josh died when I was 15, I have held on to elements of melancholy out of self preservation. They've worked marvellously, in certain ways-of course, it is much easier for men to be withdrawn socially, and it certainly helped when I needed to impress a girl about how deep a thinker I was.

My melancholy is so profound I'm not exactly sure who I would be without it.

My wife has a similar problem with self loathing-it colors nearly every element of her personality. She is wickedly funny, but nearly always in a self deprecating, Rodney Dangerfieldesque manner. Like me, I'm not totally sure who she would be without it.

Being in the field that I am, I have considered psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment. The main stopping blocks are twofold-on some level, I am terrified to start the process because, like drinking alcohol, I am terrified of where, or whether, it would stop. And I think I would miss the darkness.

As much suffering as it entails, the melancholy makes me whole. It makes me feel. It makes me miserable, but also a better, more tolerant and sensitive person who can support gay marriage without being, technically, gay and ache for Darfur without being a Darfurian. And without the depths of doubts about the future, personally and professionally and nationally, would I still be able to share Simon's joy when he reaches out and knocks a pile of blocks down?

I don't know.

k said...

I love the people that are "wickedly funny". Sadly, I am more of a combination of you and your wife. I act out of it well, but am fairly melancholy. I take myself and all the errors of me way too seriously and am not quick witted enough to make it funny (while it hurts). I always envy those girls, but I just can't pull it off. Occasionally I can be dreadfully sarcastic, but I usually don't like myself very much that way.

As always you have drawn a clear line in the sand for me. I don't think I would be someone else. I would love to be no one. But to just change souls doesn't intrigue me that much in the long term. I'd have to re-learn too many lessons. Thanks for being out there and wisely so.

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

You guys are way deep........I just dont' have the energy for it....where do you get the energy for it. I am a very trivial poster.

These word verifications are becoming increasingly more difficult......I have a headache.

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

In fact, I have tons of trivial stuff to post and I don't have the energy to do that. My posting is getting farther and farther apart. I am losing my spunk.

k said...

Dear O, Please stop losing your spunk! It's so lovely about you. Maybe you have to go on a spunk journey - eat cake in various establishments, talk herbs with a herb guru, get in touch with your Williams-Sonoma inner god, dance with some cayennes, shimmy like a tequila froth on bean dip. I know it's in there, just do it! We want the Spunk!

fashionaddict said...

I was very intrigued by this "I have to conclude that it's amazing sometimes to feel anything at all. Even when it hurts real bad."

I find that such waves of emotion paralyse me and I am unable to act until it passes. After that, it feels like it never happened at all. I have yet to decide (even tentatively), if this is a good or bad thing.