Many months ago, as the summer melted into a new semester I decided to embrace positivity. I was going to sink into the kind of lifestyle I’d always mocked. I was going to believe those insipid inspirational platitudes you find painted on plaques in the home decor section of craft fairs. I would Breathe and Be Happy and Live Life . I would not be sad. I would not be overwhelmed. I would not let the heaviness settle in my ribcaging. I would feel the beauty of each moment, I would be grateful for the day, I would bask in the glory of being alive.
It lasted for the first few weeks of the semester. Then I was sad. I was overwhelmed. My ribs felt like they were cracking from the swelling stone stuck in my torso.
I’m happy most of the time. But when I’m sad… I don’t like to talk about sadness here. Life is hard for all of us, and you don’t want to feel my sadness on top of your own. Also, once a million years ago, I wrote a sad blog and my sister more or less told my mom I was suicidal (I wasn’t, I like being alive even when I’m very very sad) and it was such a disastrous to-do that I try to avoid talking about anything too personal. But I miss being here, talking to you. You all have such beautiful and insightful thoughts. So maybe I need to talk through the sad and we can get back to writing creatively and tackling social justice issues.
Last week, I had to go to school in the evening to watch Adaptation for a class. I was eleven the only other time I’d seen that film. My dad made me watch adult films with him when I was young. I mean, not like adult adult films, though there was always too much sex for a kid to be seeing. Like, I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show when I was five. This is all another matter entirely. Anyway, I was already feeling sad because I didn’t want to watch this movie that I just knew I wasn’t going to enjoy due to all these negative associations.
It was also my Mom’s birthday, and I was indulging in some loneliness. My roommate was out of town for her mom’s birthday (our mom’s also have the same name… serendipity or coincidence?) and I felt guilty for not being with my mom. I had a lot of What the f–k am I doing in Colorado? feelings. It doesn’t help that almost every time I talk to my mom she cries and asks me to move home, or closer to home. (You could live in Vermont! New Hampshire is nice! Have you considered Connecticut?) A few minutes before I was supposed to leave for that stupid movie, I started crying, which is an activity I very rarely participate in. I wasn’t just sniffling I was seriously crying. I was sitting alone on the floor while my roommate’s dogs gave me horrified glances. I’d taken my contacts out earlier in the day, and I cried so hard my glasses turned into a blurry watery mess. It was unexpected and weird and utterly hilarious. I mean, really. Laughing at myself is one of my best skills. I was sitting on the floor, crying, laughing and squinting out of my dripping lenses thinking, “Who are you, Lydia? What are doing right now?”
I’m doing my sad phase right now. At this point in the semester (you may remember a similar post about this time last fall) I have my sad phase. I have a lot of stress. I’m financially independent, and while that sometimes feels great it mostly just feels stressful. I have a hard time not being jealous of my friends who have families to support them. My friends who don’t have jobs, don’t pay their own rent… I’m happy they don’t have to feel stress about bank accounts, but I feel…I’m not even sure what I feel. It’s hard not to fall into a dramatic why me cycle. Why did I have to have the crazy dad and the confused childhood that left me alone and set up all this present stress? I feel like I’m drowning in an ocean of inane homework assignments and two jobs and trying to maintain some semblance of social relationships.
I feel all these things, and immediately feel guilty for feeling my feelings. How can I possibly complain about living such a privileged life? A lot of stress right now is coming from graduate school prospects (do I stay? do I move?) which feels even more narcissistic and ludicrous. Am I really going to complain about having so many choices in pursuing higher-higher ed? I have this sadness and stress which spurs guilt and creates more sadness. Are my feelings legitimate or provincial? Is asking that legitimate or provincial?
I don’t have many answers. I know that sometimes it’s hard to be happy. I know that I don’t have much of a right to sadness, and that I really shouldn’t feel sad. But I feel it anyway. Not all the time. Right now, though. Blergh. I don’t even want to post this, because I can’t stand those looks that say “I read your blog and I know you’re a little crazy and I feel bad for you.” I’m not crazy and I’m not living in some pit of woe and despair. I’m just trying to juggle a lot of things, and my balance isn’t the best at the moment. I think I’d like a hug. I think that maybe I could balance things better if I didn’t have it in my head that I have to do everything alone.
Wow. So. How’s that for a self-serving and sickeningly dramatic blog post?