September 26, 2013

on sadness and its place.

Recently I heard from a reader who asked me about sadness, noting that I seemed to skip the negative here on my blog. She wondered whether I purposely kept things positive, and I said that I do. Truth is, I like to hold on to this as a lighter space, and I save the good, darker stuff for fiction. In any case, I thought I'd take a moment to share my thoughts on sadness and its place.
I hold on to sadness like I hold on to a new dress, waiting for the just-right day to wear it. I've always been a saver of new clothes, the sort of person who buys something and swears not to wear it until the perfect occasion comes up... only to finally debut it at the grocery store or some place equally unglamorous. In any case, I tuck new clothes toward the back of my closet and make a mental note to grab them when the time is right, when I'm eventually ready. And so it goes, I've realized, with sadness.

Melancholy has always felt comfortable to me. Nostalgia and melancholy, those I can do — those are the backbone of writing and music and so many of the things I love. But sadness in its truest, boldest sense? It's not something I easily wear. I tug and itch at it, then reach for something softer, something a bit more worn-in. I pick melancholy, usually, which tends to bleed into some shade of understanding if you sit with it long enough. Or write. Writing and music and running, those seem to help.

Scattered Sunday nights and the occasional rainy day. For whatever reason, those are the times that I normally decide to unfold the sadness I've been stashing away. And when I unroll it, I spread it out, letting it splay across my chest so that I can really feel its weight, its pressure. Then, for however many minutes or hours I need to, I wallow. I  wade and sink and sometimes drown in whatever it is that made me itch, because I've come to realize that I can't let those stacks of sadness pile up forever. At some point or another, it's necessary to pick up each piece, see it for what it is, and throw it away so that I can move on. 

This isn't to say that I always toss the bad stuff aside — hardly. There's room for pockets of sadness within each moment, I think, and if those spaces start to spill over, that's when it's time to bring them to light. That's when it's time to wallow, to call Mom, to curl up in bed and read a book or listen to rainy-day songs or just sit there feeling sorry for yourself. Every so often, that's okay. There's a time and a place for sadness, and I've found that eventually, when I come across the right occasion, I'll try it on. 


miriam said... [Reply to comment]

so true. my fav piece so far by you.

Sam | ashore said... [Reply to comment]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam | ashore said... [Reply to comment]

There's this post from a tumblr called HannahMight that I've been thinking about a lot lately. Parts of it I agree with, parts of it I don't (sometimes in a sort of self defensive way, because it makes me feel called out.) But there is this part that strikes me in the very truest way...

"I don’t want to know about the times you’ve cried on the subway after bad dates or stressful days. I don’t want to know about public crying at all. Tell me about the private crying, and I mean the really, really secret crying. Tell me about the times you’ve Annette Benning-in-American-Beautied your way through parties and work days and entire months. Tell me about the times you’ve wiped your eyes and gritted your teeth right before we were going to hang out because we were going to have FUN."

I'm an emotional person, you know this. It's something that I used to find kind of shameful but I guess I got used to crying to public. And then writing about crying in public. And, somewhere along the line, I grew to love that about myself. The "heart on my sleeve" kind of sensitivity.

But, really in just the last year or so I've gotten to the kind of sadness that I will "unfold and spread out." It feels dark, and heavy, and like something stashed away. Just like you explained.

meg fee said... [Reply to comment]

You had me at the first sentence.

One of my favorite things that Cheryl Strayed has ever said (dear Sugar) is that things once resolved often have be resolved again. And again. And again.

Sadness, emotion of any sort, really isn't linear. We can take it out, put it back, throw it away, but sometimes it's like a boyfriend's old socks that you know you've thrown away time and time again and it's been months, years even since you've seen him, so how do they keep showing up? But they do.

I'm always aware that the sadness I feel in this lifetime isn't always my sadness. Its sadness from older lives, not my own, but I've been charged with the task of watching over it in this life. A guardianship. And I feel good about that.

Sometimes the sadness is unbearable. But sometimes it's incredibly good and healing and dare I say, sweet even.

You're a marvel. I'm so lucky to call you my friend.

Laura Marie Meyers said... [Reply to comment]

@Sam | ashore Quite possibly the best line about sadness, ever?! "the times you’ve Annette Benning-in-American-Beautied your way through parties"

Cassie said... [Reply to comment]

LOVE this. and maybe you too - even though we may never meet.

And you know what? That kind of makes me sad.

Loretta D'Urso said... [Reply to comment]

Perfectly captured.
Beautiful words :)

Loretta xx

jessiecappello said... [Reply to comment]

Just now stumbling upon your blog - thanks to Meg. This is incredible and so true.

Laura Marie Meyers said... [Reply to comment]

@jessiecappello Thank you! :)