I get sad often. Have done since I was a kid. It can just creep up and over me, take me by the throat and dangle there. Then, once embedded, it will drag up big, raw feeling from deep within. In gushes. I’m powerless once it’s upon me. I cry. A McDonald’s commercial can see me cry for an hour.
My Mum said I was born with over-active tear ducts. My ex used to call me (fondly), a “sad sack of shit”. He’d watch the cloak of sadness inch up and shake his head. Here we go.
I got sad this weekend, which is why I’m writing this today. Sad for the lonely people. Sad for the pain the human experience can endure. I was watching the news and my sadness had me 100% attuned to people’s faces. The loneliness was palpable.
Sad is different to depressed. Depression is an old woolly cardigan I wear, too. But sad, unlike the fug of depression, is deep and alive and poignant. It dances on the knife-edge of humanity. It swoops us down deep and enables us to see things we don’t see on the surface. It connects us to the underlying hum of pain that unites us all. Life is pain. If we didn’t access pain, we wouldn’t be driven to move forward.
I used to run from my sadness. But now I really quite like it. I sit in it and take a look around. I take advantage of the openness it affords me. I’ll sit on my couch and listen to sad-sack music and cry. Then it lifts.
My brand of sad these days opens floodgates and doors. Sad isn’t a sink-hole, it’s an opening in the facade that we can dive down into. Down there is authenticity, I find.
(PS If you’re after some download suggestions, may I proffer: Martha Wainright, Gillian Welch, The Editors, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Bon Iver and The National.)
This is a gorgeous post that I flagged on instapaper a few months back. Jane at Ill Seen, Ill Said shares about feeling sad.
In our perpetually sunshiny corner of the blogosphere, it’s easy to think that nobody suffers from stress or despair or anxiety. I love that we all focus on things that we have positive feelings about, rather than negative venting. But sometimes it can create a false impression that we all live amazing, fulfilled lives.
Lately, I’ve felt very hopeless. That I’m far behind everybody else for my age. That there’s no trajectory to what I’m doing right now. That all work and no play is making Jane a dull girl. I’ve even stopped having those escape fantasies that I always used to have and swapped them with “maybe this is as good as it gets” thoughts.
….I’m starting to give up a little bit in my own heart. And I’m so very, very tired.
I also kept this link about the health benefits of tears…they flush out stress toxins, for starters. Good to know.
How are you with your sadness? Is it special to you?
PS: No, I’m not premenstrual this morning. I can read all your minds out there!!
PPS: as a soundtrack to this post, you might like to listen to The National’s soulful “Sorrow”. Just click here.
Sorrow found me when I was young…)