The thing is, I’ve realised pretty recently that I’m not annoyed at this and that or frustrated with how things turned out or regretful over those wiggly mistakes back there. I’m just, like, y’know, sad. Which is weird. Really weird, to be honest. It’s weird because for all the time I’ve spent thinking about why I’m unhappy and writing about why I’m unhappy and pointing at the things that were making me unhappy, I never stopped to really, properly understand that I’m unhappy. Just plain old boring generally gloopy unhappy. And it felt really odd to acknowledge it. It almost felt good. I could stop being angry at the things I was making up to be angry about. I could stop being frustrated when nothing I was doing was making me feel light and fluffy, like the bunny I vaguely remember being once upon a time. I could stop being regretful because those mistakes suddenly were actually mistakes, and although that didn’t stop them from having happened it did mean I could maybe learn from them. I was sad, and I was looking for things to blame it on, ways to fix it, and I did stupid things in service of that, stupid things I can stop doing now because hey, I’m sad, that’s all.
And then I started saying it. Not loads, just once or twice here and there. “Did you like that film?” my friend would ask, eagerly awaiting an insufferable and endless debate over the intricacies of intention verses response in cinema.
“Yeah” I’d reply. “I’m sad.”
Which again felt kind of good. To just, say it. Or admit it, I suppose, because it’s the sort of thing I hate saying, for fear my gentle glumness is somehow stomping over everyone else’s real problems. Something strange happened when I admitted it, as well. That something being very little. People seemed to register it, just about, but only for a second or two. Then they just, moved on. Which should hurt, and occasionally did, but mostly just felt quite freeing. It was a secret I didn’t know I was keeping, and it was a surprisingly heavy one. It all feels so much more focussed now it’s out in the open where I can see it.
Being secretly sad is like being inside a burning building while trying to put it out, only without the tissue burns and risk of non-metaphorical suffocation. You can’t tell where the problems start and where they end, if focusing on the area in front of you is the best plan or just as stupid as the last idea you tried. Perspective is missing, and without perspective it’s almost impossible to stop the fire spreading faster than you can put it out. Nothing I did before I properly acknowledged I was sad seemed to help for more than an hour or so and I think that’s in large part because I was opening wounds in my desperation to be fluffy and bright again, and I’m not a surgeon so I shouldn’t be opening wounds, and also there’s still a metaphorical fire going on in the metaphorical surgery and the metaphorical on-fire surgery isn’t full of doctors but morons and also there’s a tidal wave in there somewhere, dragging me beneath the water (but not putting out the fire, because of timey wimey stuff). The point is, it’s confusing.
Letting myself realise that hey, I’m actually a bit generally sad, though, has allowed me to cut away a lot of the superfluous emotions and in doing so feel a touch better. It’s let me forgive myself for not enjoying so many of the things I really should be enjoying and for struggling to smile even when pretty awesome stuffs going on. Saying I’m sad has made me feel less like I don’t have any right to feel this way, less like I’m being selfish and whiney up here inside this head of mine, because the words don’t actually feel like poison in my mouth. I always thought they would, tainted with guilt and doubt and whatever truth is in them too. But they don’t. They feel pretty normal to say.
Which is good. Noticing that it’s been an actual problem in my life for a while is good. Saying it out loud is good. And I’m even going to fight every urge I have to put a disclaimer somewhere in this explaining how it’s just a lot of stupid whining about nothing, which it kind of is. I’m not even going to explain that I understand loads of people struggle with things much worse than genial discontentment. I’m not going to mention how I suspect things like this, where privileged, lucky people complain about their privileged, lucky lives, must be incredible irritating to read (for literally everyone). I’m not even going to talk about any of that, because that doesn’t change the truth, and the truth is I’m a little bit sad, have not much else to write about, and am too lazy to delete this whole thing and start again. So, hear me roar, meekly, mostly to myself.
And here’s a good song: [String Break Song]