March 28, 2014

On Sadness and Its Place





There's a friend who asked me about sadness, noticing that I seem to skip the negative here on my blog nowadays. She wondered whether I purposely kept things positive, and I said, yes 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 holding 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 some place. In any case, I tuck new clothes toward the back of my closet and make a mental note to grab them when the time's 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 the things I love. But sadness? 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. 

Scattered weekends and occasional rainy day. 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 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. 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 someone, 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.


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