Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Good Times are Killing Me

I did a bit of spring cleaning this summer, not literal cleaning (my room is like an eternal Kandinsky painting), but a sort of soul-sprucing.  

This time last year I was miserable, and I thought that there was something glamorous about that. I would sit in class and scan the room and the people in the room and think about how silly they were and how stupid their smiles looked. I would ignore the professor and prune my own cynicism. I got very good at being sad. In fact, I'd call myself an expert wallower, and I was quite chuffed about my dark blue performance. Eventually, though, the exciting secret and shimmer of gloom wears off. It becomes a real and heavy thing, for "when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you." 

You are allowed to be sad, and you should be sometimes. You should cry really hard and you should listen to that song 25 times. You should lock the door and you should eat the whole thing. You should act very badly and you will still be loved very much when you're done, you will  but you must be done, soon. 

Sad songs and sad movies and sad poems are often entirely lovely; lots of my favorite things are honestly, irreparably dark. Some of the best creations chew me up and spit me out and when I'm finished hearing or watching or reading them I feel like I've been turned inside out. That feeling is important; that beat-up, thousand-pound, wind-knocked-out feeling is part of being human. That feeling ought to stop and start, though, not stick to you. I know the songs and the movies and the poems are endless, but they all have their own self-contained end, just like every kind of sorrow.

This summer I finally realized that there is nothing clever about being unhappy all the time. Your sadness does not make you superior, it makes you sad. I don't want to be sad anymore. I do not want to be an unsolvable problem. I want to understand and be understood. I do not want to be silent, I want to tell you everything. I want to feel every kind of joy and give every kind of love. 

You've got to let things change you. Be impressed, and stirred, and all shook up. Let happy things affect you, let them affect you more than the sad things. Be soft and brave. Life is too damn sad on its own. Life is too quick and too cruel, to ignore all the amazing parts – and there are amazing parts. There are amazing conversations to remember and amazing hot baths to sink in. There are amazing drives to get woozy during and amazing hands to get sweaty holding. There are amazing beginnings and amazing ends to watch with glittering eyes. There is a whole life to take in; be glad to take it. There are shocking, splendid, fleeting, hilarious, and remarkable things and I intend to face them. You're dying and I'm dying too, and I want the good and the bad; but I want the good to be what kills me.