This could be a post that I have been trying to write for years, and never quite accomplished. I still don’t know exactly what I am going to say, and how I am going to say it, but at least I’m trying and that’s something.
For lack of a better beginning, I turn to Meredith Grey:
“Maybe we like the pain. Maybe we’re wired that way. Because without it, I don’t know; maybe we just wouldn’t feel real. What’s that saying? Why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.”
I have turned to this quote many times over the years since I first heard it, always using it as an explanation for something I have never been able to (articulately) explain. It is my firm belief that most people are, in the nicest most loving way possible, sheep. They blindly follow each other through the day, do their respective jobs, go home and eat dinner, possibly say a kind word or two to their loved ones and go to bed. Wash, rinse, repeat. Over the years, this has been my highest frustration, because I can’t blindly do anything, much less what is considered “normal”. I have too much emotion, too much passion, too much of too much floating around in my head all the time. It’s impossible for me to be blind to anything, as much as I’d like to sometimes. Do I like pain? Do I like anxiety? No I do not, but for better or worse, it reminds me that I’m not blind and am very much alive. That’s worth something to me.
Like most teenage girls, I went through the ‘depressed’ phase. I cringe as I write that, because admitting that is like admitting to breathing. We’ve all been there, as children with too many hormones, too many opinions, too many chips on our shoulders. We’re told that it will pass, we’re sometimes smiled at with those ‘knowing’ smiles that only adults can give the younger generation, and our feelings are basically dismissed. In a lot of situations, this depression is a result of growing and attempting to mature, and I am okay with passing on those knowing smiles. Because while I believe there is significant depression in people that needs (and deserves to be) addressed, I also believe there are a lot of people out there who use it as an excuse to be moody and emotional. Those same people who refuse to see the light, who decline invites for the sake of declining, are the people who give depression its taboo name.
Over the years, I have struggled with admitting this to myself. It was easy when I was seventeen and emotional, because it made me “different”, and isn’t that something all teenagers want to be deep down? They want to be special and different, and they are always finding ways to accomplish this. I was no different in this regard, but at the time, I did not see an end in sight and I desperately wanted one. So I let myself fall into my head more and more, finding comfort there, seeking answers to questions I couldn’t really formulate. I have never been someone who “self injured” (regardless of what you think the above quote means) or did drugs to escape my head, but I have wanted to die countless times. I obviously never succeeded in my ‘wants’, and looking back I realize how insane I was to wish for something so final. If I could trace depression in myself, it might have started there, but looking back I know that’s untrue. I have always been inside my head, finding myself better company, writing stories and coming up with millions of ideas. I would rather hang out alone any day, and it took me a long time to realize that it’s okay to enjoy the company of others. Not everyone can be an asshole.
In the past few months, this reflection has grown stronger and stronger. I am not a teenager anymore, and I am not ruled by my emotions, as passionate as I might be. I have a choice every day, to be an asshole who carries a chip on her shoulder, or to be a genuine and nice person. I always try to choose the latter of the two, but that’s not to say I don’t still feel those “feelings” that ruled me when I was younger. They tug at me, threaten to pull me under the waves, and are always sitting there in the back of my chest waiting for the chance to grow. It’s a constant in my life, and no amount of love, support, laughter, cat videos, Dave Matthews, or blogging will make it subside. The only “cure” I have ever found is to “just keep swimming”. My saving grace in all of this is the knowledge that I can constantly keep moving and seeking, and there will always be something new to discover. In places, in people, in jobs, in seasons, everything is always changing and knowing that has always made me feel such bliss. When that wash, rinse, repeat feeling gets to be too much, I remind myself that I don’t have to wash a damn thing if I don’t feel like it.
Let it stay dirty for another day or two. To me, that’s living.
(I am not really sure how to end this, and I don’t even know if ending it is what I should do right now. But I’d like to thank TheBloggess for being my best blogging secret, and for giving me some courage to write this. Also to Monica, for being her wonderful self.)
Yeah, the Bloggess’s last post, about her depression . . . reminded me of something an English teacher once told me– most creative types FEEL more than others, and thus, experience depression more often. Because they can’t just wash, rinse, repeat, they need to feel alive, even if that means pain, and they must create, which is a beautiful, terrible burden. That always gave me a sense of community, even if I didn’t know the people in the community. I always knew, out there somewhere, were artists, writers, sculptors, teachers, etc, etc, etc (by career or passion), and that they understood. I wasn’t alone. And that helped. :o)