One day I was so sad that it started to rain. And as much as I could will it, it would not stop.
Months passed, as they often do when you grow old and drink wine. And I spent so long with in a haze; recounting a thousand conversations I remembered so vividly having, that had never happened. And, as it often happens when you grow old, one day I finally woke without him as the first thought in my mind.
I removed all the clutter, all the traces of his being from my life and painted our room white. So I could start afresh. I thought the mess would leave a hole in my life. But all it left was space.
Happiness is not all encompassing and all consuming but rather it is a steady ebb and flow of warmth through your body. It does not shout, nor attempt to tear you down. It has not the need to hide in the cracks of your inner crevices waiting for the right moment to crawl out of the woodwork. It just flows freely and unashamedly.
Happiness is like a thick and heavy summer afternoon in August in London. The kind of heat that keeps us hopeful with its promises of long days and exciting adventures. That’s the best kind of happiness because, like summer in London often is, it is broken up with spells of showers that are delicate reminders of a certain balance to the universe. But where depression grounds you, happiness let’s your soul flow freely.
It’s easy to say “I’m happy”, far easier than to admit that you are sad, or depressed. For happiness is often seen as finite. That showers will come, like they always do and break through that residue of happiness. We do not see happiness as a state of mind but a temporary paralysis, albeit a pleasant one. After all, if we all wake up to a conveyor belt of trials and tribulations, how can we think of ourselves as… truly happy?
And yet, I remain hopeful, and happy. Because after grief and sadness tear me down, there is always hope, there is always a glimmer of happiness, however small. That ebb and flow.
I think of depression like grief… It’s sticky. It’s that annoying sticky stuff that gets left over when you peel off a sticker and you need to rub a couple of times to get the last of it off… and even then it is just sometimes… there.
It finds its way to cling to the underside of your daily routine, always there, always… sticking. And more often than not the days and weeks will pass like in a monotonous blur and nothing much happens. All the while depression will just sit there quietly. And then one day you find yourself waking up in a cold sweat crying because you’ve fallen down an effortless spiral; without warning, without much choice. There it is dragging down and there it lies like thick black sludge.
And then it’s Tuesday again and all of that stickiness seems to have washed away overnight and I’m walking down the street again and it seems like the rain just washed my feelings down the drain so effortlessly. And as I watch all these wonderfully content people pass you by, I think to myself “I could have done that.” But then again, I didn’t.
Unmade Bed by Joe Gerhard – Dishevelled Bedroom Series
I wrote about how to fall in love. Did you follow my steps precisely? Did you fall in love? More importantly… did you stay in love?
Fall in love slowly, deeply or casually but make sure you fall in love. Fall blindly and stay there. Make each other packed lunches with post it notes. Stare furiously into each other’s eyes and try to unlock that deep dark soul of theirs or stare blankly into their open heart. Make love, not war. Whisper sweet nothings in each other’s ears. Stay up all night and tell each other secrets. Don’t tell each other everything. Don’t plan your wedding but plan a life. Share a life together and talk about all those long road trips you’ll never take because you spent too long at work and got stuck on the tube on your way out of London. Walk hand in hand and curl those fingers tightly like they might just slip away if you let go. Say I love you; whisper it, sing it, shout it from the rooftops but don’t forget to say it. When they say they’re there for you, believe them. Close your eyes and say their name. Everything else should be white noise. Spend all morning in bed. Spend all afternoon in bed too. You won’t always get to. Never go to bed angry, and if you do, wake up and kiss them, make it the first thing you do. Listen to everything they say, because one day they might not say it anymore. Watch horror stories and build forts. Laugh, cry and work out together. Never say “it’s nothing”, because it never was. Eat pizzas and make plans together. Make love. Make time.
Conquer yourself, rather than the world.