Observations on Sadness.

My dog died in May. May 11th, to be exact. It was a beautiful Monday morning. Well, we said our last goodbye on that beautiful Monday afternoon, but it was that morning when I suspected the end might be very near. It’s not something I really want to get into here though, because it’s one of those circumstances for which it seems there aren’t many words.

Sometimes, there just aren’t any words. Sadness can do that. Take your words away. Pack them up. Close the lid.

Though I don’t have much to say about the experience of losing someone so integral to the last 15 years of my life, her passing has given me other words. Words to generate ideas, develop characters, write stories. Words that shape and give life to other creations from within me.

Sadness can do that sometimes. Transform you into a conduit for other expressions.

And so, here is an observation. It is not about my sweet puppylove. Those memories and experiences are my own, but I know they will inevitably come out in little poems of ideas later. This is an observation on sadness.

It’s a strange feeling, sadness. Really, it’s more like a place than anything else. Like an empty room on the other side of a small, lonely door in your heart. This room is cold and empty of furniture, but heavy with other things. Things that are hard to say out loud. As if words don’t exist for them.

I don’t very much like to go into this room. 

In addition to its strangeness, sadness can also change things. It can make the world an alien place. Almost unrecognizable, but not completely. There is usually a small kernel of familiarity. Just enough to make you feel off-keel. The sky starts to look different. The moon frowns at you, tilting its head in sympathy and the stars dip low like glowing strings of light tacked to the everlasting night. They hang in their own sad way. Even sunlight becomes a stranger. It shines a little differently. Its rays beam through the clouds in haunting shades of white, pulling shadows into long, painful stretches that feel like they’re pressing you down into the scratchy grass with them.

You might even begin to feel a little like a shadow yourself. Thin. Tethered to a figure that once looked kind of like you.

Your heart beats somewhere between a sink and a float and you wonder if the sky will ever look the way you remember it. That simple blue.

You might even catch melancholy glances coming from the trees. They shift their gazes slowly toward you as you walk underneath their shade. Big, leafy, swaying elephants watching you. They know. 

….Our Own Little Sad Rooms….

We tend not to invite others into our sad rooms with us.

They’re not the most comfortable places for others.

No one likes to be sad, and there’s nowhere to sit anyway.

It would be nice to have someone to sit next to on the floor with me, though. Then at least we could lean against each other as we wait. 

That’s the other thing about sad rooms. You can do a lot of waiting in them. It’s a profoundly lonely place, sadness.

But…

Maybe if we keep the small, lonely doors to our sad rooms open, someone will come in….

Sadness and loneliness are old friends, though. Sadness welcomes loneliness. And when you’re lonely, you have a lot of time to think. Things can get…confusing. You start to feel things. Lots of things. They stir. Twist.

….Knots….

Feelings can be like piles of knotted rope inside you; they rarely operate by themselves. Of course, sadness and loneliness work together a lot. So do happy and excited. Calm and thoughtful, those two are often together. Sometimes you can feel calm, sad, lonely, thoughtful and ashamed. Sometimes it’s guilty, embarrassed and angry all at the same time. The feelings get all tangled up with one another and impossible to unravel. At least, my feelings are usually jumbled up, taking forever to figure out, untie the knots.

Sometimes it seems like we’re all so afraid of unraveling. We make the tension worse.

What are we all so afraid of?

Maybe if we all worked together to untie our emotional knots, we could use the ropes… like little lifelines to toss out to one another from our solitary, drifting boats. Or tie them together to reach a little farther.

I wish I could untie my sad, lonely knot and throw the rope overboard. Maybe someone would catch it.

Pull me into shore….

….That’s All For Now….

These ideas have come from me, of course, but they are really the thoughts of a character I am developing for a story.

The ideas are rough and raw, and I am throwing them out there.

It’s been far too long, but this blog has been walked.

Now it’s time for bed. Thanks for reading.

Accompanying sketch to come soon….

Oh, and I officially registered walktheblog.com!

So if you type that into your url search bar, it will connect you directly to this sight. Woot!

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Killing FUN.

I have a new mantra for when I wake up in the morning and am instantly grumpy about life. It sort of heIps. I came up with it myself:

I’m going to have FUN today.

If you’ve been feeling down on life or grumpy, you should try it.

But what is “fun”, anyway? Do grown-ups even know how to have fun? Let me rephrase that. Do grown-ups even know how to have fun without booze? Maybe I’m the one who doesn’t know how to have fun. Maybe I’m just a stick-in-the-mud and need to lighten up. I am pretty fun at times, don’t get me wrong. But I’m also a little moody.

Look around you. How many over-30 people do you see out there absolutely loving life? It seems sometimes like everyone’s slugging around, shoulders hunched, head down, just trying to get it over with. Whatever their it is.

Life throws responsibility at everyone at different times in their life.. somewhere along your way, you have to become the grown-up. It can happen slowly or suddenly. Maybe it’s heavy. Maybe someone you love very much dies and you’re thrust into a strange place of stepping up and being in charge. Maybe someone hurts you. Maybe as a young child, you were forced to see something no child should ever have to see and just like that, the magic of childhood is gone. Maybe it’s lighter- becoming the grown-up can happen when some pimple-faced kid calls you M’am at the grocery store, or when you get checked out at the gym by no one anymore. And don’t even get me started on metabolizing alcohol after age 30. That’s how I know I’m old..older.

I’m not a parent yet. But If you are, I give you the OK to laugh at my naivety in the following diatribe. I am however a teacher, so by default, 40 hours/week, I have to be the adult in the room. Truth? It can suck the last glimmer of fun out of everything, instantly.

In my teacher job, I have to be the responsible one, the safe one, the one who takes care of everyone. Every day, parents put their children in my care- I’m the person who has to make sure no one dies. Ok, it’s very unlikely that would happen in my school setting… because I can’t let that happen. I’m the grown-up.

As a teacher, I have to consciously and actively instill social-emotional awareness, appropriately advocate for the underdog, model compassion for the alpha dog, and support children in their negotiations- I have to try to relate to their 4-year-old issues, and for the record, child drama is hilarious.

I have to make sure the classroom is maintained. I have to be the Cap Cop for our markers. Do you know how hard it is for a child to put a cap back on a marker? Do you know how hard it is for me to understand how hard it is for a child to remember to put a cap on a marker?

I have to be concerned when someone is hurt, even if I talked to them seven times already about not wrestling on top of the block table because someone could get hurt.

I have to wipe noses.

I have to wipe butts.

I have to explain daily that band-aids are for open cuts and blood. Like real blood. Not that microscopic speck on your finger.

I have to give hugs and snuggle even when my body wants nothing more than to just have a little bit of personal space for more than 3 minutes at a time.

I have to explain why it’s necessary to change your pants after you’ve soiled them. As if it isn’t obvious.

I have to plan lessons.

I have to sing songs.

I have to be patient.

I have to be kind.

I have to make sure everyone’s learning. And I have to do this all with a face that says, this is my calling. 

It sort of kills fun. Ok, and that’s my whiny rant. I’m done. And I know hard is hard. My hard isn’t harder than your hard (not taking credit for that – see reference source in uplifting TED talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSR4xuU07sc

While my job is kind of hard, doing all of this stuff isn’t that hard. It’s just, trying. Draining. Not always FUN. I mean, it’s not rocket science. I’m not saving the world. Or am I?

Wait a minute. I just had a thought. Maybe it’s not about having FUN. Maybe FUN isn’t something to capture and possess. How consumerist we can be, always coveting these intangibles… always trying to find them and keep them like little bugs trapped in our shitty kid bug jars. The bugs always die. Maybe we’re not meant to have fun, for as soon as you lock it up and isolate it, the essence of what made it so fun is lost.

Maybe we need to BE the fun. Find that kid in us.

Hmmm. Saving the world while being fun? Food for thought.

If anyone has any pointers on how to do this, let me know.

I think Dan Siegel may have some ideas:

http://drdansiegel.com/blog/2014/02/07/the-essence-of-adolescence/

In the mean time, I am going to BE FUN today.