“Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.” —Vincent Van Gogh
For a little more than a week I have felt like I’ve been walking around under a dark umbrella. For one reason or another, internal or external, I have just been down. A part of it is loneliness. I miss seeing my family and as I get closer to visiting them, I realize how much I really do miss them. Part of it is spending a holiday alone and at work. Part of it is having friends cancel plans and be in funks too. Most of it is just me.
I have always been an internal processor. I like talking through things with people I trust, but I never get as deep, as analytical as I do in my own head. I have also always been overly sensitive, always taken everything personally. There is no other way that I take things. An unreturned phone call indicates that a friend is tired of spending time with me. The small things become huge.
Spring has begun to emerge and with it comes unpredictable weather. I love the rain, love cozy, cold weather. Yesterday, as dark clouds hung over the city and the rain began to fall, I realized that I felt as cold and dark as the sky. I felt down, falling, disconnected. I enjoyed time inside, warm and lazy, but it was a rare occasion when the weather didn’t so much get me down, but it reflected and intensified the heaviness I was feeling.
I watched Where the Wild Things Are this weekend. It is a beautiful movie, but much like the rain, it is dark. The colors are bleak and muted. There are instances of striking color and contrast, but it is mostly a shadowy, dim film. It is visually really beautiful, but something about the story and look really made me deeply sad. It is a lonely movie, filled with people aching to belong and be wanted. It just hit the wrong, or right, spot. One of the first things one of the massive Things asks their new king is, “Will you keep out all the sadness?” It’s the question we all ask, every time we forge a relationship, every time we spend money, drink, eat, create, pray– will this keep out all the sadness?
I spent some time talking with a good friend that same night. We caught up on life a bit and one of the things that we commiserated on was our ability to assume the worst. We talked about how quickly we jump to the worst case conclusion, specifically with respect to relationships. I have done this a lot lately with friends in general. I assume they judge, they tire, they despise, they regret. I assume that I am a problem, a burden. Part of this is the dark mood I’ve been in, but part of it is just the core of me. It’s been a week with a lot of tears, a lot of exhaustion. It’s tiring to feel sad. The energy drains from you, leaving heavy fatigue.
Then today I ran out to the post office. It was sunny and breezy, with warmth just beginning to cut through the morning. The radio started up with Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day,” the most upbeat song about exactly how I felt. “They tell me your blue sky’s gone to gray/ They tell me your passion’s gone away.” There was something uplifting about singing along with it as the song played on. It was followed up with Jimmy Eat World’s “It Just Takes Some Time.” As I sat at the stop light, feeling sun on my arms, the words just spoke deeply into me. All of the sadness, the darkness, melted away as I listened to the song tell me to not do exactly what I had been doing: don’t write me off. Hang in there. Trust that it really is going to be fine. Trust that time changes things. Sometimes it takes something really small to change a person. I had a nice, joyful day after that. I enjoyed company, the sun, walking around a beautiful city, coming home and resting. There are still plenty of things that I am worried about, insecure about, hurting because of, but it feels so much brighter, easier. I just needed a little reminder to lighten up.
“Hey, don’t write yourself off yet/ It’s only in your head you feel out or/ Looked down on/ Just do your best, do everything you can/ And don’t you worry what their bitter hearts are gonna say/ It just takes some time/ Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride/ Everything (everything) will be just fine/ Everything (everything) will be alright.” —Jimmy Eat World, “It Just Takes Some Time”