On Weight and Struggle

Sadness does not always present itself in theatrical extremity. Very often it slips into the antechambers of the heart in carefully wrought disguise, preferring the slow ambush of poisoned air seeping through the vents, to the blunt strike on the side of the head.

Morose might be the more veracious word here, as Robin Williams zealously affirmed in his film Good Will Hunting. Morose is the sadness that creeps up from behind whatever you are attempting to be, to let you know that you have yet again failed. When we wake up in the morning and feel that irregular pause within our heartbeat, that hollow echo of existential contemplation which sobers us like the crisp, night air- that is the morosity come home to roost. Knowing that one ought to feel joyful or grateful, or at the very least neutral (nothing has yet happened afterall) and still feeling gravity tug forcefully at your heart.

Some are inclined to call this depression. To this I say, it is circumstantial. There may be some people for whom this train of events is the mark of depression, and they must take adequate measures therein to assuage the manifestation of that dastardly plague. But for others it may not be so. Sometimes the ubiquity of pressure or pain upon the soul demands a teary eyed release that the heart refuses to yield, no matter how it is pricked and jabbed. You, the essence, may yearn for release, but you, the vessel, has other plans in mind. The body will always protect itself, even from you, because the body is most concerned with survival. Unlike the essence, which is most dedicated to truth. And connection.

When this velvet morose energy slips into the quiet of our cells, denying harmony to tongue and mind, it calls into question the adage of happiness being a choice. For certainly if we could choose to be happy in this instance we would; indeed we are trying as we set on with our baking, and our reading, and our quipping with friends. Yet this sadness is clandestine oil incarnate, sinking deep into the fabric of who we are while letting the much thinner waters of who we want to be rise conspicuously to the top. These are waters to swim in, waters that reflect light and invite the inhabitance of others. Even when we are shaken, we merely splash and return to normal, never having our sunken oils perused or observed. This, of course, adds to the weight.

In this moment, school is fully in session as we come to grips with the stark difference between “happy” and “not sad.” In straining for the former, we often find it is less taxing to claw after the simple relief of the latter. This tension between knowing we ought to be happy, and being willing to settle for merely not being sad creates the struggle. For anybody we tell will- with a good heart- emphatically wish happiness upon us, but wishes unfulfilled have a way of becoming more bricks in a prison not of our own design. It stretches the tension and intensifies the struggle, driving us evermore down the boulevard in quest of just being not sad.

This boulevard leads down many dark, and twisting roads. Many are the avenues of hell’s malice branching off the main path of desiring not to feel that which ails us. Numbing. Escapism. Anger. Bitter confession. Attack. Lust. Power flexing. Retreat.
Long winds the rain thistled road, and deep are the claw marks of branches across our face. Razed trenches burning with a pulsing ache that only tears can quench, yet our body continues to deny us as the curse sets in.

There is only the main path.
That is the curse.
None of those meandering offshoot explorations of potential cure lead anywhere other than back to the boulevard itself. Back to the quest of desperately seeking to merely just be “not sad.”

Many are the avenues of hell’s malice branching off the main path of desiring not to feel that which ails us.

So happiness is not a choice.
Not feeling is not an option.
We cannot go back.
And we cannot be sure of going forward.

All we have unto us is the freedom to go,
Sadness as our muse,
walking stick in hand,
wispy vapors on our lungs,
waiting for the tears to fall.


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