Wednesday, October 04, 2006

post the hundred and eighth

(As a preface, I need to remind all of you gentle readers that I do, believe it or not, experience happiness and joy in my life. I just don't write about it. Melancholy and gloom lend themselves much better to exploration than cheerfulness does. This happens to be a period in my life where I've been given many more opportunities to really experience melancholy, and I'm doing my best to understand it so you can get a real sense of it. You'll have a better idea of it when you can see what it's like through my senses; at least, that's how I am. Hopefully you're the same.)

Feel your chest until you find the spot where your rib cage meets your sternum. I'm serious here. You're not going to understand exactly what I'm feeling - which is my goal here - unless you take an active role in reading this essay. Go on, don't be bashful. There should be a small soft spot just below the bone. I'm feeling a near-constant pressure there of late - it abates temporarily, but vestiges of it still cling to me, refusing to leave me alone. It's an internal pressure, mind you; it feels as though something is squeezing me from within rather than pressing from without, where it could easily be brushed away.

I feel it in my throat, too. I find myself taking deep breaths a lot (they sound like wistful sighs; in fact, they are neither) in an effort to sate the discomfort in both my throat and chest. Breathing deeply briefly sooths the chest pressure while the air reaches high enough that my throat doesn't have the lump in it for a bit.

Yes, the grim spectre of melancholy has raised its hoary head in my life again. Don't just blow past that phrase, either. I spent a good twenty minutes making sure that was exactly what I wanted to say. I looked up melancholy in the thesaurus, scoured all of its synonyms, and finally looked it up in the OED until I settled on it. (I also intentionally spelled "spectre" in its British form.) Word choice is important to me. Please take note.


I had a really fun time last night, in case brooklyn is reading this. I really did. I've been busy, sure, but I was productive and even got a chance to relax, which doesn't happen terrifically often anymore. I was even having a good morning, listening to the Decemberists' The Crane Wife (especially "The Island," which hasn't left my head since I bought it yesterday morning). Around 1.30, however, I started to feel restless. I couldn't focus on anything. I just had a tremendous rush of energy and felt frustrated that I couldn't do anything with it. Curiously, the rush failed me some 45 minutes later when I completely crashed during one of my classes. I made it through the next few hours in an exhausted torpor, wishing only for a nap. (Instead, I watched the NL playoffs. Man, the Mets lok good.)

This lasted until about 6.30, when it all broke loose. While I wasn't quite happy, I was cheerful enough up until then. Almost instantly, melancholy swept over me like a morose tidal wave. (This is another case where my word choice is important. Take note.) I was surprised at how sudden and complete it was; Pepto-Bismol has nothing on emotion. Boy howdy. I just stood there, a bag of used paper towels and fast-food wrappers in hand, feeling like I wanted to cry (which I never do, no joke) for hours - and nothing had even happened. It was amazing.

(deep breaths.)

It's at times like these where I wish I had someone to love. And before some of you reading this get up in arms saying you love me and worry about me, I want you to understand that I'm not talking about you. I know you love me. I appreciate it. I really do. That's just not what I'm talking about. I need someone in love with me - someone who can come and hold me when life gets impossibly hard. I need someone who can come and rub my still-aching back and wipe away my non-existent tears. I need someone who will be there for me and only me, as selfish as that sounds.

The problem with this is that I'm in love with everyone at the same time, which only adds to my frustration. (How can you not be frustrated like that? It's bad enough when only one object of your fancy doesn't return your affection; try a thousand of them at once.) I know I want someone to love, but I don't know who, or even that it's such a good idea for me at the moment, still having been freshly wounded. To make matters worse, I know exactly the woman I'd like to have comfort me and hold me, but she only exists as a construct of my mind. I've met 90% of her. (The lacking 10% turned out to be a critical difference.)


"go to sleep now, little ugly. go to sleep now, you little fool."

P.S.: I promise I'll start writing about cheerful things soon. This was such a startling insight into the world of melancholy that I couldn't resist writing about it. My apologies.


dimmi said...

My belated response to conversation yesterday:

Yeah, you did have a rough day.

Tolkien Boy said...

People often accuse me of hypermelancholia as well. Silly people. Don't they know that sadness is the way the happy person expresses himself?

flippin said...

In re: our convo from last night, I really do understand where you're coming from. Creepily and very sadly so.

L'Afro said...

This may sound weird, but this was a beautiful post. I don't mind a new insight into the world of melancholy that's not my insight.

Brooklyn said...

I'm glad you had fun, anyway:) Brian Regan is hard to not enjoy. We'll talk more later.

lanada said...

boy, do i feel that. poor aching ribcage...

Thirdmango said...

I've felt that way for the past 10 years without relief, so I know what you mean. I also know what you mean on the loving everyone part, oh man. I always feel like I'm walking on a border, I always want to give up, but never can, it would be so easy to just give up but my mind can't function that possibility. Blegh. I also like these kind of posts, they always come out the best me thinks.

Redoubt said...

Wow. This was a beautiful post. And I empathize deeply.

CheekyChickie said...

That was wonderous to read, very deep and meaningful. I think that many of us feel that way at some point or another. It's easy to especially feel that way after you have felt that love and compassion touch your life. When you have gotten use to seeing a particular face and knowing that someone familiar who cares for you deeply it is very hard to feel the empty space that the person, or even just their memory, leaves behind. Do not dispair- the lacking 10% will be found at length and you will appreciate it all the more.

O, gather me the rose, the rose,
While yet in flower we find it,
For summer smiles, but summer goes,
And winter waits behind it!

For with the dream foregone, foregone,
The deed forborne for ever,
The worm, regret, will canker on,
And time will turn him never.

So well it were to love, my love,
And cheat of any laughter
The death beneath us and above,
The dark before and after.

The myrtle and the rose, the rose,
The sunshine and the swallow,
The dream that comes, the wish that goes,
The memories that follow!