“One need not be a chamber to be haunted.” ~ Emily Dickenson
“Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.” ~ Clive Barker
“Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.” ~ J. K. Rowling
“Tears are words that need to be written.” ~ Paulo Coelho
There is something trepidatious for me about Federal holiday three-day weekends. I worked in the resort industry for many years: you work while everyone else plays. And visa versa. This is Memorial Day weekend. I’ll be on the backroads, for sure. Likely even metaphorically. I’d like that. I’ll be like William Least Heat-Moon, who, after a grueling divorce, hit the road to travel about in these here United States. Citing old fashioned roadmaps he hit the “Blue Highways” (the title of the book he wrote about it – great book, by the way) to shake off the grief. Blue highways are the secondary roads while red highways are the primary highways. Stick to the back roads and you get to see the down home stuff. No truck stops or travel centers. The last time I did that was in 2014, when I traveled from Taos, back east to Pensacola. You can’t do the complete trip on the back roads, so I did when I could. My trip was due to the sudden death of my brother’s wife, so my state of mind, which was already addled from a truly scary and extended depressive down cycle, teetered right on the edge of shutdown. Only two scenes remain in clarity. One was at a service station/convenience store, where I witnessed the stunning racial abuse hurled by a young white woman at a young black man. I had never witnessed such blatant racism. That was deep on the backroads in the State of Mississippi. The other scene came because I felt so much fear over the prospect of having to drive through Memphis, Tennessee, just to get across the wide Mississippi River. The iPad and I sat down on a motel bed, cold bottle of IPA on the night stand, and found a blue highway passage across the river, into Arkansas. Quaint old steel-arced bridge, no traffic. The river reminded me of Mark Twain. But enough of all of that. The reason I will be sticking to the back roads this weekend is to avoid the copious motorcycles that show up every Memorial Day weekend, and also to avoid having to lumber through the DUI checkpoint, which will be in El Prado; not because I drink and drive, simply because I want to make it home without tearing my hair out. It’s a form of hiding.
It’s just about sunrise. No way do I want to go into town to work. But I will, and I will have fun. The depression is running high enough to garner my attention. It is not always this strong; there is a threshold below which it’s all pretty much dullness on steroids. But I also feel an unidentifiable sadness. I have no idea what that is about, although I do know what triggered it. But it is simply good to feel such a healthy thing as sadness. Depression is not profound sadness. As Barbara Kingsolver once wrote (I paraphrase): sadness is to depression as the common cold is to cancer. If you tell a sad person to cheer up, they just might. They might even smile a little Mona Lisa smile. But if you tell a depressed person to cheer up you are only making it worse. Depression only moves when it is damned well ready to move. Sadness knows movement as essence, because it is a natural part of life. It feeds the soul while Depression sucks the soul dry. So what? So I will find a good movie on Netflix tomorrow and ease myself out of my own head. That can get tricky because depression is a Trickster disease. The Trickster is the one who really tortures you by way of your own epistemological awareness. Depression is real but it ain’t. Depression will friggin grind you under the heel of it’s shiny black jackboots while remaining inscrutable. Yet sadness flows; step on it and it moves out of the way. I can imagine some New Agey person asking me why I am creating the reality of depression, and I would respond by asking, “If this is my self-created reality then why are you here asking that rather rude question?”. I can be so snarky at times. That said, I must be moving on; on to the shower, on to work. It will be a good day unless it ain’t. That’s all I’ve got to work with. Yesterday I saw one of my old employers. Over the course of my employment with him he and I grew to become adversaries. But I no longer feel that way. Dude triggered my PTSD numerous times, and a few of those times I let him know, in no uncertain terms. I’d used the term “PTSD” as a rhetorical device, just to get to him, but two years later I ended up at the clinic being assessed by my lovely psychiatrist for the first time. Damned if I wasn’t right about the PTSD! I knew without knowing I knew. Trickster stuff, yeh, but the Light side of the Trickster, not the Dark. Some people choose to see only the Dark side of the Trickster. But there is a Light side as well, and woe be to him who doesn’t keep that in mind at all times. Depression is real but it ain’t. Trickster stuff. Healing comes through integration. Yeh.
Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.