“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It is very hard to feel sad these days.
It is an emotion which has become antiquated and relegated to the shelf. Alongside tragedy and melancholy, it is an emotion whose only purpose, it seems, is to make people feel uncomfortable and is better kept to oneself. It is such a beautiful emotion though, in its way.
It comes from a place of enormous depth, deep down in the base of your soul and paints everything in such a deep hue that it is hard to see past. It lays just on the other side of overwhelming, threatening to burst its own banks but never quite doing so. It holds you suspended in mid-air, teasing the drop whilst never actually allowing it.
It is sometimes accompanied by emptiness, an inability to draw any more from your own furnace, an all encompassing feeling of exhaustion. This mixes well with sadness, the two simpatico to each others needs.
They leave an ocean of tears behind your eyes and an almost lustful desire for love, touch, company. What you are really looking for though is acceptance, compassion and understanding.
It is so hard to be received, fully received in this world.
We are seen as cold for our inability to communicate, for the fact that we are lost in a feeling. We are judged for the most human of things; emotion, frailty, sensitivity. We are far from cold in their embrace, but are seen as distant.
Distant from what? From the very centre of feeling? From not shying away from what is real, for entering into dark places and returning with truth? Wisdom? If we are distant, is it not from that which is unreal, a lie? If we are distant is it not because we are exploring unknown terrain?
It is hard to be received, fully received in this world.
Pull yourself together. Get on with it. Stop wallowing. There is real suffering in the world.
There is. There is always suffering. There is always someone worse off that you. Do your emotions care? When they stab at you with madness or melancholy; when they strangle you in the dead of night or throw you into a new day unprepared? Is your sadness any less because in Africa there is a child dying of thirst or in France there are innocent people dead on the streets?
No. We all draw from the same well. The feeling is complete in and of itself.
We are all deserving of each others compassion within it.
Emotion, the feeling of it, the full embracing of its qualities is bravery. It is to put one’s hand into the fire and learn from the experience. It is not coldness, it is raw determination.
To feel. To find one’s place. To be. To exist fully.
Do not be shamed. Do not allow yourself to be made to feel shame. It doesn’t exist. Not for what you feel. Not for what you are. It is a blanket others would force on you to hide their own embarrassment, the parts of themselves they would not wish revealed.
Be. Feel. Exist.
Sadness woe, anger, grief, melancholy… they are your heart sending smoke signals. it is your soul telling you that you are still alive, that you are alright, that you are healthy of spirit.
I have a sadness today. An emptiness. Perhaps i justify it with these words.
Or perhaps i’m alive.