I often wonder if the reason I write is to celebrate sadness. Sadness is an emotion so true. When I am sad, I am somewhat connected to joy in a sense. Joy is often a high, an extremely fortunate moment. Perhaps I celebrate and chronicle my sadness because the depth of it all is a type of fortune. Crazies who ride rollercoasters and enter haunted houses insist it’s a thrill to survive. Being upside down 200 feet in the air then walking away without a bump or bruise says “Wow, I’m alive!”
Sadness does the same for me.
The years I did best in school were my saddest. Why? Sadness motivates me, sadness forces me to writhe into the dark nooks of my mind, into only my own desire, my own need to succeed or define the daily. When I am sad, I can get anything done. Wax the floor, organize anything left unkempt, write a novel. Feeling down inspires a strong demand for improvement. When I’m down, I want to be better. I want to cure the temporary pleasurepain that consumes my world. I feel the sadness, pull it together, then I look like I’d never cried or had a reason to cry at all.
Because tears can be wiped away and pain can be erased with words. Vicki Lynn argues that I can get over anything in record time, perhaps worth Guiness Book merit. Dead people, being a rock-throwing target, witnessing infidelity, losing everything to an unquenchable drug addiction, years haunted by evil and sleepless, panicked nights. With the blink of an eye, the licking of a tear-soaked lip, and the secure tying of my shoes, I can walk away from sadness and pain like they never happened.
I am not the kind of person who bottles their emotions then goes home and cries for hours. I am the kind of person who bottles their emotions, bottles their emotions once they should be going home and crying, then waits for the planets of Murphy’s Law to align to call Mommy, cry for an hour, then
get over it. Right before the call, I’ve historically grabbed my journal and run to a location public enough to keep me from crying but private enough in case I might need to feel the sensation of puddles resting on my bottom lashes. The feeling of crying has produced my best work. The feeling of crying inspires me to render dramatic phrases and hurry up with what I have to say so I can run home.Hurry up and enjoy this sad moment while you can, Sara. Any second now, you’ll be over it, then you’ll have to smile it all off. You’ll go back to being a bumpkin of blasé phrases and unimpressive metaphors.
I am special when I am sad. Feeling down, being the victim of something extraordinary – this is my ticket to a fully-saturated life. A fully saturated life and soaked t-shirt to boot. When I cry, I don’t lie to anyone. When I am heaved over my knees staring at my unpedicured toes, rocking rhythmically, the truth is apparent. My truth is mended on bathroom floors, curled up in balls, hunched over legal pads. Not because the truest emotion is sadness, but because the most novel my life has been was during the sadness. I cannot be wise, undefeated or colorful if I’ve been happy all my life. To call my life’s greatest tragedy the death of my 18 year old Golden Retriever would be so disappointing. It would be so Leave it to Beaver. I prefer that life only look so good and be revealed as a rather unordinary and effed-up occasion. Perhaps this is a reason I watch American Beauty
on a regular basis. A $750,.000 box and two smiling parents doesn’t necessarily mean apple pies and flower beds.
Only when I hunker down and let the sadness sink in can I be reminded that I am a good person, a great success. We all want to give ourselves credit for the turbulence of growth. To say that all I experienced was the bog of humanity would be a lie, an insult, a complete dismissal of the millions who don’t even know what it means to be happy. But what I did experience follows me, what I do experience reminds me, and what I will experience will improve me.
Because when things get to sucking and I’m singing the blues all over town in coffee shops and under yellow lamps, I can recreate the truths that makes me love the past. I can pay tribute to what has given me me
. I am sad, and I know what’s really going on. I know that I’ve reached a point of important change. So I jot down a few paragraphs, pages, books of what did it, why I let it, and what I’ll do about its. I write myself out of holes, even after what I’ve written has gotten me down into them. I let myself feel sad with strategically colored pencils, expensive art pens and expensive lattes. I prepare for the sadness so I can discover myself more deeply. So I won’t make the same mistakes again. So the tears will be new tears rather than ad nauseam. Each time I am sad, I learn something new and I know myself a little bit better.
Sadness reminds me of the things in my life that make it worth thoughts on paper. So I write on paper. And my life feels worth it.