Things have been rough around here this year. It's been hard to write, even though I tend to be a heart-on-my-sleeve, transparent, therapeutic-type of writer. That works for some things - and I remain a proponent and fan of it - but some things are just too big for mere words. Some things feel cheapened by words. Some things just can't be expressed, no matter how many words one has at ones disposal.
THAT'S the sort of year it's been.
A few folks have said to me recently, "Write more! We miss your words!"
Every time someone makes a similar request, I try.
I'm a sucker for flattery, and being asked for words feels a little bit like flattery. After all - up until this year, I had literary aspirations! What could be a higher compliment than people hungering for my words?
So I tried.
But it all felt so stupid.
With all of these huge, big, bad things in my life - in my world - how could I write cute little essays about the life of a menopausal fangirl? (Let me clarify. I am menopausal and I am a fangirl. I am not a fan of menopause. Technically, when one can claim menopausal as an appropriate adjective, perhaps one should consider ditching girl as an appropriate noun. Hmm.) And for a few months there - as you know, if you've been paying attention - I couldn't.
A friend and I were chatting about this very thing the other day. One of the big bad things I'm working through right now is the suicide of a beloved classmate. All of us who knew her were - are - shocked to our cores. This couldn't have happened. This shouldn't have happened. It is very nearly unbearable. We find comfort with each other where we can, but it is not enough. We are all working individually through this collective experience the best way we can. Some days are worse than others.
So as my friend and I chatted, she kept asking about the writing. She told me how much our friend who passed had liked my posts. I knew this. She'd told me so on many occasions. But it was nice to hear it from someone else. "Don't stop", she'd said, "we need to laugh together." I told her the same things I've already mentioned - everything just feels so trivial and stupid and inane - it's hard to be light when everything feels so heavy. "Just one thing - every day - that we can laugh about and be thankful for." I told her that I wasn't much on the whole Pollyanna thing. I don't want to laugh and be thankful. I'm sad. She replied, "Only the village idiot is happy all the time."
That really resonated with me. Not only because it is undeniably true, but also because - this particular friend really DOES come across as sort of a Pollyanna type. She's a silver lining kind of gal. Brian on the cross, whistling about the bright side of life. I would've never expected a sentiment like that from her, yet there it was. Only the village idiot is happy all the time.
I am assuredly not the village idiot.
But I don't want to be the village prophet of doom, either.
So, my friend, I offer a compromise: I will not write a happy little ditty every day. That is too close to village idiot territory for me. Also? I have no desire to be the Bill Keane of the blogosphere.
I will make a strong, concerted effort to get something positive or funny or entertaining out once a week. Some weeks it will be small, some weeks larger, some weeks there will be more than one happy post, but ALL weeks I will try very hard for one. Fair enough?
So here's what's been running all around in my brain on this cold January morning (and, coincidentally, what would have been the 50th birthday of my friend who won't be here to celebrate it):
It is no secret that I love the sun and feel less than stellar in it's absence. It's certainly been a recurring theme. Cold winter mornings are the worst. My feelings about that have been well documented as well.
As I was getting ready to get the day started, I put a little Heart on the stereo - because my love for them has been almost as well documented as my hatred of cold winter mornings. The first words to hit my ears were, "The sky was dark this morning, when I raised my head. I went to the window; darkness was my bane." Sing it, sister. Later, in the car, Boston regaled me with "I looked out this morning, and the sun was gone." Hmmmm - my refusal to bring my music collection out of the 70's seemed to be manifesting itself into a little theme. No sun.
Driving my youngest to school, though (another activity that has been well documented!) the sun made an appearance. The sky was pink and lavender and blue and the black, black, blackness of the barren trees silhouetted against it was nothing short of breathtaking.
And I felt something grinchy starting to melt.
The next line to that Heart song, by the way? "Suddenly a sunbeam - thrilled me to my very heart - it was the prettiest thing I had ever seen." The next line to the Boston song? "I turned on some music to start my day."
Bleakness, darkness, sadness - it will always be there.
But so will the sun.
(Sorry! Nothing funny today - but maybe a little warmth - maybe a little happy -it's a start.)