Thursday, May 22, 2014
The Gifts We're Given...
When I was little, if I cried, my father would tell me to "man up" and "stop acting like a baby". Feelings were for "wussies". To quote a recent Disney animation, "Conceal, don't feel. Don't let them know." I can understand now where he was coming from. He grew up in a time when there wasn't much room for feelings. Survival was paramount. The crops were what mattered. And then later in the military, feelings got in the way of the driving purpose of action and clear-cut decision making. At the time, it felt like I was somehow less than or not enough... that there was something wrong with me.
Before I go any further, I must underline that every case is different and that for some, their sadness is so severe that it inhibits their ability to function and that it is essential that they have medical attention to manage their depression. This post is not meant to advocate the stopping of treatment and should not be construed as medical advice. This is just my story. These are just my experiences.
My sadness is my greatest gift. My greatest gift is not my creativity or my compassion, because they are informed by and produced by my sadness. My sadness has taught me to the value of appreciation, of loving more ardently and believing more fiercely. It has taught me to empathize and be able to evaluate the situation from other's perspectives. The darkness has made the light more brilliant and dazzling to behold. It is the spirit of ephemera – the knowing that moments slip away like quicksilver and that a flower's beauty is all the more because it is fleeting.
If you know me in passing, you might not know that I am anything but smiles and bright-eyed wonder. My sadness, while inherent and intrinsic to my personality and views on life, is something that I explore and evaluate – for the most part – privately. I understand that it is a facet of who I am and not everything that there is. We are all made up of shadows and light and are bestowed with many... many... many unexpectedly beautiful gifts.