Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Gifts We're Given...

My sadness is my greatest gift.  It has taken a long time to admit this, not just publicly, but to myself.  We are told so often that anything that's not shiny and happy is defective.  We are told that being sad is equivalent to disease, that it is a weakness.  It is a blue blob.  It can be cured with a pill.

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.

But...

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.

5 comments:

lindalandig said...

Thought provoking and well written. Thank you.

stacilouise said...

So beautifully said Andrew. That really hits home for me. And I think it needs to be said. Being sad is part of life....as a society we treat it like its wrong....when really...its human.

Sarajo Wentling said...

I too grew up with a dad who wasn't all about feelings. He really only had two modes... happy or angry. Any emotion other than happiness was considered weak (my grandad was a serious piece of work!) so anger was the solution. Being female I think that different rules applied (just one of the reasons I'm glad I wasn't a boy...ask me what my name would have been.

Thanks for being willing and able to share yourself with your readers... and not just the shiny, happy parts.

shelly said...

Thank you.

sasha + max studio said...

So true, I too experience the strong sad times, especially after my full on weeks at the day job, but when I'm in a good place of mind, I really appreciate it. I can totally understand, thanks Andrew.