Melancholy is common, and probably even more common these days. This meandering affliction has flitted in and out of my life in an erratic flow, mostly hidden away as a secret despair. And within those months and even years I felt utterly exhausted and completely incapable of succeeding at any task. Yet, somehow, I pushed through, numb and only partially engaged. Fat with anxiety. I was on auto pilot, completely unable to plot a course for my future. My lifetime of gaffs and blunders replayed throughout my waking hours on and on like the relentless refrain of an old song stuck in my head.
As I grew older, my list of botches grew longer and longer. And then, when people confided to me with their own troubles, I oddly found myself automatically adding them to my own litany of unravellings or downfalls to solve. A ridiculous notion at best, as though I could fix their problems too. Soon, in any conversation I found myself begging in a silent voice, “Please don’t ask anything of me with your expectant eyes and anxious energy for I cannot carry your burden too.” And in reality, I’m sure if they knew what I was thinking, they’d have thought I’d lost my ever-loving mind, and would reply, “But I haven’t asked you for a thing.” And deep-down, despite my exaggerated sense of responsibility, I would know this to be true. As a middle child from a dysfunctional family, I was always trying to make it better for everyone else because that was my job. I was forever on guard. As soon as I’d enter a room, I would read the emotion gathered there and either try to defuse the bomb before it exploded or run away before it did. Unfortunately, by continually focusing on others to maintain a smoother road of life I crushed my ability to define a clear future for myself.
Celebratory events with family and friends which were intended to be easy and joyful, were a form of stilted play-acting in an attempt to satisfy the expectations of the group. Despite the good-humoured grins and laughter thrown around like money in a casino, my smiles were consistently hollow and my laughter forced; a pittance at the penny slots. My feelings were non-existent. The space inside my heart reserved for warmth and caring had long ago iced over, and in actual fact, the slow pulsing core of my being felt more desolate than a prairie field in the depths of winter; icy, rigid, and filled with emptiness.
Those were the darkest of days.
Today, the sunlight pours down creating dancing shadows on the ground, my smile is an expression of my heart, my future unfolding as I choose.
This is our one guarantee in life, everything changes. So, if you are feeling that your life is pointless, overwhelming and beyond repair, believe me when I say it is not. We live in a world of opposites; up/down, rich/poor, cold/hot, happy/sad, and on and on. Nothing is stagnant. All around us, every day, everything transforms, including you.
So, if you find yourself at the bottom of a dark and despairing hole, please remember…the light of spring will come again. The dull lifeless grass will manifest into an iridescent carpet of emerald green under the warmth of the sun, a kaleidoscope of flowers will bloom and the gofers in the burrows will foster little ones. A better future is here.
I, for one believe in you. And maybe you are thinking, how can you believe in me? You don’t even know me, and I reply, “It’s because you are human that I believe in you. I believe in the power of your heart, of your love, of your forgiveness, of your kindness. I believe in your creativity, in your tears and in your future joys. I believe in the contrast of who you are. Even the most evil-minded individual holds the capacity to become giving and loving. It is in our potential to become; to evolve.
We falter, we fall, we bleed, we lash out and we learn. If we can be strong enough to accept our pain without blaming the world or those around us, we grow. Our power lies in the love we give, not in the love we hold in our hearts. Our gifts are the love we offer in a smile, in a letter, in a devil’s food cake. Human beings are magical creatures because they are capable of overcoming. Let us overcome.”