The first time I blogged, it was because I thought I had something to say about being in a woman’s circle and I wanted to share how important that felt to my life, but after a short while, I ran out of things to say.
The second time I blogged, I wrote about the incarcerated women to whom I taught creative writing. Those stories also had a limit and often felt too weighty to even record. After some of my classes at the jail, I just soaked all the stories away in a hot bath. Even a summer of writing a book proposal about that, became an unraveling without hope of a final form.
From there my blog went into the slice of life stuff that sometimes felt significant and other times felt like fluff. I am not a good judge of my writing. I really can’t tell if something is good or not. I am not a good judge of anyone’s writing–I know what I like and I respect anyone who attempts to write their life on the cliff of white computer screen and then share it in the world.
My last blog up until now ran into a wall of sadness. Sadness is a matter-of-fact thing that I have dealt with on and off my whole life. I have learned to maintain good mental health for long stretches of time through diet, exercise and mindfulness. It works really well, but sometimes sorrow surprises me with its deep, regret. The last bout was not pleasant, but as with times before–I learned something. May Sarton wrote in her book, “Journal of a Solitude,” that she needed to be with her anger long enough for it to teach her something. I feel that way about sadness, you have to be with it long enough for it to teach you something. What I learned this time was this: sadness is unexpressed grief. No, I didn’t get that from a therapist or a self-help book. What I mean is that life assails us with sorrows, both personal challenges and the suffering of the world. In our culture, we do not have a container for that–we don’t have a ritual or a ceremony or a tribe that helps us through the process of feeling our pain and the world’s pain. So we crawl off into our corners and cradle our hearts to the extent that we are able, praying for relief and healing.
Some may say, medication is the answer, but honestly you can give a diagnosis to just about any feeling and what good does that do? I think medication should be a last resort treatment, and I would rather do the ride than just make it all okay with a daily dose. Some may say, that I should just keep a good attitude, but I have at times exhausted myself with good attitude. And some may say, “get over it,” and to them I would say how long have you been numb? What I know is that I’m constantly awakening to life again and again with no destination point in sight.
I have been with my depression long enough for it to teach me something and now I am pouring what I’ve learned about life and being human into writing novels and stories. Creativity is born of chaos and grief in the dark muddy places of heart and mind. Depression/Celebration–it is all just the fullness of a life lived with courage, and now gratitude.