In the constant forward chug of days and routines, of lunches packed and tiny pigtails securely fashioned…sad happens. It’s hormones, or lack of sleep. It’s too much stress, too little downtime. It’s too much sugar or not enough laughter. It’s all of these things or none of them, in an endlessly shifting combination too complex to explain or predict.
Right now, I’m sad. This morning, as I drove in to work, I had the startling realization that I’m allowed to be sad. It doesn’t require fighting or changing or struggling. I don’t have to try to change it. I can just sit with it. I can recognize it as a temporary state of being (aren’t they all?) and give it space to stir around a bit. I can cry just because it feels like the right thing to do at the moment. I know it’s about hormones for me right now, but it hardly matters why.
Sad doesn’t mean depressed. Not for me, not right now. Instead, it means I’m delicate, easily stirred. It means I find myself whisper close to the deepest sadnesses I hold in my heart every day, suddenly an unintended finger brush away from hard hitting memories, the waves of grief and loss still tangible as the rain that falls every day in the Florida summer.
I think sometimes those sads, those heavy, dark, dense bits require some airing out. Sometimes they demand some attention, dammit! I spend most of my days in a consistent state of reasonable happiness, and while that happiness is both well reasoned and utterly authentic, it’s not all there is to me. The sads don’t require constant attention. They don’t need to be honored hourly or daily or even weekly, most of the time. Their needs don’t follow the cycle of my life, but instead march along to their own dark rhythm (I like to think it’s the Imperial March). It makes it impossible to predict when they’ll show up, but I’ve spent so much time trying to force them back, hold them in, and conform them to my consistently content life.
What I’ve finally realized is that the don’t require conformity. The existence of my deepest grief and pain does not in any way devalue my experience of joy and comfort and love. Sad isn’t a negative feeling. In fact, by giving it room to exist and stretch its wings now and again, those other feelings are bolstered and brightened the way a touch of salt can bring out the best flavors in a cake or a stroke of black on canvas can whiten whites. So today I choose to sit with my sad, to honor it as just another part of all the awesome that is me.