Tag Archives: sadness

Robbed.

I could feel shock go through me. My eyes grew wide, my mouth gaped for a moment, and I asked him to repeat himself.

He did. He hadn’t realized I didn’t know.

How was I supposed to know? You haven’t spoken to me in over a year.

Tears came to my eyes immediately, but I quickly composed myself and focused my attention back to him. This wasn’t about you. This conversation was about what he was saying to me, about the life changes he was going through. And I could give him my complete attention.

A little while later though, my mind repeated the same phrase over and over again. Instead of your name, I kept saying “my best friend.”

But really? You? You’re my best friend? You? Of all people? You who left me without looking back? You who made one horrible life decision after another? You who deserted me? You who turned your back on the support I offered you? You who dismissed people who have always loved you? You who robbed me of the honor and blessing of sharing this life together with our other friends and family? You who I called brother unabashedly and proudly only to be tossed aside as if I were someone you knew for a day?

No. No, you’re not my best friend. ‘Friend’ is a sacred word to me and it will be reserved for those who care for me and allow me to care for them.

I have learned one thing within the past fourteen months: You are not the person I thought you were.

-Melissa

Exist.

“On a scale from one to ten, how bad is it?”

I’ve been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy lately. In the show, emergency cases often come into the hospital and the doctors have to figure out how to save the person. Sometimes, those emergencies involved a foreign object going through a person. One time it was a pole someone had been impaled on. Another time it was a big tree branch. These cases are difficult because you can’t just pull the foreign object out, unless you want the patient to bleed to death. Usually, the pole or tree or whatever is holding all of the blood and organs in place, so if you just rip it back out of them, they’ll bleed out.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like watching tv is the foreign object that’s keeping me from bleeding out.

When I’m watching a tv show, I’m distracted. I’m wrapped up in someone else’s life. Lately, when I turn off the tv, sadness overwhelms me. It’s like the silence that follows is too quiet. My mind no longer has something to focus on. And I get really sad. I bleed out. I’d rather just keep watching tv. Unfortunately, I have responsibilities and people to hide my feelings from, so I can’t just stay curled up on the couch all day watching Grey’s Anatomy.

On one of the latest episodes I’ve watched, one of the main characters hasn’t been doing extremely well, and for some very good reasons. Her boyfriend comes and sees she’s having a hard time and simply asks, “On a scale of one to ten, how bad is it?”

On a scale from one to ten, it’s about a seven right now. Maybe a six. Which is better than yesterday. Worse than the day before. Much better from the day before that.

I’m just existing right now. I don’t think I ever thought I’d be a person who just existed. I just won’t pull the tree out. It’ll keep the bleeding under control.

-Melissa

Helpless.

“How dare you.

There was a tragedy placed before me and those were the three words that rang through my mind. They were at the very forefront, refusing to be ignored.

“How dare you.”

I filled in the silence that followed:

“How dare you be so selfish. How dare you be so wrapped up in your own damn mind that, even as this story is being shared with you, you can’t push away your pain. How dare you be holding back tears because of your ‘pain’ when there are so many people in this world who are going through SO MUCH WORSE things than you. You are being selfish. You need to get outside yourself. You need to be there for the people around you. You are so consumed with the fact that no one has reached out to you that you’ve stopped reaching out to others. You’ve isolated yourself. You can barely handle other people’s pain because you can’t handle your own. How dare you. You are supposed to be able to carry other people burdens. Why can’t you put yours aside for a moment? Why can’t you get out of your own head? You should be taking care of people- loving people. Isn’t that what you do? You haven’t been doing that lately. You don’t even care about the people around you. You’re being selfish, only caring about yourself. How dare you. This is not how you are supposed to act. You need to snap out of this. It’s ridiculous. You need to get up. You need to do something. All you want is for someone to see you and, yet, you keep to yourself. You want people to ask how you are and then lie when they do. How dare you. How dare you get so wrapped up in your own problems like this. You are supposed to be better than this. What you are dealing with is nothing- NOTHING- compared to other peoples pain. How dare you. How dare you. How dare you.

I had no words to fight back and other peoples pain layered itself on my own and tears came to my eyes and weight came to my arms and my hands shook and my breath fought against me and I tried to think of ways I could help and my mind swirled and I wondered if there was anything that could be done and sadness hit me again and again and again until I fell. Helpless.

-Melissa

Letter.

To the fixers:

Maybe you don’t know what else to do, so you give a suggestion. Maybe my problem seems easy to you. Maybe you can’t relate. Maybe you see an easy solution and you can’t imagine why I haven’t seen it. Maybe I have. Maybe it’s not as easy as you suggest. Maybe I can’t do what you can do. Maybe your solution is just a step in the right direction, but that same solution is surrounded by obstacles in my life. Maybe I don’t need a solution. Maybe I don’t need you to fix this. Maybe you want to help and you want to take control and fix this. Breathe. Just take a breath and be here with me. This can’t be fixed so easily.

To the challengers:

I see my flaws. I know there are many things I need to change. I’m probably more aware of them than you are. You challenge me to have perspective. You challenge me to think in different ways. You challenge me to think passed this. I can do those things. And nothing you are saying is wrong. But you’re invalidating what I’m feeling. I’m in a vulnerable place and you’re telling me, “Hey. I know what you’re feeling. But stop feeling that. Because you haven’t thought about it in this way. You just need some perspective.” I am allowed to feel what I’m feeling. You make me feel like I’m bad because I’m feeling this way. Just stop. Just hear me. Empathize with me.

To the uncomfortable:

You asked me why I was crying. So I told you. So you made a face that said you understood. Then you looked away. And you looked back and talked about something else. You tried to make me laugh. You ignored what I said. I know you’re not comfortable. I know you don’t want to help me carry this burden. Then please don’t ask. If you can’t handle it, please don’t ask me why I have tears in my eyes. Please don’t ask me how I’m doing. Because watching you see my pain and then ignore it? That’s something I can’t handle. So if you want to engage in my pain with me, then please do. But if you don’t want to–if you can’t– then leave me alone.

To the distracted:

You heard me. You not only heard me, but you said all the right things. You are the closest I’ve gotten to feeling a bit of relief from the sadness inside of me. You have gotten my hopes up that maybe, just maybe, I’m not alone. But you are busy. And the hours and the days and the weeks pass by and you seem to forget everything I said to you. When you see me, sometimes I can see you still remember, but you’re hurried. You have to move on to your next task, your next meeting. You say we’ll connect again soon as you pass by. Or you are so busy and distracted that you never follow through. In any way. You don’t even ask how I’m doing. Either be one thing or the other. Either be my friend, or don’t. But do not get my hopes up.

To the listeners:

Where are you?

-Melissa

Professor.

The sky is turning black and the page is blank.

My eyes locked on the darkening window as soft voices drifted in from the open door.

Can you accept something and still be sad?

Ah, yes. Wow, that just connected to far too many parts of my life.

You see, professor, I can’t finish my paper. I can barely lift my hands, let alone a pencil. You see, professor, my head leans against the back of the couch and it’s hard to lift it again. You see, professor, I’m finding it hard to concentrate.

No, professor, I am not tired. Yes, I’ve been getting enough sleep. Yes, I’ve been paying attention (when I can) in class. Yes, you will get your paper on time. No, professor, it will not be my best work. And you see, professor, I can’t care.

You see, professor, this classroom becomes too small. I feel suffocated by the lack of…I don’t know– life? in this classroom. You see, professor, my classmates keep talking about how challenge needs to be paired with support. But you see, professor, they’ve forgotten to pair support with challenge. Professor, their challenges weigh down on me and I fight to not grow bitter against them. Because, you see, professor, they don’t see into my life. They don’t see my loneliness or these days (and days) when I’m unbearably sad. You see, professor, I’m not really close to them. They forget about me. They don’t ask me how I am. And you see, professor, that makes the loneliness so much stronger.

But professor, you don’t see.

And I’ve accepted that this is the way it is for a while. For a while, I will struggle to breathe. I will passively drown. But I wonder if I’ll ever swim again.

I used to be so good at swimming.

Don’t worry, professor. I’ll finish your paper. I’ll make something up. You’ll get it in time.

-Melissa

Unseen.

Quietly, I shut the door behind me, the light disappearing as it closed. Silently, I slipped up the steps, hoping this was okay. I had ignored the “authorized personnel only” sign on the door. No one saw me enter and once I was in the balcony, no one below had reason to turn around. I was safe.

One empty chair was there. I grabbed it and began to roll it closer to his, which drew his attention for the first time. Surprise lit his face as he said hello. In typical fashion, he reached for my hand and shook it, doing some handshake I had never been able to catch on to. Then he pulled me closer for a hug and told me it was good to see me. It was good to see him too.

“We’ve missed you.”

I just smiled.

If he had said, “I’ve missed you,” I would have been able to respond that I missed him too. That I wish I could see him more. But he said “we” and I didn’t know who “we” was and I couldn’t say anything polite back while still being truthful. So I just smiled.

If I missed the “we” I assume he was talking about, I wouldn’t have had to sneak up to this vantage point. I could have walked in like a normal person and sat on the ground level in the chairs with all the normal people. But I knew they would be among the normal people, and so I couldn’t.

He was the only one of them I felt comfortable around. The one who had treated me kindly. More than that. He treated me like I had value. He saw beyond what he could get from me and saw into who I was. And not only did he see that, but he accepted that. He accepted me for who I was. He still does. And I can smile and laugh and talk with him without faking everything. He saw me in a world where I had been glanced over. A world in which, if I was seen, it was only to look briefly down on me, as if I was some annoyance to remove. Not worth the time they were forced to devote to me.

Before the show had ended, I felt the need to get out before anyone saw me. I leaned over and whispered that I had to go and he hugged me again. I told him it was good to see him and he told me it was good to see me too. He said, “Come back again” and without thinking, I replied with a simple, “I will.”

And maybe I will. But only when it’s safe. And when there are a couple of people wondering around him that are not safe, I can’t make any guarantees.

I slipped back down the stairs and out the door. Through the lobby, quickly, without even a glance around and made my way outside. As I made it through the double doors unseen, the fresh air hit me and I took a few steps before my air threatened to leave me. I stood still, trying to breathe, a relief at being out running through me and pulling tears to my eyes. I stood for a good moment like that, trying to not let sadness and hurt and disappointment and death and sweet relief overwhelm me.

They sure did do a number on me, didn’t they?

Remember the entry where I wrote about having to leave good things behind when you left bad things? He’s one of the good things. And it sucks having to leave those good things behind.

But I can’t face the bad things.

-Melissa