Day Forty-Seven: Band-Aids

It really wasn’t much of a secret that I’ve been feeling pretty down lately. I got to New Orleans on Thursday with a distinct air of misery that led to unfairly torturing Le Novio.

Mardi Gras is this kind of magical thing in which every aspect of your normal life is no longer happening. You are not sad during Mardi Gras. It is not possible. It’s escapism at its most distracting.

I haven’t been down since that first night I got here. I’ve been tired, drunk, hungry, annoying, sloppy, sore, enthusiastic, excited, exhausted and frustrated; but in an immediate way. In a way where emotions are but the thoughts jumping into your brain at that moment and your brain has no capacity for more. It’s like when you hit your thumb with a hammer. You don’t think about he fact that you’ve been depressed for six months, you think about how badly your thumb hurts. So there are feelings, and there are emotions.

Somewhere along the line in my previous life (my old New Orleans life), I realized that I was living my feelings and not my emotions. I wasn’t thinking. I was going day to day. If someone asked me how I was I’d say “tired” or “hungry”. I wouldn’t have said “Questioning my existential reason for continuing to continuing to contribute to this planet.”

So that’s why I said, last week from the confines of my isolation cave, that I was down. I was remembering how to have emotions again as opposed to feelings.

It’s wrong to say that some people are “deep” and some are “superficial,” but there is a distinction between these two types of feelings. Some people will go through their entire lives worrying/feeling only things like their thumb hurting. Some people will try to get a bit deeper.

I am prone to depression, but, at least for me (and why I personally chose to ride it out rather than medicating), with those bouts of depression come these wonderfully soaring highs. There are so many shades of sad ranging from “hey, I got a stain on my shirt” to, well… sorts of overwhelming, bleak horrors of the mind that have even become too taboo to speak of (“Voldemort.”). Same goes for happiness. How can “happy” both mean “I got a great grade on my test!” and “I literally feel like my life is the most beautiful, cosmic ideal of perfection”? What incomplete and hollow words. Sad and happy. It’s too general to grasp any sort of meaning. Their meaning is entirely situational.

What I’m trying to say is, life is gonna cut you. It’s going to irreparably gouge you until you are a whole other shape than when you came into this world. You can examine that wound. You can look at it, pick at it, cry about it, stitch it up, or stick a band-aid on it. A band-aid isn’t going to heal the wound, or make it feel any better, but it’s going to cover it up. It’s going to push it from your mind. Hell, maybe you’ll even eventually forget that wound is under there. But do you want to?

Sometimes, what kills me, is that society wants you to wear that band-aid–to focus on job, money, kids, repeat. To only think about the movement through our day. And for some people,that’s perfectly fine. That’s all there is. They are the same people that have feelings, but very few emotions. And good for them. Statistically, they’re more “happy.”

But, what’s so wrong with digging a little deeper? When did our wounds become shameful? When did depth of emotion become wrong and band-aids become the central focus of our society? Our language barely even has a vocabulary to discuss these emotions. It’s all vague and word-less because no one seems to think it ok to talk about it. We don’t read Kierkegaard or Kafka in public. You read them alone in your room. We read James Patterson in public.

I like doing things that are simple. I like reading lists on buzzfeed. I like putting on pretty dresses. I like drinking Scotch whisky. I like hanging out with my friends and telling stupid stories. I like to do so many thought-less, superficial actions and they make my day go by without any complaints. In the most simple form, they make me happy. But they aren’t going to fundamentally–from the root up–inspire the sort of delirious joy I sometimes feel or prevent that lingering haze of depression.

Those things–like Mardi Gras–are escapist band-aids and when the true emotions deep within my being come welling up… well, I’ll bleed right through them.

I’m not hurting anyone. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m just trying to explore the recesses of my own mind.

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