Life is a Good Kind of Sadness

I am having one of those days where I just want to listen to sad music all day and mope. You know what I am talking about--there is absolutely nothing wrong today, and I have nothing to be sad about, but I find myself being drawn inward with Elliot Smith, Neko case, or any of the other hundreds of sad songs I keep around me at close range, with the desire to just sit and do nothing but think and process. (My brother once put my iPod on shuffle, only to soon change to his own music, because "Oh, right. You listen to 'that kind' of music.") The sun is shining its little heart out outside, but in my office, with the shades drawn, I am none the wiser.

Why is it so appealing to be sad? I believe that it is easier to be sad than happy, and that you can also be sad and happy at the same time. Good ole melancholy. Christopher once said that "Life is a good kind of sadness," the sadness that is comfortable and warm. Safe. Familiar.

I think that for people coming out of a traumatic time or life change, it is hard to be ok with being happy. The misery was so present for so long that it is hard to imagine a time without it. Sure, there may have been fun times within the pain, but the lingering dark cloud was still there. When the event has ended or you've moved past it, those first days of joy or lifted weight seem so foreign or scary. You don't trust it, and you don't know what to do with it. So often we find something to be miserable about--an object that you can't find or control, an exchange with a stranger, anything that you can place blame and negative energy on to, because that is what we know and we have to put those feelings somewhere. As humans, we don't gravitate towards contentment naturally. We have to really work for it and live in those moments when we have them.

It's so appealing, isn't it? The lull of misery, being the struggling artist, never to be understood, constantly searching for any sense of self. Listening to the chant of "I could nevers" in your head. Should I fight it? Or should I let it take me away so I can live in it and process it and let it move on, leaving me stronger and wiser in the sand.


And yet, as I write this, I get a simple message over the internet from the love of my life who is also sitting in front of a lit up box but in a different town, and I smile and realize that I really am happy. And so I switch my music over to something a little more upbeat.