Solitude

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I’m standing on Nickerson Field surrounded by graduates, reminiscing about my own college experience — my regrets, my accomplishments, how far I’ve come since then — when the band starts to play and everyone on the field starts singing along. I’m happy, of course, at this joyous celebration, but I’m also overwhelmed by such a wave of emotion that I almost start to cry. This happens to me a lot, I reflect, grimacing my face to hold back tears. At sports games, at races, at concerts and parades, movies, comedy shows. I wonder if it happens to anyone else?  It’s like a million different stories, hopes, disappointments, broken hearts, successes wash over me all at once and all I can do is drown in the tidal wave of intensity.  I feel so interconnected with humanity and it’s such a beautiful and magical feeling to be channeling all of that at once. I’m all alone in the crowd, but I’m a part of every single soul there. And so I cry.

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Today I had one of those days (probably some female hormone thing) where simple tasks like putting pots away made me suddenly want to cry. Everything made me flustered and cranky. I was tired. I didn’t go running. I spent the whole day feeling lonely and isolated, sad and unloved, even though I know none of that is actually true. Today was one of those days where it was hard to focus and hard to appreciate all the little things I normally love. I have a day or two like this a month, and I know it will pass, but usually I indulge myself a bit, let myself wallow in it while that sadness lingers. I listen to depressing music, read old emails that make me feel bad about myself, or think of all the reasons my life isn’t what I want it to be. But today I decided to focus on those moments when I feel so interconnected to the world, like at graduation. I forced myself to laugh and make a joke when I felt more like getting annoyed or angry. I spent some time organizing my personal email, following up with people when I felt like shutting down, and forced myself to write here when I didn’t feel like I had anything worthwhile to say. I reread emails that made me feel good and thought about compliments that people had paid me. And you know what? Even though I did let myself listen to some music that made me sad (it’s not my fault the Lana del Ray song “Young and Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby is so darn addictive!), I am closing the day feeling peaceful and at ease instead cranky and miserable.

So it made me think that maybe happiness is a daily choice and not some grand, distant state we all should be striving towards for the future. Maybe it’s here and now, everyday, if we only let ourselves feel it.

How was your day today? Do you ever have moments where you feel like crying when you shouldn’t?

 

 

 

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2 responses »

  1. Rachel, I’m so grateful that you share your blog posts on facebook! I’ve been enjoying your writings, and find myself nodding in agreement with much of what you share. I too find myself so emotionally overwhelmed by and connected to the human experience that I often fight back tears (or let them wash over me) and make that same cringed face. Just today on the train ride home, I was watching video clips of people experiencing unexpected joy and absurdity, and it nearly brought me to tears. Had there not been someone sitting right next to me, I would have shed a few.

    I think it’s a beautiful gift to be so sensitive and tapped into the collective experiences and emotions of humanity. I also think it’s awesome that you were able to mindfully steer yourself from a place of potential negativity and self-doubt to a place of peace and ease. I know that’s not always easy, but how empowering to choose that for yourself!

    Keep writing, old friend, and know that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed (in a good way) by the intensity of being human 🙂

    • Jen,

      So nice to hear from you and thank you for the thoughtful (and well-written) comment! I made a promise to myself to be more open about how I feel, and the more I do that the more I find how truly connected and similar we all are, even in the feelings of isolation or loneliness that can plague us. Humanity is truly an amazing and beautiful thing.

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