October 4, 2011

Why It’s Easier To Write When You’re Sad

When we’re upset, we often feel compelled to record it. We write it down to vent, listing the reasons why we feel crappy and then attach a melodramatic ending. Reading entries from high school in my Livejournal, I’m shocked by how perma-bummed I seemed. Because that’s not the high school experience I remember today. I thought I freaking loved high school. Everything was carefree and euphoric. Sure, I had some lows but what teenager didn’t? When I was 16, I guess I was just more interested in talking about how depressed I was. Every entry is so dramatic with me writing things like, “Waited for a phone call that never came today. It’s official: no one gives a crap about me.” or “i can’t keep going like this. one day I’m just going to snap…” We laugh at how silly these things sound but they felt so real at the time. We were the proud owners of our dumb feelings.

I would like to think that things have changed, that I enjoy writing more about happy things and recalling funny experiences. And in a way, I do. But it’s also obvious that I like to write a lot about depressing stuff as well. I joke that it’s a good thing that I’m single right now because it makes for some #dark relatable pieces. My writing is going to totally suffer when I get another boyfriend and fall in love again. Instead of articles like “OMG, BEING ALONE IS REALLY LONELY” or “5 Reasons Why I Hate Being Single: Part 4533334″, I’ll write stuff like “Another Thing That Made Me Feel Happy Today” or “Here’s What It Feels Like To Be Loved So Much.”

All kidding aside, there is truth in profiting off of your own grief. As Kat mentioned, when you’re happy, you don’t ask why. But when you’re sad, all you ever do is ask yourself why. You have so many questions for yourself and about life in general. You’re tuned in not only to your sadness but to the sadness that exists all around you. You notice the old woman buying cottage cheese at the bodega or the person sitting alone at the movies and you empathize with them. You carry their grief around with you and then you go home and vomit up the grief on WordPress.  As a writer, you want to scribble {or type} everything out to help better make sense of it all. If you’re LUCKY enough to be a blogger like me, you want to commiserate with your peers and  feel less alone so you turn to the Internet for therapy. You write something powerful and sad in the hopes that someone will be feeling the exact same way as you. Lo and behold,  a minute later you have comments that say, “I thought I was the only one that felt this way! Get out of my head!” No, honey. I’m staying put. Sharing a brain with you makes me feel like we’re alone, together.

I want to admit something. Sometimes when I’m feeling blocked and can’t find anything to write about (this happens rarely as I have a ton of feelings about every little thing), I listen to melancholy music and look at old pictures. Isn’t that gross? It’s like manufactured grief! No, it’s like the fast food of sadness! In and out, the feelings go! Made to order! Ew. But it’s real! When I wake up feeling neutral, it’s hard to feel empowered to write something. What do I have to say? Nothing. So let’s turn on a little Slowdive. Oh dear, this hits the G spot (grief, duh). Oh, keep that haze coming. Now, I’m really sad. OK, now I’m ready. Ready, set, go!

Yeah, it’s pretty embarrassing, huh? I like writing humor pieces as much as I like writing the doom and gloom stuff. But the latter just seems more accessible at times. Like I could think of a few good jokes and create a story around of it. Or I could just take a shot of Bummer juice and get to it. Both topics are honest. And whether I warm up with some Mazzy Star or not, the words are genuine. The experiences are real. I guess this post has just been a giant excuse to be like, “You guys, don’t worry so much about me! I’m not really a gay single guy who’s crying in his bed 24/7. I just play one on the Internet.” Well, sort of. TC mark

image – Wikipedia