heh, i suppose here, around the halfway point, is where i start to wonder why i decided to do this for seven days because i’m petering out, i’m running out of steam. i started drafting this whole series in early september, and i’d gotten down pretty significant chunks of drafts down for all the other posts except this.
(though most of them have gone through heavy revisions/rewrites, which is par for the course.)
i wanted to say something about beauty, though, the physical beauty of the world that constantly startles me and soothes me. i posted an instagram once, i think earlier this year, about how the fact that i can respond to earthly beauty is something of hope for me, an indication that there is something living in me that reacts viscerally to what i see and finds not only pleasure in it but some kind of profundity, something of which i can’t quite explain or put my finger on.
i’ve heard it told to the suicidal and depressed to look around at the world, at the beauty that surrounds us. i’ve found that to be pretty useless advice because one of the things depression and suicidal thinking do is that it cuts the connection between recognizing beauty and drawing meaning from that beauty.
to put it in other words, it’s not that we don’t recognize the beauty in the world around us. it’s that that beauty has no significance, doesn’t have that profoundness that non-depressed, non-suicidal brains can compute.
and, yet, when i think about wellness and what that means, how we can try to achieve it, i include go on long walks in those mental lists — and they are lists because wellness isn’t as simple and one-note as just going to therapy and thinking that’s enough, or taking meds and thinking that’s enough, or doing hatever bare minimum and thinking that’s enough.
wellness is the whole goddamn package.
it’s going to therapy and seeing your psychiatrist and taking your meds. it’s eating well and exercising, going for long walks and breathing in deep and exhaling hard. it’s seeing movies and going to concerts and spending time with friends over meals, on road trips, over drinks. it’s taking naps in the afternoon. it’s watching late night talk shows until you fall asleep. it’s talking to people, listening to people, letting people be there for you. it’s letting people love you.
it’s taking all that generosity and all that love and storing it up for when you are better and can put that generosity and love back out there in the world.
it’s getting out of your head, out of your room, out of your apartment when you can. it’s eating entire packages of pepperidge farm chessmen in one go. it’s reading and reading and reading because that’s escape, too.
it’s staying in bed all day, not showering, curling up and sleeping the hours away when you just can’t take it anymore. it’s listening to your brain, your body, and modifying your life to match the energy you can spend. it’s being present, exulting in your successes, big and small, and learning to talk down fear and anxiety and pain.
it’s the whole goddamn thing.
i will give this to california: the damn state knows its colors.