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the fall of the worlds own optimist

I could get back up if you insist, but you'll have to ask politely

here's the thing. I've been sad lately. and by "lately", I mean "for a while", and by "a while" I mean nearly a year. Now I am prone to bouts of melancholy, as is well WELL documented here, but this year has been different. For one, I haven't cried as much. Real tears, on people's shoulders - whatever. It's been a much quieter, much softer sadness. The kind that creeps in on me like shadows, falling in the absence of light. It seeps into voids in conversation, in activity, in life... filling up each gap, darkness spilling over from one into the next, finding new cracks in my facade along its way. And I feel it, I feel it everyday. My tolerance is weak, I snap at what i once might have laughed off, I'm angry and sad and holding it all together on the outside is becoming such a burden that I retreat all too often from the glare of the public.

At first my sadness would come like summer shower, intense but brief and almost cathartic. Now it's more like a drizzle or a mist, but one so pervasive that you'd barely notice it except for the shivering. And I am. Shivering. It's instinct. It's survival. This overwhelming and involuntary movement you make to stay warm. And I can feel my brain jolt violently, trying to generate warmth, trying to shake free of this mist, this cloud it has settled into. And it works, for a while. I have good days. I create them with good friends and good conversations, I feed them with beautiful music. And I manufacture hope. Yes, I manufacture it these days. THAT is what is different. THAT is what is missing this time around.

I haven't ever had much luck with love, and haven't ever really had much ambition of my my own past that. But as beaten down as I've been by love, by life, by circumstances (inside or outside of my control), I was ok. I had hope. The "springs eternal" kind. And I had it by the boatload. Faith, not only in a cosmic order of things... but that somehow that grand design would bless me with some version of the life I'd always dreamed of for myself. And that faith was tested, that hope brought to its knees, and yet always proved steadfast before. Only I'm tired now. Its too heavy for me to shoulder, and it hangs limply by my side. Like an apparition that one might see, but can't quite believe in. Maybe it's part of getting older, more than likely its having what feels like my last vestiges of innocence undone. Whatever the impetus, I looked up one day and honestly considered that it might not happen for me, that I might live my life entirely without ever making my dreams into some semblance of reality. And when I let the weight of that realization sink in, it felt so heavy, so heavy I fear I may not be able to shake free from it this time. Hope my shield, or perhaps my cataract, I'd never accepted the possibility before.

So where does that leave me? Do I valiantly set out, change direction and plot a new course? Find a road to contentedness with or without love, my dreams, my family? Is that giving in? Is that giving up? Or is that being realistic? Or do I dig in my heels, stick with what I know, aim for what I've always wanted & hope I don't come up short? Maybe choosing isn't what scares me. Maybe there's not really a choice after all, and that is what is most disturbing. I know all I can do is let go. Let go of expectation, let go of hope and doubt altogether and just free fall into the unknown. Stop worrying about the future and concentrate on my now, on me and what I am, not what I would be. But damn that's hard. You've got to move clouds for that. and well, much as i've come to love the rain, sometimes I just wish I had an umbrella.