The Art of Sadness

DSC_0205I chose this image because I’ve been completely underusing my camera and this seemed nice. I mean, I could try to make the sea water-salty tears connection but that seems a little far fetched. On with the post… 

This week has been all about the tears. I don’t know if it’s the underlying cold my Mum gave me, the stress, occasional boredom and constant tiredness revision is causing me or just my general sensitivity to all things human, but for the past week I’ve found myself welling up near every day. I’m not talking hysterical, sobbing, heart wrenching cries, just a few tears here and there.

Have you ever listened to the Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs? I recently discovered their back catalogue. Each week, a celebrity is interviewed about their childhood, life and achievements whilst in the process selecting eight songs they’d take with them to a desert island. I’ve just flicked through and listened to the people I’m most interested in, but I’m enjoying them so much I might start listening to the people I’ve never heard of as well. The thing is, almost all of them have left me walking around Glasgow with tears rolling down my face. Whether it’s an inspirational story, beautifully poignant song or their sharing of the sadnesses in their lives, they just really get me. It’s made me ponder lots about my desert island discs and a few songs have cropped up which seem like contenders, but maybe I’ll save them for another post.

This morning, I listened to a song I’d deliberately avoided for about a year. It made me well up behind my sunglasses (pause to appreciate the fact I finally needed sunglasses, please!) and I had to just breathe my way through this wave of emotion which, I won’t lie, I fully expected to hit me. The thing is though, I like a good cry, maybe more than most people. I love that heart wrenching feeling of happiness, sadness, anger. For me, it means the emotions that have been bubbling away under the surface are forming themselves in a way I know how to handle.

I realised not long ago that one of my most treasured memories is one of almost complete sadness. Last summer when I was going through what seemed like the worst thing in my world , Hayley rushed straight down to see me. She came to the door with wine, tissues, cupcakes and painkillers. We ate, we spoke, I cried, she hugged me… I cried more. We paddled in the river and skimmed stones. We drank and got tipsy and we laughed, when I thought it impossible but when I needed it most. We sat in the garden, glamorous midgie repelling candles lit, drinking wine and listening to Foy Vance’s album and she was my shoulder to cry on. Quite literally. I felt nothing but sadness in that moment. But now? I look back and appreciate that memory as much as some of my happiest ones. It made our friendship closer and reflects exactly what I was experiencing at that point in time. I think remembering every detail of the saddest memory is just as valuable as remembering every detail of the happiest. Take that thing you just want to push to the back of your mind and learn from it, grow from it, use it, embrace it, welcome it. Sadness and happiness run right alongside each other and often, I think we need one to make, or at least realise, the other. (Watch Inside Out at least twice for a wonderful explanation and reflection of this.)

So that’s why I don’t mind all the tears I’ve had this week, and why I especially made myself deal with the ones that came from a genuine and personal place of sadness. Why be afraid of feeling something your mind, heart and body want you to to feel? Even further than that, why be afraid of talking about it and sharing it? Most people will be in the same boat as you. Embrace the emotions! Appreciate and love them. Hopefully that way, the less enjoyable ones  become a little more bearable.

Kath xx

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