Monday, February 05, 2007

i gotta wear shades

I'm not sure exactly what happened this weekend, but something definitely shifted. Maybe it was hanging out with all sorts of awesome people and laughing my ass off in a mutual love-fest. Perhaps it was the Fifth Annual Potomac Bedlam Showdown, complete with yours truly catching a pass and running for five whole yards before getting clobbered. Maybe it was the fun of watching the Superbowl with friends old and new and getting to be happy for people who have so much love in their lives and excited that however tangentially, I get to share in it.

But this weekend I felt really light for the first time in a long time, getting things done, kicking ass and taking names and generally being a good person on top of her shit.

I didn't realize how much of a funk I've been in lately until Sunday's lunch with a friend I haven't seen for a while. We've both been mucking through the manure of life over the last few months, dealing with sick family members and complicated encounters with not-worth-it guys. As we were filling one another in on recent events, breathlessly volleying stories like Ping-Pong balls, she paused for a moment.

"Em, I don't want to seem too-- over-reaching. And I feel bad here, because I know I shouldn't get caught up on your life from your blog. But like, recently in your writing, you've seemed pretty down."

Her candor caught me off guard for the tiniest of seconds, but I wasn't offended at all. "You're right," I mused. "I have been depressed lately." I said it with a slight air of surprise and curiosity, almost like it was a compliment. As if finally I had a name for how blue I've been.

It's funny how it takes someone else to point out something that should be obvious. Of course I've been down. Between my dad being sick and alone, winter weather doldrums, living paycheck to paycheck and the fear of being trapped since I know I'm going to be at my job for at least another year, well, yeah, shoot! It'd be easy for even a well-adjusted, organized person to feel a little lost.

I've just been so reluctant to admit that it's not normal for me to go an entire week without my sides hurting from laughter or without going out to new exhibits, concerts, meeting new people. Or that in accidentally drinking so much on a Monday that I was hungover for the next 36 hours, maybe I was not so much having fun as I was trying to self-medicate. I've been reluctant to appear self-indulgent or self-pitying, but that reluctance to do anything about how I was feeling gave me a kind of gray, sluggish approach to daily life. Like when the apartment is a disaster and you have reading to do for class and should really catch up on work email and so you don't go out with friends, but then you wind up spending the entire night eating hummus and watching 13 Going on 30 for the twenty-seventh time and go to bed at 4 AM feeling all bloated and guilty and behind on life. I've done this twice in the last month, in case you were wondering.

I'm not sure if it's good or bad that I got myself out of this funk without getting any professional help. On the one hand, it's nice to know that I have great friends who can help me through the tough stuff and that I'm capable of pulling myself up from a slump and willing happiness to come. On the other hand, maybe I could have gotten over that episode faster if I'd talked to someone about all the crap that was filling my head. Certainly I would have saved Blogger the pain of having to store some really maudlin entries that, dear Internet, you should be most grateful I didn't inflict on your tender eyes.

It's hard to get perspective on a situation when you're smack in the middle of it. After this weekend, I feel like I'm finally getting started with the year after all the false starts in January. I've got big plans in the works, work plans and a birthday to celebrate this weekend. Most importantly, I'll restart 2007 knowing that if I ever get that down again, I shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.

Onwards and upwards.


I-66 said...

Birthday celebration you say? Don't mind if I do!

Lisa said...

I promised everyone at Cap Lounge that I'd start being a "comment whore". But it wasn't a stretch to want to comment on your insightful entry.

I don't know what it was about this group of people, but Saturday night brought me out of a really long funk as well. Sick parents, no place to live, no job, few friends, bad relationship... It all comes at once, doesn't it? Wish we had more time to talk at Cap Lounge the other night, but that only means we'll get to do it again, for sure.

Lisa (the tall one)

Hey Pretty said...

It's so easy to retreat without meaning to when things get emotionally difficult. I was feeling the same thing, and I found once I stepped outside of myself that everyone else seems to be feeling it too these days. This is why everyone needs to come out of their little shells more often so that we may all share drinks at the Cap Lounge. Anyhoo. Glad you came out, wasn't that fun?

Anonymous said...

Hey! That was US! I felt totally energized by meeting with you and by converging with everyone. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

I know that thinking is totally original and might throw some people off in its innovation, but, truly, I think we were all meant to come together, and I'm so happy it has a positive an effect on you as it did on me.

So bummed about your birthday celebration. So very bummed, but no one said we only get to celebrate once, so keep the streamers up and your pants down. Or, no. Maybe not.