Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Stormy Sea

"Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean. Tears from the depth of some divine despair Rise in the heart and gather to the eyes, In looking on the happy autumn-fields, And thinking of the days that are no more." Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The thing about sadness is that it keeps hitting you, in garganuan waves, just when you thought it was through with you. And then the whole cumbersome process starts again, the desperate gulps for air, the sinking sense that nothing will ever feel good again and the echoing emptiness.

“The word 'happiness' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”
-Carl Gustav Jung

There are lucid moments when you feel like everything is fine, when you can almost enjoy the fall leaves and the hot mulled cider and then, blammo, you go under again. You want to crawl out from underneath it but it just keeps dragging you back down.

“It's easy to cry when you realize that everyone you love will reject you or die.” - Chuck Palahniuk

“You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent their making a nest in your hair” - Chinese Proverbs

Then you get bored with yourself and bored of the melodrama. Ready for something, anything, to get you back on track. You try to eat something, fuel yourself for the next day but it is impossible to escape the doom and the gloom that makes food taste like sawdust. The slow, inevitable passage of time weighs heavy, dampening any happy thoughts that try to break through the darkness.

“One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.”
- Erich Fromm

“Change is certain. Peace is followed by disturbances; departure of evil men by their return. Such recurrences should not constitute occasions for sadness but realities for awareness, so that one may be happy in the interim.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Ultimately though, there are not many options besides going forward, picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and stepping back into the stream of things. But sometimes you need a lot of time to get over the sadness, so you make yourself limp and let it sweep your rag doll body down to the depths of its ocean bottom over and over again.

“The mind that is wise mourns less for what age takes away; than what it leaves behind.” William Wordsworth

“I hold it true, whatever befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; 'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground. - Oscar Wilde


Emotion. An unpleasant visceral feeling of sorrow, unhappiness, depression, or gloom.

Usage: Sadness shows a. in bowing postures of the body wall; b. in the cry face and lip-pout; c. in gazing-down; d. in a slumped (i.e., flexed-forward) posture of the shoulders; and e. in the audible sigh.

RESEARCH REPORTS: 1. Signs of sadness include drooping eyelids; flaccid muscles; hanging head; contracted chest; lowered lips, cheeks, and jaw ("all sink downwards from their own weight"); downward-drawn mouth corners; raised inner-ends of the eyebrows (i.e., contraction of "grief muscles"); and remaining motionless and passive (Darwin 1872:176-77). 2. Sadness shows most clearly in the eye area (Ekman, Friesen, and Tomkins 1971).

Evolution. Sadness is a mammalian feeling which stems from a. grief associated with maternal-infant separation, and b. defeat inflicted in fighting.

Anatomy. In acute sadness, muscles of the throat constrict, salivary glands release a viscous fluid, repeated swallowing occurs, the eyes close tightly, and the lacrimal glands release tears. Facial signs include a. frowning eyebrows (corrugator supercilii, occipitofrontalis, and orbicularis oculi muscles contract); b. frowning mouth (depressor anguli oris); c. pouted or compressed lips (orbicularis oris); and d. depression and eversion of the lower lip (depressor labii inferioris)--as the facial features constrict as if to seal-off contact with the outside world.

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