I’m usually an exceptionally happy individual – bouncy, optimistic, loud, and glad to share affection with the world. When I do get in one of my “funks” it’s very short-lived: a quick session of crying and then I’m back to functioning at my usual, extroverted level.
I also have a love for slow, sad music. I like reading books that plunge me into existential melancholy. My favorite movies are ones where I’m crying throughout. I’m most creative during gloomy days and rain, when I’m sitting alone at a cafe. When I can’t sleep, I take walks by myself to think. I’m an International Affairs and Political Science student – that speaks for itself.
Here’s what I think it is – I have a quiet melancholy in me, one that makes itself known through ambience and art. It’s not very salient whatsoever, a private bit of me that I can bask in without having to bare myself to the world like I usually do (so maybe the fact that I’m sharing this in a blog post is a bit counterintuitive, but whatever). Maybe throwing myself headfirst into something akin to sadness isn’t the best, or healthiest, idea but it helps me purge myself of any sentiment that might have been buried under my usual glee. It’s not an explosive burst of emotion, but more like a silent reflection, where no words need expression and all I have is my own company.
College in interesting in that sense. I’m constantly surrounded by people, be it in class, on the streets, within the company of my own friends and constant conversation is not unusual. I don’t think I’ve had a day completely to myself since I got here and that’s not an issue, but it does leave me wanting and antsy when I’m alone not of my own accord. Moments like right now, then, are moments I cherish, when I can make a natural transition into solitude and savor my own company without feeling like I’m out of a loop or without friends. I listen to jazz instrumentals, read the news, write, work, whatever, subject to nothing except my own volition.
I can look up and observe the sky as it darkens and dulls, the clouds as they float past and (hopefully) obscure the sun, choose whether I want to feel my knuckles freeze and the cold numb my face or if I’d rather stay toasty indoors in coffee-scented warmth: and the best part? Either option is equally appealing. I feel a wholeness in this temporary melancholy, by sheer virtue of the fact that I have the luxury of allowing myself to feel the depths of this somewhat-sadness.
Perhaps to other people this doesn’t seem like sadness at all. And it probably isn’t. But it’s the closest thing to sadness that I can experience; my emotions span extremes, elation, anger, (rarely) depression, helplessness, love, but sadness is alien. So there’s liberation in this chosen-melancholy, as strange as it seems, and it happens little enough that I can cherish it and feel at home when it does.
I’m getting dinner with a friend now and that is going to peel this melancholic haze from around me. And before I do shed the cloak, I wanted to articulate the feeling.
It doesn’t last long but goodness, do I feel it while it lasts.