It’s interesting being so depressed.
I had this funny thought the other day as I baked peanut butter cookies with Ellie. I put the cookies in the oven for the directed amount of time, but when I went to take them out, the cookies were still gooey (and trust me, I am a gooey cookie aficionado, but I also don’t want salmonella, so there’s that).
I kept having to pull the cookies out, prod them, then pop them back in the oven. And I thought, I am just like these cookies. Take me out of the oven, and I can pass for okay at first glance. But on closer inspection, I’m half-baked. Gooey. Not safe for consumption.
I am two disparate sides of a coin. Flat and spirited. Disheartened and hopeful. Lost but grounded. I am a balloon that some kid has set forth into the sky on some mission, and I have no idea where I am going to end up.
I am not where I thought I would be at this point in my life. I am not where I have worked to be at this juncture. This is not what I wanted for my family–for my daughter.
Yes, it is depressing. Yes, I am depressed.
And that’s okay.
Every morning I walk Ellie to school in whatever I can find to throw on. Then I go back home, eat, work out, shower, put actual clothes on, and get to work (or class).
And every day I wonder what gives me the gumption to actually put my pants on in the morning (apart from the odd looks I would get if I didn’t–and probably the public nudity citation). Because honestly, I don’t usually want to. I don’t want to put jeans on. I don’t want to do data entry. I don’t want to get off the couch. I don’t want to take the dog out. I don’t want to put dishes away (again). I don’t want to re-write that paper.
Often, I have to tuck these thoughts away and just be okay with the not wanting to, and with the doing it anyway. Flipping the autopilot switch on if necessary.
I know somehow that this won’t last forever. That sometimes the only way out is through. One foot in front of the other and all that. I don’t take that for granted–that insight gives me privilege. It does not, however, make the day to day easier.
What does are the little things, which in the end add up to be the big things. The things that make life not a monotone palette of grays but a complicated rainbow.
Walking into Ellie’s room every morning and seeing her (usually) smiling face. Biking to campus, feeling the crisp fall air and watching the fall leaves flutter through the sky. Seeing glimpses of my dad in Ellie’s mannerisms and goofy attitude. Supportive messages from friends (and let’s be honest, sometimes just inappropriate gifs are sufficient). The smell of a pumpkin candle. Getting lost in a good book. Sweating through another workout or run even when I didn’t want to.
These little/big things add some balance where it is needed. They keep me from floating too far away.
I know this is the path called life, and life does not owe me anything. It is up to me to traverse the bumps and roadblocks, and it is a choice I make. I am okay with this, and if you are struggling through your own circumstances, I want you to know that you can also be okay (one day).
I often feel like there are two of me–one slogging through the mud and the other just up ahead and around the corner, reaching out a hand. If you also need a hand, I’d like to give you one.
I can’t say that I know what I’m doing, but we can walk together and figure it out.