Melancholia

A host of events have transpired to bring this post into existence; events which, if it were possible, I would choose not to dwell upon. However, choice itself is a rare privilege afforded to few of us who suffer from this ancient malady, and it is, unfortunately, not a privilege I possess.

What those events are is not of consequence, and, indeed, needn’t be mentioned here at all. Suffice it to say that those events were not of a favourable nature; my reaction to them, albeit, is a result of my pathological inconvenience, and not how one would “normally” react. Ah, yes; there I go again, characteristically deviating from the topic at hand. Today, I shall attempt to put into words perhaps the greatest evil I have come to know, and come to know more intimately than I would have cared: depression.

Many of the few people I have spoken to regarding the subject at hand seem to have rather ill-conceived notions about the malady. I shall forego the medical and psychological explanations, here, for the vast web that is the Internet would do a far better job of explaining that aspect than my little corner ever could. No, instead, I’d like to show what it means to be depressed, and how it is not, in fact, your everyday case of Monday morning blues.

Imagine, if you will, a world which is tinted brown, like a town from the old wild West movies, except the sky is constantly covered with clouds, and the sun only barely manages to shine through. This world contains nothing but a road, a single road, leading somewhere into the distance. The world is densely covered with fog, and so where the road leads, exactly, is something which you do not know. The fog is not a normal fog, however; it is a fog made of some thick, gelatinous substance which makes movement difficult, as though the mist is resisting the advances of motion. It is also impossible to tell the time of day, as there are no watches, and the brown haze constantly presents itself with the same hue throughout.

Now, imagine you are woken up every morning if, indeed, it can be so called, and forced to put a heavy bag on your back. What this bag contains; who is making you carry the load; what you are supposed to do it with are questions which you are neither allowed to ask, nor have any answers to. You are then made to walk down the single road into the obscure distance, through the gelatinous fog in a brown tinted world, with the load on your back, towards a place which you do not know.  All of a sudden, presumably at the end of the night, you are asked to stop and take rest, but you are not allowed to take off the bag. Rest comprises reading through horror upon horror, penned down by a malicious writer who knew well how to make disaster seem close to home. The next morning (?), the rigmarole repeats itself, only now the load has increased from the previous day.

That, my dear readers (the plurality is assumed), is how I view depression. In the end, it boils down to a whole lot of nothingness; there is no aim, there are no dreams or hopes, there are no goals, there isn’t even the promise of a tomorrow. There is just a long, straight road, going ever onwards. The only way out of this insane, pointless ritual seems to be an absence of existence, and it is easy to see why so many of us would rather choose that path than the brown tinted one: it may not be more colourful, but black is better than brown.

It is from this melancholy that I, and hundreds of thousands others like me across the world, seek escape. Tell us now that we are just weak, or that it will get better, or some other inane shit along those lines? The dense fog that covers our world drowns out the sound of everything other than our deepest, darkest thoughts, which seem to take a personality of their own and insist upon their presence being acknowledged. It is not about weakness, my privileged friends who do not know the true meaning of despair, and it most certainly isn’t about sadness.

The cuts on my arms are not from my inability to handle the stresses that life throws at me, or my hate for myself (though that plays a major part). The cuts on my arms are from my desire to feel something, anything, other than a gnawing sense of regret for being alive. The cuts on my arms are from me trying to take back control; from me trying to tell myself that the pain which I am experiencing is my own doing and that I have the power to stop it when I wish.

This, however, is an elaborate illusion. The cuts on my arms are lies I tell myself to make the world more bearable, prolonging my journey down the road in the process. With each cut I make, I give myself the motivation to remain in this brown, murky world; it is almost as though there is a contorted feedback mechanism preventing me from escaping this very cruel, cruel world. All forms of self-sabotaging that I do, be it in terms of my relationships or to my body or in my work, they are all forms of me clutching at straws, desperately trying to regain control, knowing that I am destined for failure even before I start.

If you resonated with this, dear readers, tell me, such that we can plan our journey through this world together, and maybe find solace in knowing that others are as doomed as we are. For the only way to alleviate suffering is to not suffer alone.

Good day (hark!)

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Sanguine, not bloody

A surge of blood to the cheeks marks your elation when told how pretty you look in those new clothes you picked out for yourself. Is this the first time you’ve gone shopping all alone? Well done, my dear; you look smashing. Your cheeks are on fire today. Does my opinion really mean that much to you? I’m glad to have been of service, really, but the pleasure is all mine; the blood in your cheeks lights a fire in your eyes. Cherish that fire, my dear, for there are few things that blood does which are sanguine; the rest are all just bloody.

Your lips feel warm when my tongue runs across them, as though brimming with an urgency to escape and consume me in my entirety. Is it your blood at work again? Has the blood returned to fuel your inner fire, displaying your lust proudly for others to see, to touch, to feel? The quickening of that monotonous beat, sounding where your chest touches mine, tells me that your lips are not the only thing being singed by the ceaseless stream of elixir we’ve so come to fear. It’s really a lovely stream, my dear; most definitely sanguine, and not bloody.

Fuck! I bit you! Apologies, my dear; I was not aware that the same blood which flows in your veins also flows in mine. They’d told me differently when I was younger. My blood was redder than yours, they’d said; after all, you were green, and I was scarlet, like the aching scream of a dying sun. Look, though, how the same red that drove sense from my mind and into my loins now pools in your mouth. Spit it out, my dear, and look how it swirls. Here, let me show you mine, and we can watch them blend together, such that they might well have come from one body, one soul, one heart. The colour only brightens, my dear; even blood itself is more sanguine than bloody.

Don’t fret now, my darling. It’s only a little prick, and then you get to see the clear tube fill with a crimson glow. It’s serene, really; there is something calming about this deep, violent flood. To think, the answers to our questions lie in the scarlet depths of this tiny tube; answers to questions we didn’t want to ask in the first place. Curious, isn’t it, my dear; we would never have had to ask these questions had your blood, which really is the same as mine, not betrayed your mind, taking its body along with it? I have faith in the answers that this tube holds, but I see that you don’t. Answers are rewarding; and the blood, once again, at least for me, is sanguine. Is it just bloody for you, my dear?

Oh, the world is a horrid, horrid place. When did the red that signalled love and passion bend its will to ire? Or has it always been this way; have the two been so intricately linked, forever, that the difference only now emerges? Does knowing make you feel better, my dear, or would you much rather have lived out your days in the tranquillity of ignorance? You don’t blush like you did that first day anymore, but you bleed more. Has knowing why you bleed made you feel better, or is the blood still as bloody as it was before? Knowledge is good, they tell me; does that mean that your blood, paler now than it used to be, is more sanguine now that I know?

There is a stillness to you which I am not familiar with. In all our years together, I have never once seen you this calm, this restful, this immobile. What of your blood, I asked them; they said it has frozen inside your veins. Will it never rush to your face again, my dear? Is that why you feel so cold when I hold you? All you ever were, it would seem, was the flowing fire within you; a fire which has drowned in a frozen pool of red. There is a poetry to it, don’t you think? And yet, just this once, the blood that made you so alive is more bloody than sanguine.

You’ve been silent a long time now, my dear. When your blood froze, we tucked you into a bed of earth and covered you with the sky. Has the sky been keeping you warm? Has your blood thawed enough that your lips are warm to the touch again? I’d thought not. Nothing is warm anymore if I’m being honest. I wonder, often, if my blood too is freezing, even as I breathe? It certainly seems so. It has no reason to be warm anymore, with no one to feel its commanding heat but the inside of my skin, which is has long resigned to the feeble atrocities the crimson tyrant is capable of committing. Sometimes, I wish to see if the crimson tyrant is still crimson, or if the malaise has turned it black and sludgy; maybe that is why it hurts to breathe. Black and sludgy, yes; there is nothing sanguine about that.

I’m told the colour has faded from my skin, my dear; the little ones, whose faces fill up with fire like yours did so many years ago, or was it yesterday? They come to me often, climbing atop my thin bed in this room of white and blue, and ask me for stories of a time when things were redder. Nothing is red anymore, my dear; not crimson, nor scarlet. The faces which flush when they pant are not the right red, but a rosy pink at best. No one bleeds into their souls anymore. I feel my blood freezing too, now that I think about it. Is that why the false reds are here, to bid me adieu? I’ll be happier where you are, my dear; we’ll thaw our blood together. It’d be nice to see sanguinity again; the blood that they have here is just far too bloody.

The more the merrier

 

This post was cleverly scheduled to come out on Valentine’s day; but as those who are familiar with this little corner of the Internet will know, I am not the most punctual of people. Indeed, when asked why I do no take up writing as a profession (assuming I could write professionally), the foremost reason I cite is my inability to meet deadlines. What is life, I daresay, without a little bit of procrastination, and the gnawing regret that comes after the time to affect change has passed?

Ah, but there I go again; prattling on about something that has nothing to do with the theme of this post. Today, sitting by a steaming mug of filter coffee, I wish to talk about the nature of romantic relationships; rather, the nature of relationships in general. More specifically, I wish to present my case in favour of something we’ve come to learn more and more of in recent years: polyamory.

I have long been of the opinion that for any relationship to be truly sustainable, it needs to have a certain degree of “openness”. Relationships which are rigid in their definitions and closed off in their approach to society often find that a claustrophobic environment is non-conducive to their growth. The reason for this, to me, seems quite simple: we are complex beings with complex needs, and so we need to derive our sustenance from a host of people, and not just one person at a time.

Don’t you think it’s a little impractical, really, to assume that one person is able to satisfy all your emotional, physical, and intellectual needs? Conversely, isn’t it a little unfair that you are required to fulfil the very same needs, single-handedly, for someone else? I can, of course, see the charm in this: that one person is all you need for everything, ever, is undoubtedly a charming concept, but how much practical value does it really hold?

Humour me for a while, and picture this: you have your significant other with whom you have a blossoming relationship. Yes, there are fights, but you are able to “kiss and make up”, and you perceive things through rose-tinted glasses. Now it just so happens that you are plagued with an issue which your partner is not adept at handling, or which requires a view which your partner is unable to provide. You seek solace in another individual to whom you attach some value, and your qualms are put to rest.

Polyamory, most people fail to understand, is not just about having multiple sex partners, though that is very much a component of it; neither is polyamory a way to justify promiscuity. Polyamory is about understanding that more than one people should be allowed to influence your thoughts on love, career, sex, and all the other facets that make up life. Polyamory is about embracing the change that is brought by opening up to more and more people, instead of being confined to a box, with only one other mind for company.

Yet another aspect I’ve seen people have trouble with is that of relationships being a spectrum, and not a binary switch between polyamory and monoamory. It IS possible to sustain an emotionally polyamorous relationship without also making it physical. In fact, that has largely been the nature of my relationships for a long while now, and it has caused me little to no discomfort. On the other hand, it is also possible to have a physically polyamorous relationship without having an emotional one. There are hundreds of other combinations which abound when one truly considers the diversity of people, their needs, and the rationale behind relationships in the first place.

As is often the case with my personal posts, I shift the blame for things onto society. Society has conditioned us to make two things an integral part of our lives: labels and definitions. We spend our early years growing up in a society which has an obsessive need to label and define everything, relationships included. A couple who does not wish to label or define their relationship is still called a couple, because how else are we to attach stereotypes and conventional tropes to them. Even the most progressive of us get caught in the rigmarole that is the need to define, if not label.

There is a person, of remarkable intellect and a face which the gods must have forgotten to fault, with whom I sustain a relationship. What kind of relationship, you’d be tempted to ask, and therein lies the problem. Is it not enough that there is a relationship of some sort? That there is something physical (barely, to my displeasure), something intellectual, and something emotional in this relationship is enough of a definition. Our need to define things by assigning labels to them limits our expansion and growth as human beings; this is a belief that has only strengthened with time.

It is not as though I have taken a pledge against labelling, however; I understand the need for certain labels, such as defining certain things as harmful versus safe, or correct versus incorrect. Where relationships are considered, though, I cannot understand the obsession with monoamory, which seeks to lay possessive claim on another person. Relationships are deeply personal things; in fact, they are deeply interpersonal things, and with over seven billion people in the world, to limit the interpersonal interaction of a person to just “the one” other person seems to me inherently selfish.

Bonds are fickle things; they break and form in the blink of an eye. Bonds strengthen when they are allowed to mingle with other bonds, and form a network. Polyamory provides for that chance; the chance to strengthen not just one, but many bonds, by exposing the individual to the treasures of the human mind. Yes, there is a chance that in a polyamorous relationship your paramour would give someone else more importance than they would give you, but that is a risk you both are taking. And, in my very honest opinion, the risk and the (possible) jealousy are worth it, because at the end of the day, you are developing a more honest, a stronger relationship.