Not everyone knows everything about me so here’s my thing with Savannah Brown:
She’s a poet, she’s on YouTube and I discovered her after the great Sarah Kay kindled my love of poetry with her TedTalk.
Savannah, Sav to her friends I’m sure, was a teenage poetry prodigy. I honestly think she’s the greatest living poet of our time but then I think that isn’t fair to Sarah. They are somehow, despite being radically different, both the best living poet of our time.
Anywho, following Sav on YouTube was great and when she when she was working on a novel I was like great I’ll buy it when it comes out. And I did.
I waited for a rainy day when I had nothing to do and I read it cover to cover.
It was great. the day, I mean – the act of reading it. The book is also great although imperfect and I’m a 34 year old man so it’s just too weird to think about reviewing a Young Adult novel.
Unfortunately I entered a phase in my life where everything makes me sad. Even picking up The Truth About Keeping Secrets off the shelf at Indigo made me sad. I actually still haven’t read Frank Turner’s newest book because I know it will make me sad.
I was listening to Brene Brown (no relation to Savannah) and she used numb as a verb. To numb as an action. Not to feel numb but to do something to put oneself in a absence of feeling.
And it struck me because I do that whereas I never used to. I had no problem being in my feelings. I used to not mind being sad, I always had a use for it. Or at least found it enriched an identity that I liked.
When I first realized that doing something that had nothing to do with depression was a good way to cope with depression it was a revelation. It’s counter-intuitive that the solution to a puzzle is to stop your mind working on it. But that’s what depression is; your mind trying to solve the puzzle of your unhappiness by obsessing over it. Doing something else, arbitrary-seeming shit like working out or watching movies or whatever, help.
At some point though I started needing to do something whenever I felt down, and I needed to be talking about and be seen doing something so people wouldn’t know I’m a loser. That I’ve already lost at life and I’m just hobbling.
Everything became about distraction and just filling time and I realized it was all just to numb. Numb is the best I can feel when even things I like feel bad. When people’s lives have lead them somewhere and there’s a narrative that gives meaning to their life’s events, I’m envious.
Having a life that makes sense makes them seem like a somebody while my life – where events both good and bad are meaningless because they serve no plot or purpose – is the life of a nobody.
I look at the lives of the somebodys and they seem like boats; designed and crafted and sea-worthy. While my life is raft cobbled together from what’s at hand while the water is already rising.
They are living their first-choice life and my first-choice at this point would be not living. It doesn’t matter that things aren’t that bad, it matters that things make no sense. I’m patching up the raft of my self-image with the car-parts of my activities because not being okay seems rude.
And even though I’ve been depressed my whole life I thought I was building with boat-parts. I thought I had a life then it turned out I was merely alive. Now I feel too defeated to even want to kill myself – like it’s too powerful of a choice and it would make me a loser not a tragedy.
Everything in my life is just something to hide behind to the point where even I don’t want to be able to see me.