I keep a framed picture of the fictional character Merida from Disney’s Brave sitting within my line of sight. The picture shows Merida’s long red hair and a single eye watching the world as it passes her by. Like all one dimensional pictures the purpose of the picture is not about the story of the character but rather what the image represents. While a huge Disney fan, it is only Merida that I have sitting out, watching me.
Merida represents for me not a Disney fairy tale. She doesn’t represent a complex story about a mother and daughter and their relationship towards one another and their ability to see beyond their own selfishness to the most important thing; what ever that may be for the viewer. Instead the simple image represents the daring, the courage to look and believe not only in your own self but rather in the greatness that rests within you. It takes courage to believe that you are something worthy; it takes amazing fortitude to see beyond the shame and ultimately the pressure of life to find a single thing that represents the goodness that you innately carry.
I have always stated, purposefully and with honesty, that I do not have the ability to see any good quality within me. While part of this is simply a result of my upbringing and the strictness my mother displayed which could not allow for anything seeming to mimic passion, it isn’t the whole story. Part of the problem is simply that I buy into the very real truth that beauty and talent brings power; while these things must be combined in order to show real power, either characteristic can and will give power to the beholder. I believe that magazines and television shows have perpetuated this truth, but it is a truth that I understand. Lastly after years of understanding my own faults and cataloging them in therapy and through my own writings, the ability to see anything different than these faults has been taught right out of me.
We all know those people who have confidence in not only the world around them but in themselves. We see them portrayed on our favorite television shows and at our local movie theater. They are the aliens in the room. They are the strange and magical creatures that simply laugh and we all fall in love with; they are exactly what they present to the world whether the image is actually real or simply a parody of what is real. They live and breathe the same air that we do, yet are so far from what we know as to be simply elegant perfection.
I keep that picture of Merida around, not for its ability to enhance my decor, but because I need the reminder that this life takes more than beauty, more than lies or truth, more than even courage; it takes the hope that courage will be there. It takes the fortification that when the time comes each of us will find the ability to have enough hope to fake the courage that we lost long, long ago. And in that lie, all others will see a truth.
I am in one those times of my life when the ability to see forward is a mist of some gray matter that causes the chills of early morning and the calmness of sleep. It is not the rain of a shower nor a snowstorm that blocks the world in a wintry white that cannot allow even the slightest of forwardness. It is simply a diaphanous blanket of gray that allows none of the purpose needed to survive in this world and none of the depression needed to explain the symptoms. In other words, this is simply another time in my life when the courage to exist has failed me as much as the need to be nothing as alluded me; I am instead in a place of uselessness that makes me question my ability to be anything to anyone.
If I had to decided to be less poetic I suppose I could have just told you I have the blahs. We have all had them. They are a part of our bodies need to survive; the need for our minds and bodies to rest in order to find within itself the necessary atoms to be what we have worked and strive to be. They are the breaks we take from being ourselves, from purposely finding the truths of our own motivations, and the break from the desperate need to not exist on a plane that others find normal. They are the blahs and they are necessary for the continuation of whatever fate has planned next.
To compare this time to depression is to give it more importance than is necessary. It isn’t a time of silence or the darkness of solitude. It isn’t a time when the breath of life moves slowly and without purpose. It isn’t a time when those who interest themselves in the lives of the suffering can define a trait that explains the simplicity of moving through the motions without moving the bodies that supposedly drive it.
To compare it to a time of silence or of rest is to simplify it. To simplify the reasoning for it and the pain of getting beyond it. To compare it to rest is to compare a beautiful overture to the opening lines of a Paul Simon play. The comparison is not only simplifying a strange and oftentimes mixed message, but to down play the very real cause of it. It isn’t depression; it isn’t mania. It is not a moment to be understood in the bottle of liquor and it is not a moment that can be understood by the absence of the courage needed to see beyond the horizon. It is simply what it is. It is simple in a world of complex and misunderstood truths of a world few will ever live in.
It is a time when the sun neither rises or sets; and that is perfectly okay. It is a time when the clock does not turn although time still moves; and that is perfectly okay. It is a time of constant and perfect lines in patterns that cannot be seen in any eye. It is a time of solitude without the need for the loneliness; it is a time of darkness with a light that shows nothing. It is a moment of held breath, under a sea of reality. And it is a moment of deep misunderstanding; not the misunderstanding of life, not the misunderstanding of a disease that cannot be felt by strangers, not the misunderstanding of silence in a time where there is little introspection.
It is simply a time of waiting. A time captured in a picture where the light of hope for the courage to live sits waiting. It is a time when the ability to find oneself is replaced the ability to only wait. And one will wait. For a day, for a month, for year. One will wait for the ability to feel and help others understand the need for depression and the desperation for the mania to make one feel alive. One will wait because life has paused, and the even the laughter of the beautiful, can’t pierce the stillness of reality. Even the hope for courage is drowned in the gray nothingness of my own reality.