Sunday, March 30, 2008

The sheltering sky, or the sneaky return of the undertow

Do you ever feel like you are just living this very small, pointless life? And you don't know what to do about it?

It's been a while since I've felt the undertow. And, in contrast to times prior, I'm not in an "I'm going to die alone" spot. And that's part of what bothers me so much - I'm actually really happy.

I just have these moments absolutely beyond my control.

I'll be going along, all forward motion and unsuspecting. La la la la la.

And then suddenly, this wet enormity of despair and pointlessness will sneak up from behind and wash over me. It's quick, cold, and dark, and all-encompassing.

It will pull, hard, and it will cover me, sometimes thickly enough that it really is akin to being stuck beneath the waves, panicked, unsure when I will burst through the surface and breathe.

And then it pulls back, and I do - I breathe, I see the sky, and the sun sparkles on the surface.

But still, as it recedes, I'll feel the wet reverberations of nothing-matters nothing-matters does-any-of-this-really-matter? lapping at my ankles, pulling at the ground beneath me. Does it? Really? Really?

And I'm left unsure of what's solid and where to stand, in the same way one is forced to balance and rebalance in the ebbing tide, as when the ocean sucks the shifting sand beneath your feet on its way out.


  1. When I was Smaller of Size, and the ocean was particularly rough, my sister would always go in with me, to make sure I wasn't unwittingly sucked under.

    You *really* matter to a lot of people. And I'm sure all of them would be happy for you to hang on to them when things get wobbly for a bit.

  2. When you were Smaller of Size and lived in Hundred Acre Wood?:)

    You are so lovely, really and truly. Thanks so much.

  3. I am, as Dagny Taggart said, one of the people to whom you can hang on.

    Things matter. YOU matter.


  4. There's a word for this: Sunday. It's pandemic.

    I'm not trying to make light of it, but to let you know that you aren't alone....and you are very much loved!

  5. I know how you feel. Big hug.

  6. Welcome to the club. Have we sent you your membership card yet?

    I seemed to be stuck in the undertow for longer than normal now. It has now become that I have happy moments, but not sure if I'm actually happy -- does that make sense? So I force myself to go out, see my friends, play more volleyball, go to the gym, because if I'm home alone I just keep on feeling sorry for myself. And I'm not sure why.

  7. Lisa,

    In about fifth grade I had a similar experience many times. It was like suddenly entering a tunnel; everything outside was muted.

    The episodes went away, but I never forgot them, and never knew quite what to make of them.

    Then in law school I read some fiction book in which the author described clinical depression. Wow. Damned if it wasn't an accurate description of what I'd experienced thirteen years before.

  8. I'm finding I'm caring less and less about what it all means, and... little by slow... more and more about what does it mean right NOW.

  9. wow - really insightful comments. Lisa - I can't wait till you write your book. Because per usual, your ability to summarize a feeling, a moment, an experience - is something that others can find some resonance in. And that matters.

  10. Thank you all. Hugs and hugs and hugs.

  11. lisa is writing a book??

    for reeelllz???


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