That Word That Lets Us Off the Hook

Thinking a lot about the way D geniunely sees people—women, me—for who they really are. And how rare that is. How true and devoted he is to his friends. He’s made for that.

He always tells me how strong I am, how much energy I have, even when I think I have none left. He tells me I’m “never depressed” even when I want to call what I’m feeling that. Even when I’m devastated. He simply calls it “a bad period” or “just a bad moment.” Or says I’m sad. He doesn’t reduce me to what I think or feel is permanent. The End. With all the pathologizing and slackening this country has done of any kind of active or mobilizing pain, a pain that can transform, deepen us, make us more ethical, bring us to others, it’s almost impossible to know what to call oursleves or others except depressed. How even melancholy is this dumb lazy ambivalent slacker emotional catchall now, a spin off of the more profound and once philosophically inquiring melancholia. There’s only one word for, one way of feeling bad now, and that word lets us off the hook. No, that’s wrong. Let’s us let ourselves off the hook when it comes to being there for—being with—others. Tells us to give up when we want to give up. Tells us not give anyone anything because we can’t handle anything but shallow waters. So we don’t feel bad for making others feel bad. As bad as we do. The words for pain are just as lazy as the pain itself is now. We stay there. We don’t try figure out how to get out. We’re so entitled to our inertia. We spread it around. Don’t give people your disappointment when everyone needs/deserves something more. Deserve—no one wants to go near that word anymore, but I’m going to use it because it means from the Latin, “serve well or zealously.” And everyone has a right to that. Has a right to something as good as someone’s zealousness and enthusiasm. For me, it’s never been depression. It’s always been Weltschmerz. Cultural grief, world pain.

Crossposted with Love Dog

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