Darkness is in the air. Maybe it’s the undeniable chill of autumn creeping into summer’s shadow. Perhaps it’s due to election season, with its attendant pestilence of emails and posts everyday alerting me to the imminent collapse of the world as I prefer it. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been watching episodes of Grimm every night this week, the first season finally being released on Netflix.
But I can’t really blame monsters, real or imaginary, for this thing called depression. I’ve lived in close quarters with it most of my life.
After spending last winter getting down with my sad self, I seem to have reached a sort of equilibrium and only occasionally find myself circling the Drain of Despair. However, I do edge near the whirlpool every once in awhile, and recently, while staring in sagging disbelief at my current self-imposed project, a 600 page rewrite of a manuscript from hell, I thought about something a writer friend and I recently discussed; if we didn’t suffer from this affliction, if we had an abundance of energy, or even a normal amount, how much more work could we get done? Would I be cranking out 600 pagers every six months?
The obvious answer, the noggin tap from God, is no. Because I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be writing that book, or this blog. I’d be out there in the sunshine . . . doing stuff with the other normals.
These thoughts lead me back through the mists of time to a job interview I had years ago, with a manufacturer of yurts. Yes, yurts. When I went back for a second interview, the prospective employer peered intently at me, and said that although he was impressed with my resume, he was really looking for someone more . . . effervescent.
I love fancy words. Effing-escent isn’t one of them.
Never, not once in my life, has anyone referred to me as “bubbly”, because that’s what effervescent means, as well as gaseous. Or did he mean the other type of effervescent? Giddy, sparkly, chirpy, perky, bouncy? I say, if he wanted to hire a flatulent Barbie doll, he should have advertised for one, not a bookkeeper.
But what about the definitions I’m ignoring? Like vivacious. Ah, sorry, nope. I once edged close to vibrant when I was in France. Enthusiastic? Oh, yes. Now there’s a word I can get my teeth into. To be possessed by a god. I have been possessed by a god of creativity, dreams, playfulness. By a god of oceans, forests, streams. Never by a god of yurt-selling or a god of counting other people’s money.
The antonyms of effervescent are flat, still, depressed. I already copped to depressed. I can groove on still. I am a still, quiet person, a person who speaks to the page. A person who keeps the company of books, both numerical and literary. If you meet someone who walks in and “lights up a room”, it’s not me.
It has taken me a long time to accept this about myself. I will never be fizzy, no matter how much I try or how much the world out there seems to demand it. And when I stop trying, and settle into my flat, still self, then, amazingly, I am enthused. Funny how that works.