Melting Snow and Melting Down

Yesterday I slept poorly and woke up on edge.

My ten year old dragged her feet, couldn’t find the pair of shoes she wanted to wear, and missed the early bus for Chorus. She had a scream-crying meltdown in the living room and my stress went through the roof. My mood was largely done for the rest of the day after that. Existential dread and a yawning abyss of loneliness that left me wanting to have a scream-crying meltdown of my own, but I kept it safely contained within my own head because I’m not ten.

I packed a couple of boxes of books and cleaned a section of the kitchen and then took a long walk in the early afternoon. Luckily I wasn’t so lost in depression that I couldn’t appreciate what a beautiful spring day it was. Bright and sunny, the snow still the pristine white of a recent fall but melting rapidly, the remaining patches vivid on the green grass. It was still cool enough to need a jacket, which I paired with gloves because my hands get cold so much faster than the rest of me.

I spoke out loud to myself, very quietly, though there weren’t many other people out walking and none close enough to hear me indulging in some socially disreputable behavior. I told myself that my present mood would not last forever, that I might feel differently as soon as tomorrow. I told myself the day’s stress and sadness weren’t representative of the rest of my life. I repeated these to myself several times over the course of my walk. It didn’t feel very convincing at the time.

It’s the duality in my nature coming to the surface. I go back and forth between being capable of finding great satisfaction and enjoyment in being alone with my own thoughts, and feeling a desperate loneliness that can’t be assuaged with mere company, because it stems from a feeling of not being seen or found interesting – interesting in a good way that is, and not in a way that involves speculation over what might be wrong with me.

In the evening I was bored and decided I’d check and see what music Spotify was recommending and found that their algorithms must have collected enough data on my musical tastes to actually be useful. Of the first 11 songs I listened to, I added 9 to my personal playlists. 8 of them were artists that were new to me, and of the two I rejected, one was for the singer’s weirdly affected vocals and the other was because they sampled people talking and while I can accept rap interludes, I’ve always disliked having people talk in the middle of music.

I was called away from this musical exploration for movie night with the family, and we watched From Up on Poppy Hill, a Studio Ghibli movie we hadn’t seen before. I always want to live in SG movies because they’re so pretty and often full of delicious looking food, too. This movie had moments as awkward as Pom Poko’s testicular superpowers, and by the middle I was starting to wonder if George R.R. Martin had been a guest writer for the script. By the end, though, the story had resolved neatly and sweetly in a way that did not leave me forever embarrassed to have watched it with my children.

After the movie was over, I returned to my musical exploration and had made it through the entire 50 song recommendations by midnight. Somehow it’s oddly comforting to know that at least computer algorithms see me, even if they’re not capable of finding me interesting. My sleep wasn’t great – it never is – but it was better than the night before and this morning I’m not skirting the edge of the abyss and wondering if today is the day I fall in.

This morning it’s bright and sunny again. I hope it stays this way. I think I’ll take another walk this afternoon.

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