How strange it is that I find the kind of solace in poetry that I cannot with any other human being. It is on moments like these, when reading the thoughts of someone long dead makes me think about how much more I can relate to their despondency than to the jubilant superficiality I succumb to everyday, all the time. So, for example, this poem called I Am the Only Being Whose Doom by Emily Bronte:
I am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask no eye would mourn
I never caused a thought of gloom
A smile of joy since I was born
In secret pleasure – secret tears
This changeful life has slipped away
As friendless after eighteen years
As lone as on my natal day
There have been times I cannot hide
There have been times when this was drear
When my sad soul forgot its pride
And longed for one to love me here
But those were in the early glow
Of feelings since subdued by care
And they have died so long ago
I hardly now believe they were
First melted off the hope of youth
Then Fancy’s rainbow fast withdrew
And then experience told me truth
In mortal bosoms never grew
‘Twas grief enough to think mankind
All hollow servile insincere –
But worse to trust to my own mind
And find the same corruption there
Why is it that I feel today how completely this poem resonates everything I ought to and yet ought not to feel? I will not sit here feeling sorry for myself or for anyone else. I do not remember the last time I felt self-pity. I am so glad I learnt to forgo that vile emotion. Perhaps it was on reading these words from The Fountainhead that I was stirred into action against it:
“This is pity,” he thought, and then he lifted his head in wonder. He thought that there must be something terribly wrong with a world in which this monstrous feeling is called a virtue.”
And so I do not know what to do with this- the terribly sinking feeling within. The feeling that all of life is nothing. Just an unhappy, unplanned disaster.
Am I to be like one of those poets and writers whose thoughts charm me with the sheer force of their despondency? Why am I attracted hard and fast to anything even slightly romantically destructive? Like soldiers who want to die in glory on the battlefield, thinking that their greatest joy ever will be in a posthumous reward and that their families ought to rejoice more from such a glorious ending than mourn the fact that there is, at all, an ending, do I really and truly want to be envied for walking on a thin line outlining feelings akin to depression? How and what can tumble me over? I don’t know. But there is this fear that some day, something will. If I follow the script that I created in my mind. Well, how inevitable it is that whatever must and can happen, will. It isn’t as though I have a say in the matter.
One day there is hope, the next there is just a blanket of utter darkness falling over everything. I tend to remember with some fondness those days of 2008 when I couldn’t move my feet. When I found myself crying at 8 a.m. and it seemed that even at the age of sixteen life was only the absence of everything and the presence of hopelessness. It isn’t the worst I’ve seen but it might be the worst I have been. And I am afraid of going back there, visiting that place even in my dreams.
I don’t think about that now. It’s easy not to when you’re twenty-two and the possibilities seem endless anyway. But I know I won’t always be twenty-two. I’ll be fifty some day and these thoughts will catch up to me. I will be older and unsure of where this is going. I cannot let myself go to something just for the sake of it. And so this must go on.