My little sister gave me a book for Christmas, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. It’s a comedic comic book/memoir based on her blog. My sister picked it out special for me, taking the time to actually go to the bookstore and get it. She was so sure that I would absolutely love it. Which struck a chord with me because I haven’t been ‘in love’ with a book (or movie, or song, or any art) for a long time. So, I sat down to read it, eager for this ‘in love’ experience. And you know what.
I didn’t love it.
I was reading this book, and I knew I should be enjoying what I was reading, but I wasn’t. It was funny, well written, had interesting illustrations, and included bits about cake and dogs (my two most favorite things in the world), and I was thinking ‘meh.’ The fact that I wasn’t enjoying it didn’t make any sense to me. I was reading stuff that I knew should usually elicit some emotional response, but nothing was happening. Nothing at all.
For some reason, it triggered the memory of my daughter once telling me that I never laugh and that I hardly ever smile. That I just don’t seem happy. I chuckled at her and then promptly dismissed it, not really feeling anything about it.
It also made me think about my sister’s funeral, and that I still haven’t cried about her death. I’ve had no real emotions about that traumatic event, either. Everyone tells me that everyone processes death differently, but you’d think I’d feel something.
I don’t want to be dead on the inside. I want to be able to read books and watch movies and listen to music and not think that it’s all ‘meh.’ Because that’s what’s happening, everything is just ‘meh.’ Bland and lifeless, without feeling, without hope.
I did look for help to figure these things out. How does a person go from being hollow inside to filling themselves up enough to enjoy life again? Where does joy come from and how do you get it back when you’ve lost it? What if there’s nothing inside to hold onto – where do you go from there?
…life is a process,
and things take time.
It would be great to say that I found some magic ‘cure-all’ that made everything all better – I would love to share it with you if I could. A certain medication, a particular therapist, a special support system, a therapy animal. But, as with anything, life is a process, and things take time. It’s all about working with a collection of things that move toward a common goal. Sometimes I’m trudging, sometimes I’m skipping, but at least I don’t feel like Sisyphus anymore.
After a couple of weeks of working with a plan that had some success, I went back and tried to read the book again. With the dogs and the cake and everything. The strange thing was, there were parts of the book that dealt with exactly what I was going through. It was strangely comforting. And you know what?
I loved it.