Monday, October 24, 2011

Sadness, Happiness, Peace ... and Elliott

"Depressing" isn't a word I would use to describe my music. But there is some sadness in it -- there has to be, so that the happiness in it will matter. ~ Elliott Smith (Aug. 6, 1969 -- Oct. 21, 2003)

I'd say you make a perfect
Angel in the snow
All crushed out on the way you are
Better stop before it goes too far
Don't you know that I love you
Sometimes I feel like only a cold still life
That fell down here to lay beside you

Don't you know that I love you
Sometimes I feel like only a cold still life
Only a frozen still life
That fell down here to lay beside you

In light of Elliott's death anniversary last Friday, I've been thinking about the above quote -- the ensuing song is a favorite of mine as well -- which I've always personally identified with in my own life. For me, I tend to feel things intensely on both ends of the emotional spectrum, which can obviously be both amazing and wonderful as well as crippling. But as Elliott so perfectly put it, in feeling the down times, I'm able to better able to appreciate the good ones.

In my recent weeks of self analyzation, which have had me feeling both empowered and completely ragged, I've been thinking about how people in my life have often told me I somehow bring a calmness or peace to them, or this feeling of being a safe space to open up in. It's funny, as I'm definitely an anxious person in general, but I've noticed that oftentimes, when someone is out of sorts, the anxious part of me somehow just shuts down and there I am, calm and grounded to help rein them in. I have friends who have provided me with this same feeling when I've been the one out of sorts. I guess it falls back to my Sway post, having those relationships and friendships that ebb and flow with each other. 

However, thinking about feeling things on one end of the spectrum as well as the other led me to think about how sometimes, I yearn to just find a balance between the two. I've achieved this by meditation or actively practicing various ways to relax and ground myself, but it's been a long time since I've truly felt inner peace. I know that's something that will always have to be worked at, and that's why I've lost it in the recent weeks, but sometimes I wish I could experience that feeling where the mere presence of someone awashes me with some serenity. There have been moments where I've had that, but enough has happened between then and now for me to be generally uneasy around most people, or unsure of what is going on inside me. And I guess, tying things back into Elliott's quote, feeling this way has me sometimes yearning for and appreciating the days when I did feel peace, when someone was able to give me peace.

However, even on these down days, I've continued to breathe in the vapors of hope that are always surrounding me. Because I'm pretty sure -- as I work through the hard stuff, the haunting good memories and my present-day challenges -- I'll eventually find that inner peace again, and when I do, I'm going to make damn sure I hold onto it, because the person that will eventually add to the peace and solace inside me ... he deserves it, too.



  1. I came up with my own theory I refer to as the pendulum theory... As high as the pendulum swings one way, it will come back to the other side just as much. Without sadness, you wouldn't know how happy happiness can be, withough sickness, you don't realize how great feeling normal is. When life's got ya down... I think about this and remember, no matter how ugly it gets, i know that beauty is soon to come. As the earth itself turns, throughout the year, it is as often dark as it is light, as the moon waxes and wanes, as do we.