I can never be truly sure what prompts it; I’m sure it is something trivial that most people would be able to brush off. But for whatever reason I choose to hold onto it, let it grow and fester into something miserable, something toxic, something so heavy I can’t help but allow it to drag me down, often for days on end with little hope of surfacing.
It’s always nothing that turns into something that eventually consumes everything.
I don’t even try to hide it anymore. Everyone seems to know anyway; the embarrassment is out in the open, on full display for all to see.
In my mind, however, when it takes hold, I disappear; I am no longer an active participate in my own life, merely an observer waiting, watching, hoping for the shadows to sort themselves into some semblance of sense.
And the more I think about it, the worse it gets, the more I allow it to consume me to the point where it becomes my everything, each waking moment worse than the next, falling faster and faster in slow motion toward an inevitable conclusion of my own making.
Sometimes I feel it coming on and, instead of fighting it, I embrace the warmth of its misery, its comfort, its familiarity. Caressing the contours of sudden sadness; a favorite record taken down from the shelf, gently, lovingly set on the turntable and placed on repeat.
I know all the words.
Other times, it comes out of nowhere. Those times are the worst, the most difficult to reconcile. I’ve no time to prepare, no time to ready myself mentally for what is coming; it’s a chemical sucker punch that leaves me reeling, emotionally drained, physically incapable of the simplest of tasks, devoid of purpose.
It’s the futility that hurts the most, I suppose; the sense that there is really nothing positive that will or could come of any of this.
No one in my family will own up to this having been a genetic trait, a toxic heirloom passed from one generation to the next. I have my suspicions, but what’s the point of pointing fingers when the guilty parties have long since passed? Even if they were, what good would it do?
Perhaps there would be some comfort in being able to relate, being able to look someone in the eye and truly say, “I understand” and have them feel the same, smiling sadly, quickly looking away and moving on to face their own shadows.
But even if I could, I would not say anything; I couldn’t.
This is simply how these things go.
This, too, will end.
It always does.