24 October 2012

yin and yang

Lately, it has felt as though time is standing still. As though, somehow, time has just stopped to allow me to sit--blamelessly, day after day--in an ugly afghan watching BBC mini-series and drinking coffee with absolutely nothing better to do. Obviously, this has been a total fantasy in my mind with no baring in reality; dreamt up in order to justify the devastating depression that has taken hold of me ever since the days began to shorten and the frost killed all the greenery. Indeed, time has very much been marching forward, leaving all my goals and responsibilities somewhere at the start of September. Now, at the end of October, I have two months behind me and nothing meaningful to show for it.

Apart from the tragedy of the colder weather, I can think of no other reason for my disheartened state apart from, possibly, my amazingly surreal summer. I don't think I have recuperated from the almost-deadly bout of pneumonia [four days of oxygen treatment in the hospital]; the cancelled biology course; the sudden, wonderful new friendships; enduring three family reunions; the anticlimax of The Dark Knight Rises; and the many nights of sub-drunken shenanigans. But, whether it was the oddities of the summer or start of chilly weather, I have neither been myself nor the self I want to be of late, and it has taken its toll by paralyzing any routine that makes meeting goals and successfully moving forward possible.

Recently, however, it occurred to me amid a particularily bleak afternoon with very little sunlight--while I sat in my ugly afghan reading the blogs of people far more charming than myself--that with every "seamy" aspect of living, there are those little successes and tiny perfections that can help to lift one from the slough of despond, but which are easily lost in the overpowering ideal of how life ought to be lived. Specifically, one of Lizzie's posts snapped me into the reality that no life is perfect--despite what might appear to be perfection by the observing outsider--and even amid the darkness there can be little bits of light.

So I made some lists. Just like the Tao philosophy of the yin and yang [that the shadow and the light are connected; indiscernable by themselves, but shown for what they are when contrasted against each other] I realized that I would not have seen the good in my life if I hadn't had a little bad to compare it to. I am not a Taoist, but I agree that it is harder to appreciate the light without the presence of darkness.

I have written out a list for both the shadow and the light: the collective perfections and imperfections that make up the yin and yang of my less-than-charming life.

innumerable shoddy english assignments
pages of baffling math problems
two unwritten letters
six unfinished novels
a broken camera
living in a stressfully scattered household
the long, difficult shifts at work
still no driver's license
sullenness; lethargy; the desire to hibernate
having expensive coffee tastes
the coming of a lose-lose American election
the long-neglected sewing machine
the slowly mounting number on the scale


the scads of promising films releasing soon
owning three tremendous wool sweaters 
Icelandic music [this and this]
leaves to crunch on the sidewalks
a paycheck every second Friday
five friendly cats on the porch
the autumn-smelling forest behind the house
an abundance of tea
the $60 sent to CBM
learning "Of Angels and Angles" on the guitar
still no snow on the ground
a finished sewing project [a book bag for myself]
gin in the cupboard
Christmas in two months 


  1. Obviously, I like this post a lot.

    Your tumblr is a neverending source of delight, by the way.

    1. Thanks, old friend! I'm glad to hear it, on both counts.

  2. Too inebriated to post anything poetic.

    It has been a long life and and long night, but in this abyss I remain much to my own dissatisfaction.

    Don't dismiss your own charm so easily.