Useless Thoughts Running Through My Head

various musings of a generation x kad

Because black is how I feel on the inside

Posted by thoughtful1 on December 15, 2008

I wear black on the outside
Because black is how I feel on the inside

from “Unloveable” by The Smiths

I like sad songs.  I’ve liked sad songs for a very long time, ever since I was a pre-teen, probably longer than that.  One of my favorite songs from when I was in grade school was “Send in the Clowns,” not a particularly cheerful song, but I liked it.  However, it wasn’t until recently that it hit me:

The vast majority of music I listen to is depressing.

Right now I’m listening to Failer by Kathleen Edwards.  The album evokes images of living a humdrum, worn down life in a New England town that’s seen better days.  Happy happy joy joy, I know.  But, it’s comforting me.  Sad, but true.

For several years I’ve had the sneaking suspicion I’ve been mildly depressed my entire life, but I just didn’t know it because I’ve always been that way.  I wouldn’t know any different.  But as I’ve been thinking things over, I’m coming to the conclusion that my suspicion is right.  I’ve been suffering from a low grade depression since I was a child.  And along with that I’ve been numb.  I still felt emotions, but I think they were dampened most of the time.  Or delayed.  Or something was off.

And I think I’ve liked sad songs because they expressed that sadness for me when I couldn’t.  I’m drawn to sad songs because they reasonate with something deep inside me.  I’m normally seen as cheerful and able to make others laugh, although those who know me well enough have also seen me cranky and irritable.  One time another Korean adoptee described me as being angst free.  Hah!  Even I knew she was wrong.

And now it’s coming out.  All the things that have made me depressed and numb – the adoption, the divorce, the family dynamics – it’s coming out.  I think I know why, but I’m not certain.  For the past year or so, I’ve been slowly coming to terms with how I’ve felt about things, and how I’ve been treated throughout my life.  I didn’t voice these thoughts until recently.  They were percolating under the surface, and it was too painful to say them out loud until I started to see myself through another person’s eyes.  I began to realize that I’m not that bad off, and I really, really do not need to be perfect for people to care for me.

And maybe that realization is why I’m now able to deal openly with everything that’s gone on.  I can deal with this now, and I won’t collapse.

But, I’m also angry.  I’m angry it took this long, and I’m angry at all those years wasted walking around half dead, spending too many mornings in bed, and too many nights on the couch, being dragged down.  I wonder what I could have done if I hadn’t been weighed down by this.  Would I have done better in college?  Actually done well in math and gotten my physics degree instead of messing up and switching to an easier major?  Would I have been more involved in the extracurriculars and kept up with my writing?  Would I have been brave enough to switch careers sooner, more often, figured out what I really want to do?

I don’t know, and it could be pointless self-abuse to play “What if?”  But I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn’t been carrying this melancholy around.

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One Response to “Because black is how I feel on the inside”

  1. Cathleen said

    Wow, I feel like I could have written this. I’m also an adoptee, working through the sadness I was in denial of my whole life. I am now 36 years old and I feel like my life has just begun. Hang in there, keep shining the light on everything and the darkness will slowly fade.

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