Tuesday, November 1, 2011

just wrap your arms around me.

A few years ago, the cycle continued. I did what I do roughly every nine months: look up the local LDS ward and surround myself for three Sunday hours with a bunch of Mormons. It's not because of Mormon doctrine--I purposefully distance myself from that a long, long time ago--but I think it's the sense of community, a bunch of people that I hope are doing just what I'm trying to do and find some good in a world so seemingly filled with so little of it.

An authority from the local congregation was on hand and speaking to the gathered crowd. He was a big man and thudded to the podium, raising the mic to mouth-level.

"Brothers and sisters," he said, surveying his captive audience, "I'd like to talk to you about--" dramatic pause "--depression."

My left eye twitched. I cringed at what I hoped wasn't coming. Just two years earlier, I had been told by my stake president (a sort of supervisor for local clergy) that I should stay home from an LDS mission, two years in the wilds of the secular world, because my then-crippling depression would've, as he phrased it, "put [me] in a pressure cooker. Just stay home, Andy. There are things to do here." I took comfort in that and hoped that I could find those things.

"We hear a lot in the...media...about 'depression'--" he uses air quotes "--but whatever happened to just, you know...pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and putting a smile on your face?"

Just then, seemingly out of my control, my quivering knees straightened themselves and I rose to my feet, feeling as though I were watching puppet strings make my body rise from the pew and button the suit jacket containing it.

"Fuuuuuuuck that," I said, louder than I meant--inasmuch as I meant to not say it at all--and I went and saw Spider-Man 3 again (I know, I know--it wasn't that good). I didn't go back to church for...well, for nine months. But it was a solid nine months.

And on nights like tonight, when some misfiring synapse or chemical imbalance or residual echo of emotional trauma holds me back from anything resembling happiness or even contentment, I know I can turn on episodes of Louie or rewatch Rio Bravo or listen to "Stairway to Heaven" on repeat or just be generally pleased with myself that I remember appropriate MLA style guide TV series/film/song title punctuations.

But right now:

at this very second,

this
very
second:

I will comfort myself with Sleepytime Vanilla tea
and reruns of Community
and knowing that
somewhere,
somehow,

you're smiling in your sleep
and hogging all the covers.

5 comments:

AzĂșcar said...

I probably would've reacted similarly.

Sibyl Vane said...

Amen, brother.

AnxiousAnon said...

Simply beautiful. Thank you.

AnxiousAnon said...

Simply beautiful. Thank you.

Ryley said...

Ha! I know this feeling not about the same subject. But this feeling. Having a three year old next to me stops me from yelling "that thing" bur don't think for one second that I don't think it.