You make nice to them all and assure them you’re fine and you’re great…

You get to the point with the depression where there’s a lift, almost a lurch in your stomach like when the airplane you’re flying in stutters off of the ground, and then, there, you feel like you’re more than no longer Earthbound but no longer subterranean anymore– you feel like Daedalus, flapping toward cruising altitude, mythical and therefore invincible again, especially since you built the wings from painstaking scratch– or at least able to keep your eyes on the horizon and not just on the ground.

Except you’re not in a plane, that sleek steel and landing gear there to protect you from the thin air, or you’ve forgotten not to fly too close to the sun, or maybe your wing muscles are just out of shape and you stutter back to the ground and you return hard and fast toward the Earth, arms and legs and wings flailing as you try to brace yourself.

It’s not the fall that kills you. It might be the crash, the shock of it enough to make everything black. It might be the disappointment after you roll over from hitting the ground a little bit hard, and looking up to see just how far away the sky really still is, because the thought of having lifted off and not made it once is enough to make you think I’m sick of falling, staying here is just easier.

I had a good job interview, the manager is going to call my references, and we’ll see what we’ll see. But a good productive week and a half was followed by yesterday’s sadness and feelings of broken pinions and fatigued flight muscles in light of my best friend’s upcoming wedding this weekend and all the planning and prep I haven’t been able to help her with despite the fact that I promised. But we’ll go to the wedding, despite my urge to ostrich my head again and admit my wings are just vestiges of an Ideal I’m not going to reach. And I’ll call the therapists whose names my shrink gave me this morning, when she told me she was proud of me for the little I’ve done, and uttered her professional opinion that things could be worse and that I’d work through this.

The YouTube clip isn’t a non-sequitur, it’s just my other favorite band (viva Cake forever and ever) and while this isn’t my favorite song of theirs, it’s a “nice” encapsulation of the depressive mindset.

I’m feeling a bit like Icarus now. I’ll get over it. You, my dears, though– you’re gorgeous in your (metaphorical) evening gown(s).

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5 thoughts on “You make nice to them all and assure them you’re fine and you’re great…

  1. phil

    the fact that you’re not ostriching and still moving forward/backward/sideways as long as its moving….just the fact that you’re not content to just sit there and look at the sky is very promising and I really hope you feel better soon 🙂

    Reply
  2. Robert Modean

    Erika,

    It is my hope that this would find you in better spirits, or at least with pinion joints mending. Amazing, is it not, the way a single misstep can undermine a successful run? Too often we judge ourselves more harshly than those who love us would dream of doing, our sins are magnified, our grace diminished, it is an unnecessary burden that keeps us Earth bound when we could be soaring.

    As you spoke of Icarus and Daedalus, I was reminded that Daedalus’ saving grace was his determination to dare nothing, that Icarus’ fate was sealed by his father’s fear. Icarus soared alone, he fell alone, Daedalus forever observing in the distance as his son perished. I much rather the tale of Jatayu and Sampati. Like Icarus, Jatayu soared unto the vault of heaven, but when the fire of the sun threatened his wings he did not fall, for Sampati, unlike Daedalus, flew to him and sheltered Jatayu from the burning sun with his own wings. You see, Jatayu was not alone.

    As little birds chirping in the bowers of Jetavana we were safe, yet in the surety of the nest there is no real life for us. To live we must stretch our wings. Fledglings do not soar their first time out, nor do their wings have the strength to bear them far even upon subsequent successes. They will fall, feathers torn and pinions broken, yet they will heal in time and, like Jatayu, they will fly again. It does not always seem so. When we are grounded our vision is narrow, we see only the Earth beneath our feet. Road dust blinds us, makes us miss signs, we can wander in circles unsure of the sun overhead, the haze that settles in obscuring things further, blanketing us in misery.

    En tout pays, il y a une lieue de mauvais chemin.

    It is at those moments when the rough ground beckons that we must step back and consider the path we are on. Ask yourself, how far have I come from the day when I first left the bower? Since the first time I took wing, since the first time I flew, since the first time I fell? When you get up again, are those wings or mere facsimiles? Does it matter when the earth is beneath you? When you are soaring through the morning air? The act of flight is not dependent on the wings, but the bird. Tu n’es pas un faucon, mais tu toujours deve essayer de planer.

    Hoping this finds you and yours well,

    Robert

    Reply

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