There Will Be Times When You Tell Yourself

There will be times when you tell yourself that your tears belong to a film, that a talented director reached behind your eyes and pulled sadness through them. You are only sad because people on a screen are sad and a script writer has enticed you into their world and you have lived as part of it for a little while.

There will be times when you tell yourself that your tears belong to a book, to the last five pages when the character you have fallen in love with finally dies after telling their life story with words that will haunt you and speak through you when you next try to write. You are only sad because you have fallen into someone else’s mind and they have written sad words about sad things.

There will be times when you tell yourself that your tears belong to a television show, that an actor looked into a camera with such expressive eyes that you felt something reach out and tug at your soul for a moment. You are only sad because you have watched another person pretending to be sad and you are allowing yourself to be emotionally manipulated as part of an immersive experience.

There will be times when you tell yourself that your tears belong to a song, that minor keys and mournful voices are calculated to have precisely this effect. You are only sad because a mathematical formula wrapped in musical notes has been designed to carry sadness to you and deliver it in a perfect package.

When you are asked why you are crying, you will manufacture a self-deprecating smile and say “Oh, it’s just this film or this book or this show or this song. It always does this to me. It’s just so well directed or written or played”. You will be believed because these are acceptable reasons to cry and you will not be questioned further, because you are not really sad and you have nothing to explain.

When you cry in a silent room with no screen and no pages, you will hurl words around and they will crash and splinter and shatter against the high stone walls of judgement you built inside and around yourself. You will tell yourself that the ache in your bones and the ache in your mind are not reason enough, that your fear is not justified, that the shuddering steps you take when your body is not strong enough to simply put one foot in front of the other are not enough to cause this frustration.

You are not sad because you have lost something. You are not sad because time has passed and been taken from you. You are not sad. You are not sad. You will tell yourself over and over again that you do not have the right to be sad and you will step out of your silent room and your memories and your wasted wishes and your sentences that run on too long because you have never managed to create a structure for the things that you do not believe you are allowed to feel.

There will be times when you tell yourself that your tears belong to something transitory and shallow because this will be easier to accept. You will learn to avoid silent rooms and lean against walls and never look up. You will split yourself in two. When you speak of honest experience you will speak with the voice of an observer, all analysis and projection and calculated empathy, but when you talk of fictional worlds you will allow your voice to crack and fall to a whisper and your breath to catch in your throat.

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