Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nostalgia and Melancholy

I don't know what my mother could have been thinking, but I saw a lot of PG-13/R-rated movies at a younger age than I should have. Whenever I talk to most children of the 80s, this is their experience also. Freddy Krueger and Revenge of the Nerds aren't appropriate entertainment for 8 year olds, but VCRs and cable and a naive mother made these household items. So I grew up on the slightly inappropriate.

You know, now that I think about it, she might have gotten this laissez faire media attitude from her mother, my grandma, who, whenever we visited overnight, put us in front of her home recording of the sleazy Patrick Swayze miniseries North and South for hours and hours. And Anne of Green Gables, but usually we chose North and South, especially after Patrick's Dirty Dancing days.

But I digress. And that won't be the last digression. You see, this is a meandering post of half-baked thoughts and somehow you'll manage to follow along. I hope.

Anyway, Steel Magnolias and Beaches were two of my family's favorites. We were an estrogen rich family, what can I say? These two films would devastate me every time I watched them. I would feel like my small body couldn't contain so much sadness. Every time I watched, I would hope that maybe this would be the time Shelby wouldn't die. This would be the time they'd find the cure for Hillary. And when the credits started to roll and the ending never changed, I would sulk around the house for a few hours feeling miserable about my little world.  I was a weird kid headed for adolescent depression, but what did I know about the nature of sadness or the downsides of emotionally torturing oneself? I was 9.

These days, I am hit by that same overwhelming sadness that lasts a few hours or maybe a couple of days every now and again. This strange emotion seems to hit me out of nowhere. It hides around corners and finds me when I least expect it. It isn't full on depression because it usually doesn't last for long. I can still function. My eating habits do not change.  I sleep just fine and it fades pretty quickly most of the time.  

Its just that for a small spurt I feel glum. Blue. Ho-hum about life. And this week that strange nostalgia/melancholy/exhausted with the human condition feeling hit me. I miss the summertime. The leaves are all gone now. I miss childhood. I miss college and my mom's house and nightgowns and my sister and sleep. I feel bad about my students and what some of them go home to. Winter lasts a long time and I always have to scrape my windows in the morning. I need to do laundry and don't really want to. Marriage seems like a pipe dream and sometimes I'm not sure I could really put up with a real-life man toting his many imperfections. I haven't been shopping in ages (for me) and I'm proud of that fact but I sort of want to go shopping. My calf and thigh muscles ache from this new commitment to the gym I've made and that giant walking field trip (i.e. HIKE) I went on with my 9th graders this week. I always feel sort of tired lately because I can't seem to get to bed early lately. And I just feel sort of down.

So is it daylight saving time? Is it a lack of seratonin? Is my period on the way? Did something happen that I am feeling blueish about and I forgot about it? Am I bored? Sleep deprived? Is the stress (which is actually in a temporary hiatus) taking its toll?  Is my body still recovering from cold after cold after cold?  Why do these ho-hums hit us every now and again? I'm just wondering why melancholy and a sense of nostalgia come to visit sometimes. Because the irony is that I'm trying to take good care of myself. I've been hitting the gym like a regular. I've been eating better (even sugary goodness has taken a back seat in my diet). I've been trying to read and think and clear my mind. So what gives?  Is there something I'm missing?  What body message have I missed lately?
And tell me I'm not alone here.    


Melissa said...

You don't know me, I came across your blog through Kim's. Hope you don't mind. I was reading this post and wanted you to know that I've felt the same way lately. I know that you are not alone. Heavenly Father is there to help you, as well as friends. I am a teacher (spec. ed. with students that struggle a little with reading, language, and math) and I wonder sometimes if they can tell the way I'm feeling. I believe some of us do suffering winter blues but we get over it. At work I have heard that people do suffer winter blues which isn't bad. We have to strive to do One Step At A Time and stay Positive. I don't think you are missing anything. Just remember prayer is the key and Heavenly Father will take away our burdens if we just go to him. Hope things get better for you!

Alice said...

Oh kid. i so know the feeling. Nothing really wrong yet kinda glum. The good news is those nights end right? Before you know it, Christmas will be over, Spring will be in full force, and another school year will be coming to an end. You will wonder what the heck happened to several months. It passes so quickly.

Hope you are feeling better kid. Sounds like we need a good chick flick a carmel sundae. That can make any girl feel better ;)

Mrs. Bennett said...

Everybody gets hit with the blues now and then, and moreso at certain times in their lives. I've had the "blues" or ho hums for months on end some times. Its normal I think. And I get the same way EVERY TIME I watch Steel Magnolias. I loved North and South too by the way.

Jen said...

Chocolate, my dear. You definitely need some chocolate.

Seriously, I'm there with you.

Anonymous said...

I have terrible melancholy and nostalgia all the time.I'm a woman and My Dr put me on a very small dose of testosterone and I felt so wonderful til he said that was long enough and took me off of it. Now I feel glum again. I just live with it. I spend my days wishing I could go back. Back to anything but the present.

Anonymous said...

I found your website by searching for info on Nostalgia and Melancholy. I often feel this way, always wanting to go back to past times. I find this quite strange as life is pretty good for me and I feel very lucky. I sometimes think it is due to my age (39) and the realisation that time does seem to fly by so much quicker these days and I really don't want to get any older!!! I agree that the seasons have a large part in this as I am now counting down to next spring, England's winters seem to get longer each year. Anyway, as I keep being told by my older relatives, we must enjoy where we are now because life passes so quickly.

Pristine Girl said...

You are definetly not alone! The days are getting darker and shorter as winter is up ahead, I feel the exact same way. I feel old (17 years) and I have this endless longing of everything! A bittersweet nostalgia that seems to kill all hope somehow.

Take care,