Friday, August 10, 2012

Meet My Old Friend Melancholy

The weather today, Friday, August 10, 2012 here in the greater-St. Louis metro area (IL side) has been like that of a bright autumn day. At the office I work, the people who have stopped by and many of the people I have talked on the phone remarked what a beautiful day it is. As much as I'm happy for the break for those who work outside and who have endured the hottest month in recorded history and even though I recognize the beauty of nature around me, I would not describe today as being a beautiful day. The weather today is too much like the crisp autumn days of October instead of the usually sultry days of early August. October is a part of Autumn and I don't like Autumn very much anymore. Autumn is the precursor to Winter and Winter is the discontent of my soul. So, while everyone around me seemed to be basking in the crisp freshness of a cool day after two months of sweltering heat and humidity, I found myself struggling to ignore my old friend melancholy.

Melancholy is misunderstood in the post-modern American culture I live. People often equate it with depression. They are wrong. Depression brings about a sense of almost total apathy mixed with sadness. Melancholy isn't like that. Melancholy is a sense of longing and loss that's similar to nostalgia, but it's a much stronger and more intense feeling than nostalgia. Also, though there is sadness, there is no apathy.

Melancholy and I have known each other for many years. I don't know when we first became acquainted but I believe it was sometime when I was just in college for the first time or shortly after I had graduated. It would leave during the spring and summer when the weather turned bright and the hopeful promises that were hidden behind the dark and drab coverings of winter finally began to break free. It seems that every autumn since then, melancholy returns. Things will be fine and then the weather turns and suddenly, melancholy is back.

I don't look forward to it's return, but I am aware that autumn usually brings it back. However, it's only the beginning of August. There's more than a month more of summer, so I was taken aback by today's sudden appearance.

I'm sure that the recent closing of ALL SHOOK UP! has something to do with it. Any experienced actor knows that after the close of a show, it is often soon followed by a sense of loss that is sometimes mixed with longing. Even bad shows often cause this effect. It has to do with a group of diverse people uniting together for a common cause and all that jazz. Due to the bond that was created on this show and the special production that it became, I know that this feeling of loss and longing will be more intense and probably last longer. However, even when you're prepared for something, you can never fully prepare yourself for how the event actually unfolds. I know that's part of what has happened with the closing of ALL SHOOK UP!

Sometimes I wish melancholy would leave me alone. However, I know that it's visits have made me a better and stronger person than I would be otherwise. I'm more empathetic and caring now than I would have been if melancholy had never visited me.

So, meet my old friend melancholy. He's not the most welcomed of guests, but despite the sadness he brings, he'll actually make your life better in the end.

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