I don’t want my children to think sadness is only reserved for people in a tough spot. Part of the reason I’m ever telling my story as their mother is because I find it really important to share with them life’s layers. Like, how I was in a full season of celebrating, and that season of celebrating opened to another season of something else. A brief season of melancholy under the gray fall sky.
This weekend, as summer turned to fall, and as we rode bikes, as I took the ferry over the river, as I just walked around, I thought a lot about what it means to have a moment to just be sad. A moment. A day. If necessary, even a week to settle into the inevitability of human nature. Many of my friends and I have talked about this on the phone, and I realized: I struggle with sadness as a normal occurrence because I feel guilty. In my life, I feel drenched in privilege. To feel anything but joy when life is this good feels spoiled. I’ve seen a not-so good life; mine’s good. What reason is there to be sad? “Just be present!” I beg of myself.
But then I look at my kids, and I see how each of them swims between joy and sadness at different moments. Sometimes I move along with them; sometimes I leave them to sit in it as they wish, sorting through it to find strength. I leave my kids to do this, but I find it incredibly difficult to do myself: sit in sadness. It’s easier to push past, get things done, move along.
The leaves started to fall in New York last week. And this weekend, I grabbed our jackets from the top shelf of the closet. Today, I’m wearing black in solidarity with survivors. This afternoon, when I get the kids, I’ll smile and beam with a day’s worth of missing them kind of joy. Fall is a season to take in slowly, allowing for the subtle way things turn and take shape, and, eventually, fall away. I like the idea of letting this happen within our bodies too.
(Photography by Amanda Petersen for LaTonya Yvette)
Really appreciate this share. Fall truly falls hard on me.
You’re welcome. Take care!