The Little Sadness: A Condition Of Being Human

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sad woman

I have always been a little melancholy.

I was a sensitive child; I felt separate from the others, always observing, pulled to other worlds.

I could never simply be; I was born this way before life could try to undo me. Etched into the quantum self.

I call this The Little Sadness.

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It chased me toward adolescence and into my teen years.

Even on happy days, I might feel just a little sad. It was never so bad that I sought help. Just a condition of being human (for me).

To me, the little sadness is inarticulate sensitivity to the world.

Maybe sadness isn’t even the right word?

It is the acknowledgment of death and joy.

A sadness born of beautiful moments, like a lilac sky or a field of wildflowers you’ll never see again.

It’s the sadness of small things, a bench in the garden, or a stranger’s gaze passing by. Fragments of moments that slip in & away as a ribbon through time. A lot of it is empathy unmanaged.

A sadness wrapped in awe.

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The sadness is still here.

Sometimes it’s more than the sadness; it’s a trauma response to the world and oppression and circumstance.

But underneath all of that is the tiny grey-purple cloud in my heart.

I used to fear those moments alone with it.

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I used to look at it as a foreign object.

As if it were implanted inside of me from some strange, dark place.

I thought it was poison.

Why can’t I just be happy all the time?

I’m 36 years old in 2 months.

I have only now realized that sadness is just like happiness except I've been taught to fear this aspect, or worse, deny it.

But it plays its role, and just as swiftly as it rolls in, fog-like, it blurs out again.

You catch it rounding corners or you find it blooming from your chest in the middle of a birthday party.

But it helps me find love and saturated afternoon light and books and dreams.

It has its offerings.

I have learned to stop trying to cure it because it is a part of me.

It is a tender beast at my feet.

I have only learned to manage my expectations of it.

All it wants is for me to pay attention to the great everything and the mystery and the nuance of what it means to be alive.

Even if it’s really hard.

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Lisa Marie Basile is a writer, editor, and poet who founded Luna Magazine, an arts, culture, and social issues site for women. She's written for Good Housekeeping, The Huffington Post, Redbook, xoJane, Blisstree, and more. Follow her on Twitter.

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