Struggling with the Wasteland.
They call it the Lofgren Melancholy. Turns out this is an overly romantic title for a state in which many people find themselves from time to time… the waves of self doubt that arrive unbidden and unwanted.
Some people will tell you of my humility, my self depreciating humor and my unwillingness to take center stage. Others will tell you I’m uncomfortably sure of myself, that I do too many things, laugh too loud and take up too much space. Some will tell you I’m happy. Some will tell you I’m not.
Both are true. It just depends.
Turns out humans are complex.
But ultimately, it comes down to my ability to imagine a positive future at any given time, whether for myself or others. Can I see that future in my mind, the glimmer of it? Or is my vision hopelessly clouded and does it feel like I’ll have to wander through a misty wasteland forever?
Fortunately the clouds always part, usually within a day or two. Beauty pulls me out, because beautiful things restore my hope in goodness, in kindness and in purpose.
But the clouds always return.
I remember Columbine. It doesn’t seem so long ago and maybe that’s why it is so dangerous. I was a senior in high school and those kids could have been me. They weren’t any worse or better than me.
I couldn’t comprehend that this was a thing that happened in real life, that it was happening in my country. An event like this was allowed to escort my childhood offstage, closing out my century.
And I was a dancer. I just wanted to dance, to make beautiful things and let that be enough. And I went to class and I did my plies, but I knew people were sobbing outside.
The world does its work.
And I wondered how hopeless one must be to seek redemption in destruction. Purification in the ripples of anguish caused. Maybe if you live in a misty wasteland long enough, you think only a knife or a gun will cut you out. You think you have to etch your pain on the rest of the world to be free.
I don’t know.
Have we all been in a bit of a wasteland since Columbine? Have the clouds grown thicker with each new massacre? With each new body hitting the pavement?
Or is it just me in here?
I see kids marching and speaking out against the horror and people are listening and for a moment I allow myself to feel hope, to see a future where this isn’t an acceptable price or a weekly headline. A future where we don’t all take sides and revisit the same arguments again and again, while politicians laugh at us and cash their checks and do nothing.
But its just a glimpse of a future.