Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds? You mean like the blues?
Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
-Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Deep down inside, I’ve had a case of the mean reds recently. A few things have led to this feeling. The passing of a grandmother. The unexpected loss of two beloved pets. The decision to move an aunt to hospice care. Each of these events in quick succession. Each in my peripheral, but directly affecting my loved ones. Not so close that I’m shaken to my center, but close enough to cause a grey cloud of mortality to settle over me. Close enough to bring little pangs of heartache. And close enough to make me ask the question: would it be better to just not feel? To just be numb? To live life as emotionally removed as possible? What price would eliminate those mean reds altogether?
There have also been some really, really amazing moments recently. Moments that are defined by the people.
Like when Kevin and I met Kelly and Nelson for burgers and we laughed so hard that my sides hurt – a common theme because a BBQ at their house two weeks later brought the same laughter and the beautifully aching ribs.
Moments that span the length of a day. Like playing adventurer with Leann and Kelsey through a market in an old rail yard station, a trip to the botanical gardens and aquarium, and a hilarious (and delicious) experience at a hole-in-the-wall with really tasty popsicles and an unusual combination of ingredients in a Doritos bag bowl.
Or when I was shopping with Lisa and she tried on a suit two sizes too large and said that she felt like one of the Three Stooges from the old cartoon. And we couldn’t stop laughing because, well, that was the perfect description.
And then there was last Saturday…catching up with an elementary school friend over brunch and a long walk.
Celebrating my mom and Kevin’s mom’s birthdays with a cozy, relaxed backyard grill-fest – nothing fancy, just sitting around the table, listening to stories and the robin chirping, enjoying the celebration and time with our family.
A concert on a warm summer night – standing on a lawn packed with people, shoulder to shoulder with a couple of friends, singing along at the top of my lungs.
And it struck me.
The price for numbness: sacrificing the moments of pure bliss.
Because after all – if you can’t feel the pain…well, you’re going to miss out on the joy.
And joy trumps the pain.
So. I’ll keep the feelings.
What helps you when you’re feeling down? What moments of bliss have you felt recently?