"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Sunday, November 8, 2015

All the feels

I'm supposed to be editing, but it's Sunday evening and I just got home from a really fun wine tasting with my horse buddies, and everyone knows you write drunk and edit sober. I'm not technically drunk, or even buzzing, but I'm using that saying to take a brief break.

This post was supposed to be about my son and his last recital and how it all went down. This was his composition recital. According to him, the concert was for "people who really love him." I wasn't certain what to expect, but I confess I was disappointed when he told me he wouldn't be performing any of the music. 

"The professors don't want us writing music for ourselves," he told me. "Which is weird, since most successful artists are the ones that write their own music."


Anyway, what we were treated to was a portfolio of what he can do. There were pieces for different instruments, songs for soloists and choirs, scores for film, all culminating in a 20-minute "student project."

All in all, everything was musical and entertaining, and not as weird and atonal and "out there" as I thought it might be. Being his mom, I get all sparkly-eyed when I hear anything he does, so I'm no judge as to whether the music was good, but the audience liked it. 

"It Was Beginning Winter"

And then, he stepped on stage and conducted his student project, and I was sent into a deep, meaningful thought process for days. I'd like to tell you about the music, but honestly, I don't remember the music. I only remember the feelings.

The name of the piece was "It's All Too Much," and it began with a statement that we are overwhelmed with information via the internet and the media, followed by examples proving that statement. The examples built up, from benign information, to the daily bad news we are bombarded with, until the entire orchestra, singers, and even Marcus were screaming at each other about all the horrors in the news, what should be done about them, and an insistence that ignoring a tragedy makes one an emotional Nazi. 

As the screams reached a crescendo, Marcus stormed off the stage, then there was a sudden silence, followed by music and a song/recitation of a web comic called CatFoxWolf on tumblr, titled "Disquiet." (it's in three parts, the Part one beginning here - http://catfoxwolf.tumblr.com/post/56075944959/disquiet-part-i-of-ii-part-ii-is-here-i). Basically, the idea in the comic is that we are an amazing species, built by incredible circumstances, with such a unique and complex range of emotions, it would be insane to think we should confine ourselves to just "happy."

As much as we sometimes fight against some of our more raw, frightening feelings, they are necessary in order to be our full selves. And the last line of the comic, the last line of Marcus' piece, was so Marcus, I wanted to weep:

"Everything's gonna be okay."

I was all set to discuss this generation and the grand possibility that they were embracing their feelings and we would someday see the end of Strength = Not Feeling, Real Men (or Big Girls) Don't Cry, and know that we were moving toward enlightenment. 

Then I saw two things on Facebook, of different weights, but the same feeling. One of my friends posted today was the anniversary of her son's death. Another friend posted that her dog had (much wanted) puppies, and they had all died. I know there is no comparison between a human and a puppy, but the awfulness is still there, that here is New Life, wrapped in Joy and Expectations, and Life is Not. Supposed. To. Do. This. 

And I feel all the bad feelings of grief and anger and poignancy, and I don't want to. I'd rather not be such a normal, unique being and have these emotions. But they make the other feelings, of happiness and sweet joy, so much bigger. 

So this post is a reminder to cherish all the feels, whether you like them or not. Hug your children, too.

1 comment:

Jennifer Silva Redmond said...

Wish I could hug YOU! Was just talking to an old friend who's dying. And now this...thanks, my friend. Permission to weep.

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