Tuesday, 27 December 2011


“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As the year draws to its close, I find myself in a melancholy mood. “Dark biliousness” – so did the ancient Greeks call this excess of negative humours that manifests itself as a feeling of glumness with a sad mien and lack of energy, propensity to tears, a depression. It is a mood that makes one particularly selfish. One stays inside and pulls the blinds down – staying in at home is optional.

With lots of thoughts. So many thoughts that one’s head threatens to burst asunder. “What if…”; “Maybe…”; “Had things been different…”; “If so-and-so had said this, done this…”; “If only…”; “All would be different now…” – so many alternative universes that my head will surely explode. Parallel realities, all unreal. How can one escape from this dark, deep pit that saps one’s life?

Another year draws to a close. Where did all that time go? What happened? How did all those days and nights rush by? Even with a few hours sleep a night every night, the year rushed by as if I were on an express train, seeing all the brightly-lit stations flit by, and only now, I am stopped still in a dark tunnel. The train has stopped, no lights, no lights at the end of the tunnel. And yet my destination awaits me – who knows how far ahead, but it’s there. That is the only certainty.

Clutching the darkness, I feel the palpable black bile that surrounds me with its glutinous, suffocating texture. Searching for something substantial to hold on to. A hand? No, it could clutch a dagger. A rope? No it could strangle me. A chain firmly fixed? No it could fetter me. A piece of wood? No, a crucifix to crucify me. Maybe just a warm embrace that I could sink into and be rescued by. Even if it stifles me…

And yet I go on, I invent my own rescue. I move on pulling myself forward with invisible threads, each strand attached to each of my cells. I follow a faint glimmer of hope in the darkness. A tiny, pale, blue little light. Hope is a lambent blue butterfly invented to rescue me from madness. So insubstantial and yet its wings strong enough to pull the invisible threads upwards and lift me out of my dark pit.

Another year waits in the wings, ready to come on stage upon hearing its cue. We shall travel together you and I. You, young and golden-haired, and I, well I am old and old enough to know better and be strong and go forward. I pull myself up and will manufacture a light at the end of the tunnel. We must hope otherwise we shall die at once. Death will come soon enough, no need to invite him before his time. This too shall pass.


  1. We have all been there or are there.
    I used to care about Christmas and new years eve.
    I don't anymore.
    I don't measure my accomplishments using 12 months as a measurement. The Mayas had different calendars and the Greeks used two measures of time "Chronos" and "Aion".
    Aion is the present and, seriously, I live the morning, the afternoon and the night and I don't care anymore the highs and lows of my life.
    But the warm embrace... the hug that make us feel understood and in piece with the universe for some seconds is a rare experience that I wish happened more often.
    You have the answer: inventing our own rescue, "with a little help from our friends". Inventing our subjectivity far from those of the vast majority of people.
    No, you're not mad. Just neurotics like everybody.
    You did a very beautiful piece.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Loved the picture.

  2. Dear Nicholas, I am sorry to hear that you are feeling like this. Melancholy and sadness can affect all of us, especially so around the festive season. The end of the year is always a time for reckonings and we all look back on what we have done in the past year. I doubt that there s anyone who hasn't regretted something they did or wished they had done or done better.

    Please cheer up and look towards those that are closest to you to provide that hug you so need. Sometimes all we need to do is just ask for it. People may be misled by silence and a downcast face. As your vey apt quote says, people mistake sadness fro coldness…

    Hope you feel better soon. A virtual hug for you!

  3. Everybody has their own gloomy days, and I know for every dark moments, the sun will rise again.

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  4. Sorry to hear you're feeling like this Nic….
    Hope things have improved for you and I'm glad to hear that you think that the new year will be a good one….
    Happy New Year!

  5. For every cloud there is a silver lining… It's all part of life and I am glad that you founf within yourself resources to drag you out of your dark pit.

    But as you say, a warm hug by someone who genuinely cares about us is usually all it takes to make us strong again.

    I hope 2012 will also be a memorable year for you, but this time for all the right reasons!