When things were blue

Way back when I was in Barcelona in April last year I suffered from a serious bout of home sickness and loneliness. My tour had ended four days earlier, I had spent the previous three wandering to places I had visited with the tour and wanted a better look at. That morning though I woke up and suddenly really didn’t want to struggle though that day.

I really struggled with not being able to communicate with others properly. To understand and be understood. I had just past 2 weeks of misunderstandings and apologetic smiles, I’d had enough. I guilted myself out of bed (you’re in Barcelona! get your ass out of bed), narrowly got in for last servings of breaky at the hotel. Moped along the Moll d’Espanya and around Bari Gothic feeling entirely miserable. Miserable that I couldn’t speak, miserable that I was alone, miserable that I was miserable, ad infiatum…

My last few days there were a compete sook fest. Here’s a photo of me at a cafe in Port Vell looking like a prize emo.

Self portrait at Starbucks, Port Vell

I wandered around that beautiful city in a complete daze.

And at the airport, I was relieved. I was going home. This horrible feeling in my head would have no reason to be there and I could go back to normal.

29 hours of transit later and I feel worse. Much worse. And everything hung on me, everything made me feel worse. The customs men told me off for the undeclared half of a mars bar in my carry on (the other half was eaten in Singapore). My parents mucked up the time my plane landed so there was no one to pick me up. My room had been packed up and prettified for the impending house sale. Phil was away in South America and I felt like I had no home any more.

So, I spent  a good 2 days in bed. Even if I wanted to be awake I couldn’t be. Turns out I get terrible jetlag.

I think the biggest thing about this very short phase was how much I didn’t want anyone to know about it. Even afterwards, I was complely convinced of two things; that talking about it would make it ‘real’ and a problem, and that people would look down on me for being depressed. I mean really, what did I have to be sad about – I was on holiday, in Barcelona and I’d just bought 3 pairs of awesome shoes.

It was embarrassing.
I mean, there are folks out there who don’t  even know how to spell Barcelona.

I didn’t talk to anyone about it, just slept, ate and floated around my house. Went to work and floated around there too.

Then one morning I went for a run.

The sun wasn’t up yet, the sky was clear – I could see the stars. I ran along the beach and the bay was glassy, there was no wind, no chill in the air. It was my first run since coming back.

I absolutely glided along the pavement, I may as well have had wings. And when I got back home, I was sweaty and tired but my funk had gone.

Just like that.

• • •

This post was originally inspired by the Plinky Prompt “If you could get any tattoo for just a week, what would it be?”. At around this time I was reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. The story has a small tangent about a Jewish folk tale . The crux of which is the the question “What object can make a joyous man miserable, but a miserable man joyous…” and the answer “A ring with the engraving ‘gam zeh yaavor 'This too shall pass'‘ (This too shall pass)”. The phrase became a bit of a mantra for me at this time. The tattoo would be the previously mentioned Hebrew phrase around the base of my right hand index finger.

4 Responses to “When things were blue”

  1. Wonald Says:

    There is nothing embarassing about being in a funk, I’m glad you found a way to deal with it, even though I don’t think we deal with our lows the same way (or even on the same plane of existence).

    I’m wondering if this will fit on my index finger; “Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused.” :)

  2. Tess Says:

    There’s plenty of room on your forehead. :p

  3. David Says:

    I thought I would send some solidarity backwards through time to when you posted this (i didn’t see it because of crazy paper-writing). Am feeling very much the same way after a week of being home from Namibia.

    Anyway there was a king once upon a time who had everything you could ever want in the world, but he didn’t feel satisfied. So he got his advisors together and said to them, “I want you to bring me something that will make me feel happy when i am sad, and sad when i am happy.”

    So they went away and thought about it for a while, and then eventually they came back to him with a ring. On the ring were engraved the words, “This, too, shall pass.”

    (Also your use of the word funk is strangely the same as mine.)

  4. David Says:

    Oh my god, i totally didn’t read to the very end of your post before replying. :!

    I’m pretty sure that not only that story, but also the word “funk”, came to me originally from those books…

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