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the swell and the breath.

i've never really been of the belief that happiness is a choice.

there was that one summer i went around paying lip-service to it--to the belief. that one summer i wanted so desperately for it to be true that need eclipsed sense and i wore the phrase heavy around my neck.

i should clarify.

it's not that i don't think happiness a choice, it's that i think the choosing only goes so far.

it's part choice, part fight,  part smidge of luck, some indeterminate amount of divinity, a hell-of-a-lot of hard work, part ritual, part mystery, part getting out of bed in the morning. and when all is said and done, you offer those things up. like a prayer, you offer them up. and then you wait. you wait to see if they're enough.

because the blue is big and the blue is deep.

and some days, some weeks, some indeterminate stretches of time, they're not .

and sadness swells and breathes like an out-of-tune accordion.

i watched it approach this go round. watched as it appeared on the lip of the horizon. watched as it slowly, steadily, hurtled toward me. and i got out of bed each morning, and i payed homage to the ritual and the mystery, and i had my morning coffee, but the sadness took hold.

that hauntingly familiar sadness filled and unfurled. settled in.

both hollowing and hallowing is that blue.

and in the space it created, i with flailing arms and pitiable grace, groped for meaning.

two days ago, on the train, i began to cry. while reading a short essay about a father's love for his son, i wept.

i wept not because i was sad but because the words were beautiful and simple and wholly solvent.

and in doing so, in weeping, there was a thought:

here i am.

here i am, the girl moved to tears by the love a father not even my own.

and the meaning--the reason for this stretch of time--while still unknown, is somewhere in there--there, in that moment.

that is what is known, the boundaries of this swath: the reading of an essay on a train. and the human response.

and for now that is solace enough. for now, that is the salve that will heal.


Allie said...

I just can't get over how everything you write moves me. I could read it all over again and again... and maybe again. I'm anticipating the novel you write someday.

That paragraph on how happiness isn't only a choice is SO true. So, so true.

Brittan said...

happiness is fleeting. for me, satisfaction is now the goal. satisfaction and gratitude. feeling whole.

my heart goes out to you, meg. (oh how many times i've cried on the train and for how many reasons.) your words are powerful.

Tara said...

Wow. This one resonates deeply with me. It's lovely.

Jandy xx said...

meg, isn't it funny. the other day you posted a link, which i followed, and on that post you'd left a beautiful coment to the author about how you love how she writes, and ho it leaves you feeling like theres nothing left to say. that there, is exactly how i feel when i read your words

Carley said...
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Carley said...

You have a beautiful style of writing.
we are in completely different parts of the country and completely different places in our lives, but from reading your most recent posts, I can relate to your words as if they were my own. Thank you for helping me realize the words that were there all along.

Lauren said...

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being."

You're stronger than the darkness.

Britti said...

Sometimes it's like you would write what I cannot express. Thank you.
For me part of my happiness ritual is reading blogs, especiallly yours.
Love, Britt

Siobhan said...

Yes. This.

Julie said...

Absolutely beautiful.

wildchild said...

"i wept not because i was sad but because the words were beautiful and simple and wholly solvent"

this is how i feel every time i read something you've written. you have a beautiful gift meg. don't ever feel not good enough.

Ana Magdalena said...
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Ubu! said...

This writing has struck a chord with me and what I'm currently going through. Nice to know that someone else feels it too and can describe it so eloquently.

Ali said...

Meg, I just want to let you know that reading your blog brings me comfort and makes me feel a little less alone in the world : )

mackenzie ray bryant said...

I stumbled upon your blog recently and just so happen to love your writing. Especially this post. I love how you give this chilling movement to sorrow, because it's so true. The swell and the breath. It's so real. It reminds me of the gray New England sea, ebbing up through coves and rough sand beaches...

This might seem random, but every October I read Dracula. And there's this one line in it that I kept visualizing while reading your post (no, nothing about blood sucking) Stoker compares this gloomy scene of waves crashing through the harbor, to a "bullying man going through a crowd".

And isn't that kind of what it feels like? Like you're just bullying through this impossible crowd -nearly suffocating- trying to reach out the other side of it, and clambering to do so... but you will.

Anyway, I thought it was just about time I left a comment. Keep it up! I love having things to read.

Anonymous said...

i read you almost everyday...have been for quite some time...i read you..because you inspire me to write better....because you do...you DO have a gift....

but lately...i think you need to see somebody about your being sad and blue and low all the time...its a cycle that gets repeated regularly....you are UP for a few days....a week and then again...the next blog is about you feeling blue....

i sincerely don't mean it in bad way but its making your writing monotonous ...and stale.....just my two cents.....

Anonymous said...

Listen to Ben Howard - keep your head up.

It's beautiful and it keeps one going and ones head up.

Anonymous said...

LOVE THIS >> "it's part choice, part fight, part smidge of luck, some indeterminate amount of divinity, a hell-of-a-lot of hard work, part ritual, part mystery, part getting out of bed in the morning. and when all is said and done, you offer those things up. like a prayer, you offer them up. and then you wait. you wait to see if they're enough."

Hope you get your computer back soon.

Anonymous said...

i don't know about everyone else, but to me your writing is ANYTHING but stale and monotonous. beautiful, precious, earth-shattering, eye-opening, tear-wrenching, mouth-gaping words you somehow breathe into the world. i check your blog every single day, if not more often, and when i don't see a new post my shoulders slump. because sometimes your words are the things that carry me. and we've never even met. that's what makes it so beautiful i almost cry - i've never met you, and yet i wonder what you're doing at a certain moment in time, how you're feeling, if you've felt a similar way i have, if some days your morning coffee just isn't hot or strong enough like mine. i grew up without a childhood, and i still found love. it's meant for you in the most fundamental way, like the air we breathe. this will pass. you will get through it. and one day you'll be lying around on a saturday morning with your love in bed while you read some posts to him about those days that made you who you are. and while you might not want to RETURN to them, you won't regret them. this i promise.

by r. said...

i love that you write about elusive happiness, because that is so often the topic in my own head. and i'm just glad that i'm not the only one who finds it so mysterious. :)

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't know how you manage to speak the words that are already in my head and heart but it seems that every time I read your posts it's like you are walking beside me in my life.
Personally, I'm got a lot going on, that few know about, on top of simply living in NYC, and somehow though we both live in the huge crazy city and have probably never even passed each other on the street, your blog gives me some semblance of feeling as though I'm not alone in all this.
Dramatic of me? Perhaps. But then again, the opposite of dramatic is what? Normal? I refuse to be that.
In any case, thank you.

cristie said...

i read the above comments.
you have a mission.

Mindy said...

your words are still magic. happiness is hard work and necessitates much sadness to come out on the other side with more beauty and more joy. i love the comment above about bullying through an impossible crowd. who knew happiness was such a struggle?

i like this http://pinterest.com/pin/411381562/
i think the same can be said for happiness as well as beauty. still fighting for it over here.

Rebecca Campos said...

I've been reading your blog for maybe two or three months and there hasn't been a day I haven't come here to check if there is something new.
All I can say is that your words seem to have come out of my mouth at times. You know that feeling when you see someone (and you know you guys live in totally different worlds) and you just wanna be friends with them because you're just too similar?
That is exactly how I feel. I have even rebloged some of your words because they express the exact feeling, on that day, at that hour.
I truly hope things turn out just fine for you and I truly hope you find YOUR OWN happiness without worrying about the rest of the world.
As a good friend of mine used to say: 'You're the goddess of your own world' and nobody but you can make things happen for yourself.

Thanks for inspiring all those people (me included).


Franziska said...

But is a choice not still a choice even when the thing you're choosing is not granted to you right this instant?

I think that choosing to want to be happy is an important step in getting there. It is your directive, your pointing hand from whichever place you may start out.

Unless all hope is sucked out of you (and I understand that in one's darkest moments that may be the case) you can always choose happiness as your destination. Don't you?


Anna said...

i dont know you (outside of this blog), but i love you.