Post and a Poem: Sad is Brave

First things first: it’s been a while since I’ve posted, and for that, I apologize. I could tell you that “a lot has happened since last post,” which would be true.

Through a minor miracle, I started a new contract as a freelance technical writer. And, thanks to a lot of hard work (plus some great managers), that three-month contract has turned into an entire year.

I’ve had the greatest creative success as a writer of my life: my novel Iri and the Spirit World got a bunch of full manuscript requests, superb feedback from many agents, and even requests for future submission from editors at some of the biggest publishers around the world. Even now I’m waiting to hear the good word from an amazing agent that I would be thrilled to work with.

Moreover, I finished a draft of my newest novel, an MG Fantasy featuring an anxious 12-year-old hero exploring an all-too-real world of dreams inhabited by incredible creatures he must train and overcome.

I even turned 30.

See? A lot has happened since my last post, heh. And yet, that’s not what this is about.

The biggest thing keeping me from posting has been myself. Somewhere in the midst of all those things above, I dipped into a whole lot of anxiety. Now, anyone who’s been here before knows that anxiety and I are old friends. And by “friends,” I mean that I want to shoot anxiety into the sun, but since that’s not an option I live with it instead.

Even more than that, I found that I was trying to avoid being sad about a bunch of admittedly really sad things that were happening in my life as well.

Fun fact: Don’t try to avoid/escape your emotions. They don’t actually go anywhere. Seriously, they’re still there. For real.

–Captain Obvious

Sadness, like Inside Out taught us, has a very important purpose: adapting, accepting, and moving forward. Saying farewell and preparing to say hello. Letting go and beginning anew.

Sadness makes those things possible…

And yet so often I and much of our society treats sadness like something that needs to be avoided at all costs. “Don’t cry,” we’re told. “There’s no crying in [football]/[the office]//[cake].” “Don’t be sad. Smile. Chin up. Distract yourself.”

And so on.

I think a lot of us are afraid of sadness. I know I am. And yes, of course, too much sadness isn’t a good thing. Like any emotion, it must come in moderation. Steep yourself in it for too long and you throw yourself entirely askew. But too often, we don’t let ourselves feel sadness at all. Or perhaps, we only do at a sad movie so we can “get a good cry.”

Sure. We all need a good cry sometimes. But we also don’t need to use a movie to justify it. We don’t need to hide from how we feel about the challenges we all face.

And we do all face challenges.

So, to conclude this extremely long (clearly unplanned) introduction, I took a lot of these thoughts and wrote a poem. Please know that this poem is strictly what I knew I needed to hear. What I know I needed to say to me.

But I hope it helps you, too.

Sad is Brave

Sad is brave.
Letting in all the everything,
open, honestly
more yourself
than them.
Sad is brave.
The old say
not to cry,
but I think that’s cowardly,
denying the power of a tear
to heal
or save:
you see,
sad is brave.
But so is happy;
neither one lives
of all I am or would like to be.
Each muddled in this
mixture called
and God, I see,
sad and happy
are stronger
than I think
like me
are brave.

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