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I remember when I was a kid, reading about people wearing black for a year after a close relative died. All black seemed terribly gloomy, and a year seemed way too long.

But now that I'm approaching the anniversary of my aunt's death, I look back and see that I haven't been up to as much as I expected during the whole of the last year. Writing, music, and so many other things that I love have been harder to start and harder to sustain. Stuff slips my mind when it shouldn't.

Admittedly, for me, being stuck in black for the whole year would have made things worse. I've always loved bright colors and fun clothes, and those have been a comfort to me. But I wonder, if people had known I wasn't myself, might some of the rough spots been smoothed over a bit by other people offering a quiet bit of extra kindness? Maybe there was a practical reason for those mourning clothes, after all.

Not that I want to wear all that black, mind you. Give my my purple and green and rainbow dresses!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
You know how the Red Cross gives out those "Be kind to me. I just gave Blood." stickers? Maybe a more general "I'm having a rough day. Be kind to me." or "I'm feeling rotten today. Be nice or I might bite." or some such might be a new line of stickers or buttons. What do you think?

They could come in both B&W and bright colors to accommodate different outlooks.

More seriously: I hope you're feeling more yourself as each week goes by. I know how easily one slides into the habit of feeling a little bit down, and how difficult it is to get out of that.
Oct. 1st, 2014 06:32 pm (UTC)
Perhaps I'm being cynical, but except in the context of groups I know well, I am afraid such stickers would backfire--that there would be people who would make fun of the stickers or use what they might see as your advertised distractedness as an invitation to try to take advantage of you one way or another. Hmmmm...I wonder why I'm feeling so cynical this morning?

As to feeling myself, it's odd. I'm not feeling unlike myself, that I'm aware of, but then I look back and think "why is this taking so long?" or "gee, this thing appears to be hard every day, that doesn't make sense" or things like that. It's like some of the process is invisible to me, even though the results are visible in retrospect.

I think it's that invisibility that prompted me to post, to try to bring it into my consciousness more. You can find ways to compensate for the failings you're aware of, but invisible stuff can blindside you.
Oct. 1st, 2014 12:52 pm (UTC)
I wore very dark clothing with black jacket, slacks, and shoes for over a week after my brother died. No one noticed, even though I rather rarely dress in such dark colors. I think modern society is just too fast-paced for people to notice.
Oct. 1st, 2014 06:22 pm (UTC)
I don't think that's it, except in a very general sense. I mean, sure we are overbooked and overtired for the most part, and that does cut down on what we notice, to some degree. But here I don't think it's the noticing so much as the understanding that was the cause of the disconnect.

By that I mean that our culture has changed, and people don't assume dark clothing is for mourning (except specifically at funerals) because out of that context it could mean so many other different things.

For instance, people may have noticed, but lacked the context to think it meant anything more than you weren't able to do laundry two weeks in a row, so you were down to your less favorite or more formal clothes until you had time to rectify that. Alternatively they may have noticed the change, but didn't know how to ask you about it without risking making you or themselves uncomfortable.
Oct. 4th, 2014 01:59 am (UTC)
This is a good possibility. People knew in my case, but maybe I just wear my difficult times well. ;-)

I suspect it's all more about comfort levels and this "TMI" nature of modern society. We tend to put so much of ourselves online, but it seems much of that is some sort of facade painted positive and confident, at least for those who seem to have good social popularity in such spaces.
Oct. 4th, 2014 04:48 am (UTC)
Many people are very uncomfortable talking about death or grieving. Knowing the reason might have been the reason for not saying anything, either due to their discomfort level or to being unwilling to risk saying the wrong thing.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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