I keep wanting to put my glasses on, but of course they don't work any more. I don't know how I feel about this right now. Stupid, for taking on an extensive healing process in the middle of the academic term. Self-pitying, for wishing for something to be better for myself and ending up worse off than I was before, at least temporarily. (At least, I hope is it temporarily. This healing process is very slow.) Angry, for not feeling radically different about my life even with my new vision. Melancholy, because I've changed everything I can think of to change and I'm still lost.

Is this it yet, the dark night of the soul? How much darker is it going to get? How much more work can I do on myself and my life and still not be out of these dumps? Maybe I'm just stuck this way. Eeyore Forever. Maybe I'm not meant to be happy. Maybe trying to be happy is just an American disease. Maybe happiness is overrated. It's not fair, not to my family, who have suffered through my mid-life crisis ever since it was my young adult crisis. Not to my colleagues, who expect me to do my work like a good little worker bee. Not to myself, because I really am a good person. Mostly. Sometimes. When I'm not feeling like Eeyore. What is it that I am still not seeing about my life? What is it that I still need to change? In the past year alone, I've remodeled our home. I've found my daemon. I've changed my name. I've acknowledged myself as a smoker and then quit again. My husband and I have had our marriage blessed.  Now I've even changed my very vision of the world. And yet.... I can't escape from the melancholy that is me.  What if there is something inside of me, deep in my psyche, deep in my past, deep in my self, that simply is not fixable?  Does that make me a bad person?  Or just human?

Still waiting for that encounter on the way to Damascus....


  1. Happiness is overrated: remember Herodotus's dialogue between Solon and Croesus. The idea of happiness as a birthright is quite recent (Darrin McMahon's Happiness: A History is useful). I prefer to think in terms of satisfaction: am I satisfied that I've done a decent job at what I've attempted, flawed human being that I am? And do I participate in at least a couple of activities that give me satisfaction while I'm doing them? (Long-distance cycling is certainly one; scholarly research and writing can be if I let myself forget the distractions and deadlines.)

  2. I think there's at least a kernel of insight in Charles Kingsley's adage "we act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about." As a sage 2-year old (in fencing years) speaking to a relative youth of 7 (in fencing years) it seems to me that you might continue to find our sport to be a viable source. I wish you the speediest recovery possible. One other thought: even though reading is currently a challenge, you may want to take a gander at a book "The Body has a Mind of Its Own." The brain undergoes dramatic physiological changes when adapting to changes in the body as a result of injury or even learning to use a tool (such as an epee, foil or sabre.) The book won't tell you how to heal any more quickly, but it may boost your optimism that it can and will occur.

  3. Thanks, both of you! I'm feeling somewhat better today as my vision is starting to stabilize at a more manageable stage (still not fully healed, but neither incapacitating, although I can't drive yet), but this particular descent into melancholy has been productive if only for the responses it has elicited! Happiness is, indeed, overrated; it is an Eeyore response to frustration rather than an actual desire. Not that I wouldn't prefer to be happy, but as both of you point out, there is more and happiness as such isn't necessarily it. Alas, even fencing at the moment is a source of frustration: just as my practice has developed to a point where I truly enjoy my skill, our coach quit to open a new club which (once my vision returns) is going to require me to drive over twice as far as I do now to get to practice--and I can often spend as much as an hour in traffic getting to our old club. I am having to reexamine carefully what I value about the practice, how I am going to train and where, even what weapon. I need to post about this once my eyes are better.


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