A little while back I threw myself into a project that terrified me. After multiple attempts at joining my writing with another’s, and being burnt every time, I once again gave it a shot. I wrote to a woman here on WordPress, someone whose poetry was unspeakably beautiful, and asked to write a duet with her. I could only be speaking of the wonderfully talented Hastywords.
I didn’t get burned in the process. She was amazing. In fact, you can see our masterpiece here on her site.
By the time this was finished, I had both of her books on my Kindle and she had mine and we were happily diving into the world each other had painted.
I had to start at the beginning. I picked up Darker Side of Night and went through my nightly routine.
Fill the bathtub.
Pour some wine.
Soak away all the crap of the day.
Focus on someone else’s words instead of my own.
A couple of hours later, with stone-cold water and skin that was wrinkled past any redemption lotion could offer, I stepped out from the tub smiling. Page after page of beautiful prose, heartbreaking honesty, and a braveness I envied. Her words swept me away and carried me long into the next day.
I thought, not for the first time, that I should be proud of myself for being able to keep up in that duet with her. I had a complete and utter fan girl moment, the delight of reading her words, becoming a friend with someone capable of making every line of prose a praise to the love of words.
And then I read her second book.
Let me say, before I even begin talking about Depression’s Dance that I am not a great person. Truly. I have moments of failure just like everyone else. My mother suffers from depression. I’m not always as supportive as I could be. There are times when the caustic words, “Are you taking your medicine?” slip from my mouth. There are times I roll my eyes, or turn my back when she is falling apart and doesn’t know why.
I think, I know when I am sad. I know WHY I am sad. How could you not know? How could you just wake up sad? It doesn’t compute. Doesn’t make sense.
I told you I’m not a good person. Understanding is a fickle thing. You see, unless a person has lived through/with something, they can never really understand. Not truly.
In Depression’s Dance, Hasty gave a voice to depression. She allowed her reader a chance to snoop and spy. For a few hours, I was permitted to sit down at the table, quietly listen to a conversation that has probably played multiple times through anyone’s mind that suffers from this disease. Her words allowed me a moment to really, truly listen. To hear. Perhaps not to understand, but to at least feel empathy.
She taught me empathy.
And so I hope that others will pick this book up. I hope they will take a moment and allow themselves to listen to this conversation. I try to remember it now. I keep going back to it. I need to keep that lesson in mind. I need to keep my empathy close at hand.
I need to apologize to my mother.
To friends, to anyone, who hears this voice inside them. I am sorry.
But bear with me.