Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Black and Blue.

I'm depressed. Don't be alarmed, this happens. It has happened ever since the beginning of my time in this body of mine. Really, it's a fact of my life. I have one of those brains that is out of balance when it comes to that life affirming chemical known as serotonin, so at varying intervals I fall into what can only be described as black holes, or what I affectionately call truly funky funks (somehow thinking of James Brown dancing makes it slightly more bearable). In the black hole funky funks I do things like cry on the subway, sleep all the time like an old lady, forget everything, and sigh a lot--all without smiling. But, aside from what I do, the biggest changes lay in what I don't do. I don't do the things that usually make me happy because I'm too busy sleeping, crying on the subway, forgetting everything, or sighing. This is my way of letting you know why I've only posted a whopping nine times in the entire month of April. As a comparison, in September of 2008 (not so coincidentally when I started my first depression medication) I posted 82 times. Is this too much to know about your friendly fashion blogger? I hope not, I also hope that any of you who similarly struggle with this bitch of an illness know that you are not alone. The frustration it causes when it sucks the life out of my life is tantamount to trying to move my house by pushing against the bedroom wall. It's ridiculous. But, this time around the dark wheel, I'm learning that the only way out of the thicket of this is to keep going as much as possible. I have to do the things I don't want to do, especially when I don't want to do them. Otherwise, I'm a sleepin' old lady who's cryin' on the subway. I'm getting a little of my energy back now and I'm starting to have some creative ideas again. Blogging feels better than sleeping for the first time in about a month, so I'm going to go with it. The first idea that has popped into my head has to do with mourning and the blues. Perhaps not surprising?

How did black become the color of mourning? How did blue become the official color of sadness? Let's ask the internet, shall we?

Black is the absence of light, or rather a combination of a distinct ratio of the three primary colors that creates a color that contains all the pigments possible. When in combination, they absorb rather than reflect light (I learned that from Wiki-wiki). In that sense, black is an instinctive color of mourning. When someone dies they leave; they become absent and take their spirit (their "light" in religious terms) with them. We are left absent of them, and reflect that in our dress. Another contributing factor to the dark custom is that primitive cultures have a traditional habit of adopting disguises when they lose someone to the afterlife. They don masks and atypical clothing so that the spirit of the departed won't recognize them and haunt them for eternity. Oustide of New York today, black is not traditionally a color that Western cultures would wear often, especially back in the days when their dresses were timely projects, constructed by hand and made to order. No one was ordering solid black garments, so it was a convenient way for women to dress outside of their norm. In Italy some widows wear black for the rest of their days. Or, at least for a period of years. They abandon any other hues and only wear their darkest dresses. This marks them as widowed--alerting those around them to their mourning and also acting as a manifestation of their devotion to the departed.

A widow from days past.

Modern widow worshiper Diane Pernet.

The blues have wetter beginnings. Ancient myth states that Zeus used to cry the rain that fell from the sky into the blue ocean. When he was sad or angry, blue water streamed down. That notion carried over into the 1500s when blue referred to blue devils, sad demons of despondency and depression that entered peoples' beings and caused their moods to swing. These devils were popular vernacular amongst the slaves who sewed the musical beginnings of the blues, which are played as an outpouring of emotion when one is feeling all blue devily.

So, there you have it. Black and blue. May tomorrow be more, well, I don't know, green? Fresh. yes, green. I'll get the greens.

Here's the PSA part of this post, because I care: Depression is serious. Not only does it really suck, but it can be hazardous to your health. If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, get help. There are so many ways to cope: Therapy, medication, supplements, support. I generally find that the cornier the suggestion, the harder it is to take, but the better it ultimately works. Be corny. Feel better. Click this link for resources.


nicole s. said...

when i had the subway cries, i made sure to buy myself a bunch of beautiful hankies so at least i'd be fabulous while i was sad. <3

uglygirl said...

Don't hurt yourself! You are loved.

Donna K. said...


This is some fashionable sadness right here!

Danielle said...

i always loved crying on the subway. i'm relieved by the anonymity, and strangely comforted by the strangers who know they can't do much, but usually offer a smile. with friends, there's all this pressure to get the crying to stop, which never works anyway. but the people on the subway have no such responsibility. so they altruistically give a smile and "hope you're OK" head nod, and then they go on their way and i on mine and the 6 train has my tears.