I have a sadness story.

It’s a story that lives inside of my consciousness, and it’s all about how everything ends in tears and regret.

This story is so familiar that sometimes I think it is me.

When I pull away from it so we can see each other, I can’t always tell what it is. It’s kind of a fuzzball monster, in the sense that it has the power to totally derail me. And it’s kind of a past version of me who is in pain.

And it’s also its own thing. Something else. Anyway, yesterday we talked.

Sadness Story is sad.

Sadness Story: There’s no way this situation can end well. It can only end badly, with everyone involved being miserable. And whatever you do, it will be really bad.
Me: Oh, that does sound challenging. No wonder I’ve been feeling so anxious about things.

Sadness Story: [sighs a sigh of sadness.] It’s not going to be good.
Me: I’m feeling really relieved that you approached me to tell me your version of reality, because I’d been thinking that it was mine too. Now I can see that we are having an encounter, not sharing an experience.

Sadness Story: It’s not a version of reality, it’s just what is true.
Me: You’re right. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound patronizing. It is your experience and what has always been true for you, and so in that sense it is pure truth.
Sadness Story: Yes.


Me: So if that’s the only truth, what are my options?
Sadness Story: There are no options. You can either choose or not choose, but it’s bad. There will be tears and more tears and more tears.

Me: Forever?
Sadness Story: No. Not until next time. You’ll get over it, and then it will happen again, in some other slightly different but equally depressing and miserable form.

Me: So no matter what I do, I’m doomed to repeat it?
Sadness Story: Pretty much.

Me: Man, that’s rough. This must be why we don’t hang out. So tell me. Usually when I talk to monsters or distorted parts of my reality or internal narratives, there is something they want from me. Or something they don’t want me to do. But you don’t seem to be asking for anything.
Sadness Story: Nope. Just telling it like it is. All sadness all the time. Sorry!

Me: I don’t believe you. Tell me the real truth.
Sadness Story: Nope!

What’s true?

Me: Come on. You might as well tell me. It’s going to come out anyway. I’ll play the what’s true and what’s also true game. Or the ways that now is different than then.
Sadness Story: Yeah, I guess you will.

Me: No! Even better, I’ll use the tricks from the Monster Manual & Coloring Book and this will all be dissolved forever.
Sadness Story: As soon as you acknowledge my pain, I will vanish.

Me: Acknowledging your pain is also acknowledging mine, yes? And then the real truth will be there, under the distortion. Between the narrative.
Sadness Story: Yes.
Me: Okay.

Motivation and pain.

Me: I am so sorry that you have gone through these painful experiences. So much hard.
Sadness Story: No, it’s you who has been through these sad things. I just remind you about them so you won’t be surprised when it happens.

Me: I see. Your motivation is kindness. You want to spare me pain.
Sadness Story: Yes.

Me: And you also feel sad about that pain. I mean, it seems like you don’t feel frustrated about everything being sad: just sad about it. Sad and resigned. Is that right?
Sadness Story: What’s the point of being frustrated? That’s just how it is. Sadness. Everywhere.

Me: So your superpower is really about acceptance. You know about letting things be as they are. But then your superpower gets distorted into this vision of a world where nothing can ever change.
Sadness Story: Maybe.

Who would you be without your sadness?

Me: Who would you be without your sadness?
Sadness Story: Freedom.

Me: I see you.
Sadness Story: Okay.

Me: So. Legitimacy to the sadness….the sadness is allowed to exist. And legitimacy to freedom. I’m allowed to make choices based on the things I have learned from the sadness experiences. Things can move.
Sadness Story: Things can move. And if that is true — and it feels true, then I need to leave now. Goodbye.

Me: Whoah. That was fast.

Wait, who are you?

Narrator: Not really. When the sadness is allowed to exist, there is no sadness story. The sadness doesn’t get trapped. It says what it has to say and then it’s gone.

Me: There was a narrator?! There was a narrator and no one told me?
Narrator: I only do summaries. But as you deconstruct these versions of what-is-true, you will find the things that you know, and then you will need to sum them up for yourself. To put them into the Book of You for later. I’m just demonstrating what that looks like.

Me: That’s not weird at all.

And today’s comment zen in the blanket fort.

It’s hard to talk about sadness. And it can be really hard to separate enough from our pain that we can even interact with it. No worries. It takes time.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a process.

If you want to talk to your sadness or talk about talking to your sadness or just sit with us and have a snack, it’s all welcome.

The only thing we don’t do is give each other unsolicited advice, because we’re trying to let people have space for their own experience. That’s it.

Love to the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads.

The Fluent Self