Malaise, n. a vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness,lethargy, or discomfort.
If I remember correctly, my younger sister once had a gerbil which she named “Malaise.” It would have been somewhere around junior-high time for her, and she acquired the gerbil during a period of, well… malaise. If I remember correctly, our cat dragged that gerbil backward out of the cage by its tail and ate most of it, leaving its remains in the middle of the living room carpet for my poor sister to discover during her breakfast. And if I remember correctly, her comment on that event was something to the effect of being glad she hadn’t named it “Joy,” because that would have been a really crappy omen.
That’s our Family Story about the Death of Malaise, and it came to mind yesterday because the word describes my last couple weeks pretty perfectly. I try to be cautious about applying inaccurate words (have been ever since a camp-counselor responded to my exaggerated exclamation that I was “starving” by asking if I were, truly… and challenged me to a day on just a bowl-full of rice to re-evaluate my use of the word) so I won’t say I’ve been Depressed. I have known Depression, and this wasn’t it.
This malaise still isn’t ME, though—not Me as I’m accustomed to experience myself… I think it’s probably a good sign that I’m at least roused enough today to be irritated by it, and ask myself what the hell?
I’m a thinker—I over-think everything—so my natural inclination is to determine WHY I’ve felt so apathetic. Probably, though, that’s too logical an approach for dealing with emotion—and I freely admit that trying to “feel things with my head” has historically been one of my Great Character Flaws. One of them.
Well, there’s the one thing I have been grieving over, and it’s something that should NOT have caught me off guard as it did—namely, the end of the kids’ summer vacation… And with it, the end of our having the kids WITH US half the time. Two weekends a month has never been “sufficient,” and especially now, after the delights of a whole summer’s worth of Full Weeks with them… Well, frankly I can’t even come up with the right word for how I feel about that.
What’s the emotional equivalent of “starving“? On reflection… I don’t think, after all, that it would be an inaccurate or exaggerated description of being bereft of my kiddos.
(My Thinking Side reminds me to be grateful for the time we DO have with them—after all, just a year ago we couldn’t even have them overnight, as a result of our 2010 alcoholic relapse—but my Feeling Side, so far, has been rudely telling my Thinking Side to stuff it.)
I’ve always been a little bemused when bloggers feel the need to explain or apologize or excuse themselves for any absence from their blogs… But perhaps, after all, that’s what I’ve been writing here. And for now I’ll simply be content with the fact that I Felt Like Writing at all. I’ve been averaging 600 pages a day of reading over these last couple weeks, but that’s not a Balanced Enjoyment when I’m not also Writing. So here I am, oddly enough, welcoming Myself back… to Myself. No gerbil sacrifice required.