Someone once told me, “You laugh as though you have never known sadness.”
I remember being offended, questioning what source does my poetry spring from oftentimes, if not sadness? Though of an artistic nature, sadness was what I had come to understand as the emotion contrary to happiness.
As I look back, I’d say he was right. I was too busy collecting my butterflies of happiness, living my life in all shades of yellow to even think about the deep, looming sadness of being.
He, on the contrary, had had a tough childhood. A broken family, a brother with a severe case of OCD, a neglected boyhood. No one to understand him. No one to pause and look into the depth of his sadness.
Sometimes, giving your few, precious butterflies feels like an expression of love. You give and give and give not seeing how many you still have left in your glass jar. You give so entirely that you almost forget to replenish the source. Sooner or later, it dries out.
Lately, I have been thinking about whether he fed those butterflies. Do they still waltz with his dark curls like they did back in the day? Or have they forgotten their airy ways?
As for me, when my butterflies were all but gone, I saw there in the depth of the glass jar a sadness I had never seen before. And that was his gift. He said, “Use it in your art. You used to laugh like you had never known sadness.”
Sometimes, collecting the lovely, yellow butterflies can seem a bit daunting. You run after them but the winged beasts are swifter. But sometimes when you embrace stillness, they come by to perch atop your nose tip.