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  • Uliya

Farther from the edge

[The image is 7 points written out in all caps that say:

  1. A bad mood feels luxurious if you were taught to hide your authentic feelings.

  2. A bad mood feels luxurious if you were conditioned to believe that it is selfish to have you own needs.

  3. A bad mood feels luxurious if you are used to taking care of others before taking care of yourself.

  4. A bad mood feels luxurious if you are always expected to play the role of strong, responsible caretaker in unstable relationships.

  5. A bad mood feels luxurious in a capitalist society that expects you to maximize and monetize your happiness 24/7, which is inextricably tied to your productivity.

  6. A bad mood feels luxurious if you were shamed in childhood for being difficult, oversensitive, moody, or too much.

  7. Sometimes being in a bad mood puts me in the best mood.

Yuki Sakugawa]

When I was 13 and coming terms with my sexuality (and gender), I distinctly remember that everyday felt sad and somber. I was quiet and withdrawn into myself. I remember feeling somedays that I was at the bottom of a well. And some days, I felt that I was floating through grayness.

I remember telling my mom on a particular gray March day in Ohio that I was happy with the weather because days like that day were when the outside world matched what I felt inside.

I remember wanting to paint my room a blue-gray color because at the time that color brought me peace. It reminded me of that gray weather and that if nature could be so gloomy, then there was nothing wrong with me.

But I kept these feelings to myself; I tried to present myself as content and cheery. While I had enough support to get by from one parent, I knew that it was dangerous to voice my unhappiness or what I understand now as depression to my other parent. There would be backlash and anger.

I remember at some point hearing on TV someone saying they had a "bad day." I still to this day struggle to understand this. What does it mean to have a bad day?

Back then, every day felt the same, no matter what happened, triumphs or setbacks. And now, while of course there are moments that bring me joy, anger, or sorrow...I am still uncertain if I know what defines having a bad day or a good day. There's still a flow, sometimes a gush and sometimes a soft stream, of melancholy or listlessness that runs through everything.

Yuki Sakugawa's post above from their instagram resonated with me profoundly. I do feel like part of my journey is to access authenticity and vulnerability and to get off the wheel of being the acchha baccha ("good child" in Hindi), part of which means letting go of pressures to be normative and productive.

My past selves knew it was dangerous to be my authentic self.

This self has built more safety and security.

I'm not sure I'll ever believe in "bad days" but I do want to believe that I can show up as my whole self. I want to feel my pain and my true feelings, to observe them and not bury them, even if they are less palatable.

Me at 6

[Image description: A six-year-old Uliya, brown from Sun, sporting a bowl cut stands against a brown wood fence with wire mesh. Behind then is a field of tall grass. They are holding sun hat and wearing blue pants and a light blue shoot.]