The dictionary definition of apathy is “a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern,” and the definition of numb is “deprived of the power of sensation.” While that’s true, I prefer to combine the definitions into one: When one wants to do nothing but lay around all day eating pizza and searching for a Smoothie King of emotion, not even bothering to brush the crumbs from their bed.
One Saturday earlier this year, I woke up and didn’t want to do anything. I’d been sick, so that definitely contributed to it, but my fever had been coming and going; my physical strength had been mostly regained. Still, I didn’t want to see anyone, go anywhere, or engage in any sort of activity that involved getting out of my pajamas and/or the house. So I didn’t. I laid in bed with a slice of pizza by my right and my iPod by my left. My day was spent trolling the Internet and pretending it made me laugh, eating more and more pizza without bothering to take care of the plate or the crumbs on my sheets, and staring at the ceiling wondering what the point of anything was. The next day, after I was recovered from the illness, I spent the entire day watching movies on the couch. The day after that was spent staring deep into the harsh light of my laptop, eyes swirling around as I faked a chuckle at my own trolling and added exclamation points to the end of my texts to make people think I was enthusiastic.
Guess what I did the next day? And the next? And the next? My days became the same, as if they were cookies with the same shape day after day. Cookie-cutter days. A day cut-out. Whatever you want to call it. I wasn’t really feeling; rather, I merely existed and pretended to smile and frown when appropriate. Smiles weren’t as smiley as they once had been; they were simply facial contortions. I’d lost my spark.
Yet somehow, in the middle of my pattern, I had a period of two “feeling days.” It was unusual. The exclamation points just might have been real, the smiles might have been a true reflection of my emotions–emotions! Real, actual feelings! I somehow stayed off the Internet, read a book, wrote a little, and tried to discover who I was instead of letting my shell of human being rot away while listening to the same angsty song for the fifteenth time in a row.
It felt amazing.
But it didn’t last. To be completely honest, it intimidated me. I was walking through a desert–no feelings, no feelings, no feelings–and then boom! A Smoothie King showed up out of nowhere. It was frightening. I wondered if it was real, or simply a mirage (though that would be a strange mirage to have). Not knowing what to do, I took a few sips of my emotional smoothie and left. Maybe it left me, too. I don’t know. The Smoothie King and I parted ways for awhile, and I returned to my crumb-littered bed, piles of laundry and stuffed animals strewn about my floor, and time-wasting videos of parakeets dancing to “Call Me Maybe.”
Then, something happened. Something happened, and I felt a feeling. The feeling was pain. The pain turned into anger, the anger into disappointment. With these emotions, however, came so much more. With these emotions came happiness, wonder, contentment, and a time of discovery. The more emotions I felt, the more inspired I became. The more inspired I became, the more emotions I felt. It was a cycle of feeling. I found the Smoothie King, swung open the doors, and ordered every single emotion smoothie on the menu.
Eventually, my emotions evened out a little so I could become more productive and functional (it’s hard to get work done when you’re crying over spilled milk–literally). Even so, I consider myself an emotional person. My happiness is euphoric; my lows feel deep and engulfing. So, when I’m dealing with sadness, I try to at least be grateful for the fact that I have feelings. I’m thankful that I’m not wandering a desert, yearning for a Smoothie King to quench my emotional thirst.
Maybe one day Smoothie Kings can appear everywhere, for everyone, at all times. I don’t like apathy or numbness.
Anyone want to go with me for smoothies now? Seriously. I mean it. Text me.
P.S. And of course, I removed the crumbs from my sheets eventually…when I started feeling again, that is.