Suffering

If anybody ever offers you the choice between suffering and depression, take the suffering. And I don't mean physical suffering. I mean emotional suffering. I am hereby endorsing psychic suffering over depression.

Don't get me wrong; suffering, though universal, and though its universality provides the basis of Buddhism, is bad. Today I suffered. It meant being weepy, rageful at the drop of a pin, filled with ire at someone for being 14 minutes late (when it didn't matter at all; and I didn't show my rage) and at a fucking stupid fucking imbecile waiter who didn't know that a goddam fucking matte is supposed to be dark and smoky, and not the color and taste of pale green swill with little green specks in it. (I didn't yell. I had a sharpness to my voice a few notches below sarcasm and I smiled deceitfully. I gave a good tip.) At the coffee house and after I was weepy from time to time and not able to balance in Warrior One pose in yoga because my toes were numb from the horrible Taxol. I wept into my purple yoga mat while folded into child's pose and then wept face up into the open air with closed eyes and sweaty head (my perpetual clammy head, compliments of Taxol and menopause) while lying on my back with my legs in butterfly and then I accepted defeat, that the weeping would not end, and rolled up said mat and walked up the street to the drugstore to pick up some refills and a drug that Nurse L had just called in to combat the numbness. Suffering meant crying out when a person crossing the street with an umbrella over her head nearly ran me down, and suffering was going to the drug store and finding out that the very new dolt of a clerk didn't have my new drug, it would take ten minutes, he said. I was weeping and hovering at the counter like a desperate addict in my rain-dropped-on bald head, t-shirt and torn shorts, and I went back to him and said, Could you give me just a pill or two for now, and finally, Could you make a little faster because I'm in a lot of pain, and feeling a little guilty because I wasn't in pain-pain, not about-to-die-and-double-over pain, but in weepiness pain, the pain of not wanting to be there, standing around and weeping and feeling a hole in my heart of desperation and sadness and rage. A dark wound in my heart. And suffering meant walking home with my three drugs finally, my umbrella above my head, knowing I would be home soon, where I would be able to collapse and even work on the stupid idiotic fucking book review, because I was suffering and not depressed. Suffering meant I knew that crying would make me feel better, once I could stop, and that I knew that underneath the suffering I had a core of appreciation for the thunderstorm that had broken the hot spell this afternoon, even though it had drenched my poor bike and helmet that I'd left moored to a parking meter on the street. Underneath the suffering was psychic pain, which is an entity, but I can deal with an entity, it is better than the erosion created by depression, which is more absent than absence, depression is the oxygen-gulping aridness of the void, and it fills every part of you with the knowledge that nothing matters, the universe is as meaningless as it is infinite. So that there is no part of you left that can slither its way around and get its interest quickened by an idea or person or mind or glazed blue Moroccan tile. There is no room for beauty or Marx or charity or alternatives to war. There is only the ash that's left after a fire, after a long long rain.

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