Jeremiad

As I skim materials I’ve written in months and years past, I realize my collected works could well be called Jeremiad. That is,  “a prolonged lamentation or mournful complaint.” Also, “a cautionary or angry harangue.” Those definitions come from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. In fact, I’ve been known, right here on this blog, to refer to various of my writings as diatribes, screed, and philippics.

Given that I use this blog as an outlet with which to express my thoughts and opinions, it’s safe to assume that my world-view isn’t particularly effervescent. In some ways, I’d like to change that. But in others, I think changing my world-view would be tantamount to replacing the person who lives in my skin. Both objectives could be persuasively argued, I think. Staying true to oneself is an admirable position to take, on the one hand, but self-improvement has its value, as well. And “staying true to oneself” requires knowing what is true of oneself, a state of being I’ve frequently noted does not apply to me; that is, I don’t who I am, at my core. That’s a topic for another time, though. Or, rather, other times.

It’s relatively rare that I write cheerful, uplifting, or otherwise counter-depressive. I suppose that’s natural, given my innately morose disposition. But am I really innately morose? I think not, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Try as I sometimes do, I cannot snuff out the eternal optimism that grows like kudzu inside my head. Yet, wrapped around that optimistic kudzu, cynicism in the form of aggressive English ivy fights for control.

I make light of my bleakness but it’s not really suited to facetiousness. Despite the fact that my somber writing may mirror who I am, it shouldn’t. Humans are meant to enjoy the world we inhabit, not to wallow in despondency. But writing that struggles to escape that sense of dispiritedness and desolation is actually, I’d argue, a good sign. It demonstrates that one continues to fight and refuses to give in to the gloom and melancholia that breeds within.

During the entirety of 2014, I wrote my Thoughts for the Day every single day of the year. Many of them were affirmations. A few were especially dull and depressing. But more were positive than negative. And I guess that’s true of my posts, in general. A mixed bag. Yet for some reason I tend to gravitate toward the ones that suggest dejection. Maybe they represent better writing. Or maybe they suggest a need for salve. And that might be the thing that draws me to them. I think I will continue to reflect on all this. I’ve been doing it for years and I see no compelling reason to stop now.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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