Moving to Spite the Darkness

All right, this post is for me. I feel like I’ve got a lot of stuff built up inside of me that needs to get out. Is that fair? Are you nervous? Good. Grief is ugly, but I like to share my ugly with the rest of you.

It’s been a long week. Better, it’s been a long month. Work has me running like mad. Long hours, extra days, and night shifts make Ryan a dull boy. I’ve found myself getting snappy around the house, too. One day, I pretty much exploded on the kids. They weren’t being good, but they weren’t bad enough to merit that reaction, either. I apologized, but it really wasn’t sincere. I didn’t want to apologize. I wanted to be tired and angry.

Then I remembered that this day, my worst day, was the day before what should have been dad’s birthday. I guess it is still his birthday. It always will be, but it’s nothing to celebrate anymore. It’s just another day filled with grief triggers that make me want to lose it. And hey, the day won this year.

Does it get better? It must. There are many people in this world who have lost someone, and more still who are losing someone, whether through death or a series of bad decisions. But I struggle to put on my happy face somedays. Somedays, I just don’t want to smile, and some days, I don’t want to smile so badly that I just don’t. Yeah, I look grouchy. Consider my countenance a big red flag. I don’t do nice for the sake of being socially acceptable. But at least I’m honest. That’s worth something, right?

I don’t know anymore. Sometimes, I think if I would walk around lying to everyone, life would be easier. Couldn’t I pretend to be happy, well-adjusted, and self-sufficient? Would people believe it? Would I eventually believe it? Maybe. I can’t believe that there is no one out there like this. I’m sure I’m surrounded by liars who don’t even know what’s true or not anymore. I think most people, at least, most adults who seem to have it all together, are convinced that they actually do.┬áIt’s plausible that people who are blindsided by divorce actually didn’t see it coming.

No, Jodi and I aren’t talking divorce. We’re getting along great, and while we don’t see each other much because of my wild and crazy lifestyle (i.e. my job), we get along smashingly and are so in love that I hope it disgusts you.

Anyhow, back to all the liars. Is it possible that a great swath of people have convinced themselves that life is good? I’m convinced that they are convinced. Meanwhile, it occurs to me that I sound an awful lot like Holden Caulfield, and I’m most certain that I’m not happy about it.

But it’s true. I’m jaded. I’ve had it with so many things that I feel like I could explode, and I really don’t know what’s next. Tonight has been good, since I’ve purposed to do as little as possible and just relax a bit. I’ve got my headphones in, and up, and I’m just soaking in the music that I enjoy so much but don’t spend enough time with. Like so many other things, it has become background noise. I’m starting to wonder if everything hasn’t become background noise, that the things I do (whether industrious, relational, or leisure) have all become a sort of soundtrack to the ever-encompassing stress that I’ve allowed to swallow me whole.

Okay, break. This is what came out. I’m not filtering it. I’m not altering it. It is what it is. Why? Because while I feel alone in this mess, I’m certain that someone reading this feels alone too, and this is here for you. You are not alone. Grief will most certainly make you feel that way, but it isn’t true. I don’t care how successful people look on the outside. Take me for example. I’m married, we’ve got three awesome kids, I’ve got a good job, a minister’s license, a mildly successful online business, and the world is my oyster… whatever that means.

None of that means squat when the darkness sets in. Sometimes, it gets awfully dark in here. Call it mental illness, depression, anxiety, or whatever you like. I’m undiagnosed and staying that way. But the darkness is real, and when the lights go out and I can’t see what’s next, sometimes I want to quit. I want to curl up in my bed and spend the day crying. I may not put on my fake smile, but I (usually) get up.

I don’t give myself the option. Life goes on. So must I.

Will you join me?


  1. Adam

    Ryan, thank you for writing what do many don’t say, I don’t because I don’t have the words, many don’t because if they did they would destroy their illusion of being ok, rant away my friend, it does us both (and the self deluded) good!


    1. Ryan (Post author)

      Thanks, Adam. If I can be of use, either to be of comfort or to shatter a delusion, I’m happy with that.

  2. Jinny

    This hits so close to home, Thank you for sharing.

    1. Ryan (Post author)

      Love you, Jinny!


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