In the midst of a rather productive day, this afternoon I also decided for whatever reason to listen to a mix CD I made myself in March of this year, a time when I was remarkably, deeply sad. I know I wrote about this sadness, or at least referenced it, multiple times here. And maybe it was a result of everything else today going so smoothly, but as I drove around town listening to these songs that helped me curl into my sadness like a blanket six months ago, several things became wonderfully clear. I've been feeling healthier mentally this month than I have in a long time, but this helped cement it. And since only documenting the bad things is never a fully worthwhile or honest pursuit in a life, I thought I should take note of these good things for myself while they're still clear.
Signs Of My Consistently Improving Mental Health, Mostly Assessed Through Music:
+ I can now listen to the Head and the Heart and feel a comforting, sweet shade of sentimentality, a feeling that I have always held within me and which has always led me to slightly weepy music, instead of feeling a simple bonecrushing sadness. This seemed the most surprising to me to realize of all.
+ Things with Florence are more touch and go, but this is okay. It depends on the song and album--Lungs generally feels empowering; Ceremonials is still sort of rough. But that one B-side song that I listened to in a specifically masochistic, beating-myself-up way for months: it's a good song, but there's no reason to make myself listen to it anymore.
+ That Gotye song now seems hard to listen to because it was overplayed, not because it hurts.
+ I think I'm ready now to absorb that Brandi Carlile album. Regina's, too.
Other Signs/Thoughts Had While Driving Around:
+ I feel equally 100% happy to be in Portland right now as I am thrilled about being in New York within the year. Earlier this year, there were so many times that I ached to be back on the East Coast, closer to family, closer to friends, closer to the place where I feel closest to myself, and there is nothing that will slowly kill your soul so surely as not being satisfied with where you are. But Portland, Portland is beautiful. I feel perfectly happy at the moment about everywhere: where I've been, where I am now, where I will be.
+ Along that vein, it occurs to me that I have maybe severely underphotographed Portland in my years here. I will remedy that, and will also make it a point to make as many Portland-centric blog posts as possible over the next year, to make sure I remember the awesomeness. I also yearn to return to the darkroom like whoa, but my finances probably won't permit it for a while. But when I do, I should focus on some Portland prints, too, for myself, for once.
+ One can examine the same exact things and view them in entirely different ways, depending on the emotions one is unconsciously (or maybe a little consciously) desiring to feel. This does not mean that any of the variety of different ways are worse than others, or that any of them are bad at all. It's just a good thing to remember when examining a thing, to remind yourself that your mind can play tricks on you, or that that thing may contain secrets and truths you're just not seeing at the moment, and that everything deserves time and kindness to be understood, or perhaps what I'm saying is that nothing can ever be truly, fully understood at all. And there's a certain freedom, beauty, resilience, and forgiveness in that.