It is not uncommon to feel blue when the skies are gray. In fact, hiding under your covers while the world rains around you paints an almost pretty picture.
But to to feel blue when the skies are blue?
To be gloomy when the world is sunny?
Summertime sadness is almost some strange kind of taboo. I speak on behalf of everyone I’ve seen battling to adjust to the change in season where suddenly the sun comes out and the world expects everyone to adapt accordingly and pull out popsicles and initiate a lighthearted sequence of beach trips.
Suddenly, it’s far less acceptable to put Bon Iver on blast, for it hardly coincides with any good summer soundtrack. Suddenly, you can’t burrow yourself in your sweatshirt without looking like the Grim Reaper; something which was almost considered adorable in the winter is now forbidden.
The only thing is, people’s depression doesn’t just change with the seasons. It just becomes a strain to conceal, for misery blends in far more nicely with the accepted image of December gloom.
It all comes down to image. December depression is glorified just as much as July joy which is, of course, unfortunate for those who can’t just flick the switch on their mental and emotional distress when the months change.
But let’s reverse to a more important question: Why is this image of depression glorified in the first place?
Why did I have to learn from a friend who hadn’t left their bed in a week that depression wasn’t that pale vampire on TV that broodingly slung back shots of whiskey?
It’s not even close to that cool.
What is this appeal to leather jackets and sullen boys lost in a distant reverie?
What even is this contrived image supposed to emanate?
Is it depression?
Maybe I’m misidentifying the media’s intentions. I don’t believe them to be malevolent or that they deliberately try to romanticize depression. But, knowingly or not, there is this idea of dark and brooding being projected that is gleaned by many young people to be one thing, but that when translated to real life is actually often dark and depressed, something that really is not that romantic at all.
I cannot pretend this is a new age problem though, rather I blame Edgar Allen Poe just as much as I blame “The Vampire Diaries.”
From somewhere or another, people are seeing quiet, cooly indifferent boys with mangled hair.
And along with everyone else, I too came to romanticize this false portrayal of a somber sadness. I instilled in it dark poetry and depth. I fell captive to the idea that it was this delicate, beautiful thing.
I sought out blank expressions and dead eyes, convinced that when I found them I’d find a kind of complex beauty and deep meaning.
But when I found them I also found what media doesn’t show. When the seasons change, those eyes don’t always change with it; they can’t. Even when the sun comes out, its rays still can’t reach far enough within to spark light.
Those disturbed eyes may look intriguing and mysterious in a dark bar, but how often is this image displaced by the media to a summer pool party?
To put it simply, it’s hard to be sad in the summer. I mean, of course, chronic sadness is always hard, but it is especially hard in the summer. There is nothing to hide behind. No sweaters, no covers, no school, no endless stream of Christmas movies, no melancholy music.
Solitude in the winter? Totally acceptable. The media said so. Attractive even.
Summer solitude? Who even knows what this is?
And summer sadness? Definitely a no-go. Three out of ten stars. Would not do again.
Anjalie Tandon hopes you are able to see through the intrigue of sadness in the media.