The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: The Absurdity of Grief

April 13, 2008

The Absurdity of Grief

I guess the only time when grief can truly hit you is when you finally admit to yourself that something really bad has happened. Before that point you may feel sad, you may feel anxious, you may feel fear, but you will not feel grief.

I’ve done grief a few times in my life, so I’m fully aware of the way I express grief – I weep. I weep uncontrollably, loudly and pretty much at any given moment. It’s messy, it’s ugly, it’s incredibly embarrassing but it’s the way I do it.

I would love to be the stoic that withdraws from the world, writes dark and angry poetry and then makes a fortune off of my art. But unfortunately, since I’m not into slicing an ear off, I suppose I will have to accept the weeping.

I’ve gone back on forth on whether it’s a good thing to be able to cry. Crying is cathartic. But the weeping can come at the most awkward and inconvenient times, such as when someone asks the simple question, “How are you?” or when you’re watching a movie with a bunch of guys who while kind, generous and caring, really, don’t have the tools to deal with a teary-eyed girl.

I’m coming to notice the signals of the onset of weeping. First there’s the squeezing of the heart, then the shortness of breath, then the watering of the eyes. If I catch this early enough, I know to excuse myself and go somewhere I can weep in private.

Today was one of those days that I saw the weeping coming. And so I left the group I was with, got into my car in the parking lot, and of course, started tearing up almost immediately. I started the car and drove though, simply because I didn’t want to be caught in the parking lot and have to explain why I was a sobbing wreck.

Driving gave me the illusion of privacy. I was just another car on the roads of West LA. I could cry over the death of hope with a certain expectation of being left alone. When I pulled to a stop light, I started to sob. Large, loud, heart wrenching sobs. I leaned over my steering wheel and let it out. Simply because I could.


Moments later, I hear a howling, followed by an over-dramatic sob.

I look over and the car next to me is watching me. In the back seat are three young men laughing at, presumably, me.

Suddenly, I’m struck by the absurdity of it all. I’ve always thought that I would be dignified in my grief. Turns out, to the world, my expression of grief appears melodramatic, comic even.

Surely I am better than this? Surely I can be more original, more fascinating, more creative in my grief?

Tomorrow, I shall buy a notebook and some pencils. Try to write some ethereal verse or a post-modern novel or something. Because for goodness sake, I am truly better than this cliche I've become.

1 comment:

madeforjoy said...

oh dear! your crying was not funny. :(
Sending you a hug!! Susan (aka Suz)