I’ve been listening to The Cure a lot lately; you all know that I listen to a lot of music, especially when I write and I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately. Someone has recently given me a proper introduction to them. I wrote a post a few months ago about Kierkegaard and how I wished that I had been introduced to him earlier in my life. How I felt like I could have avoided some kind of heartache if I had read Kierkegaard. I kind of get this vibe from The Cure, too, though not as strongly. I did have Counting Crows like I mentioned the other day.
Obviously, Robert Smith’s lyrics are sometimes pretty depressing. As I’ve incessantly devoured their catalogue recently, I’ve found many songs that resonate with how depressed I’ve been feeling; just like Adam Duritz’s lyrics resonated me with at 18. I’m finding Robert Smith’s lyrics deeper, more poignant, and more gravitational at this point in my life though. There is this one song that I haven’t been able to shake lately. I’ve listened to the album it’s on like 5 times in the last 36 hours. And every time this song comes on I stop. Stop dead. It’s one of those songs where you’re like, “This is me. This song is just me.” It’s called “A Thousand Hours,” and it is seriously my life with chronic, severe, depression. I wanted to share it because I thought that any of you who are depressed might find it–like I did–a comforting yet raw reminder that we’re not alone in our feelings.
“For how much longer can I howl into this wind?
For how much longer can I cry like this?
A thousand wasted hours a day
Just to feel my heart for a second
A thousand hours just thrown away
Just to feel my heart for a second
For how much longer can I howl into this wind?”
So, honestly, I don’t know what the “real” meaning of this song is. I am probably interpreting it wrong. Whatever.
But, dammit, constantly fighting depression, constant existential anxiety, constant mental pain feels like howling into strong, silencing wind. It feels like being so isolated that no one can hear you and even Mother Nature wants you to shut up, but you have to scream anyway because you’ll die if you don’t. You can’t fight without screaming. But how long can I keep going? How long can I do this? How long until I run out of breath? How long until I run out of energy? And all I do is try to find beauty or happiness for an instant. All I want is for something to break through the surface and to actually feel something other than sadness or guilt. I pine to feel my heart. I crave to feel an involuntary smile cross my lips. And without those moments, I am lost. I feel like I’m wasting my life–wasting other people’s time–to find those moments. But I don’t know how to live without them. And I spend my whole life searching, grasping, clinging, longing, and remembering those moments.
I guess the reason I wish I had discovered The Cure earlier in my life though–something that almost did happen–is that there’s also a lot of really happy stuff, too. There’s angry stuff, there’s dancey stuff, there’s romantic stuff all along with the depressing stuff. And it’s often not just about being happy, it’s about getting happy or being happy with someone. It’s active happiness rather than a passive state. Just like howling into the wind is fighting so is actively seeking out happiness. When you look to find and feel happiness even for just a second, you are fighting. All the time I put into making sure my head stays above water makes me feel selfish, but I can’t deny that it is at the same time courageous given how depression makes me want to drown. When I do something or receive something that makes a smile cross my face without effort, I feel capable to keep going. And I fight to find that feeling over and over. A thousand hours just to feel my heart for a second. They aren’t wasted. They aren’t thrown away. You matter. Your happiness matters no matter how elusive. Keep fighting, keep screaming, keep howling into the wind. Don’t worry about how much longer you can go. Just keep going.