I just spent a long weekend cooking in situ for a group of intrepid soldiers of the heart. Wonderful work it is, and a way of working that suits me very well. It takes a lot of thinking through. Not only fabulous menu planning, but time mapping and structuring. I’m good at both, the dreaming up of food to please, tease and surprise, and the attention to detail on all sorts of levels that makes it work on the frontline. And what a frontline it is… all that prep paying off as I dance and spin and sweat and multi task like a good un… and out of all that comes soul food that nourishes heart as well as body. And, I’m there in my position of love and service, offering myself up in a particular way to the group. And this is intimacy. My kind of intimacy.
So, yes, I guess you can tell that I love it.
And, I am winding round to the point… a moment that has stayed with me: a gorgeous young man from the group spontaneously hugs me on his way to the loo. ‘Oh you are so happy,’ he says.
Yes, it is true. He has seen my passion, focus and joy, all jacked up to full volume. I’m in my element. And the reason I’ve been pondering this… well, it is curious and precious that while depression is my home address, there are also moments within that baseline that have very different energies. There are threads of luminosity in the bedrock of my depression. Writing, cooking and dancing, all remind me that this is true… remind me that depression is all its cracked down to be… and more… and more… and more than that…
I spent so many years (and I won’t say wasted them) struggling with a concept of depressed and not depressed. All right and not all right. It is only very recently that I’m coming to understand why that was particularly and endlessly futile and painful for me. I don’t have a depression that comes and goes episodically. I know many people do, and yet many of us kind of live there all the time. It’s a baseline depression. It’s why Depression Is My home Address is such a healing image for me. Welcome home at last.
And if it’s like this for you, as it is for me, I’m sure you know that fighting, kicking and screaming to be in a different place only creates a worse kind of suffering. I have taken every mood altering substance and nearly died trying to make it different, make me different, make the world different. Twenty seven million, spiritual, therapeutic and healing endeavours later, even though I have been deeply touched on many occasions, I find depression is still my home address. How hard it has been to grasp that this is okay. It’s just where I live, for whatever or why ever… it is me, here, like this…
And now I don’t have to be defeated by the depression I inhabit, or that inhabits me. I don’t get tangled up anymore, in – why can’t I stay in that energy from the kitchen, why do I have to lose it and be depressed again… because that doesn’t make sense any more. What makes sense now, is that there is life in the embodied depression. I can rise up and collapse down again. Sometimes within milliseconds and sometimes for a project. Often a kitchen project. And because I’m a high functioning depressive, probably only I see the ebbing and falling even within a project. Certainly my depression accompanied me to this most recent Kitchen Project, but I don’t think anyone caught it. And neither would I want them to. I’m working and I have very high standards.
I find some tears in my eyes as I tap-tap these words out and feel them move in me. So many miles we have to walk sometimes, looking for what has always been there. You may have noticed I say thank you a lot. Thank you Life is my baseline prayer, an ever evolving riff and a doorway to a kind of peace… thank you to an angel who saw me in my Kitchen Beauty and gave me a little thread to pull.