I have been reading Melisa Broder’s book of personal essays, “So Sad Today”. A 200-pager magnificence that reveals so much about what it is like to live in this world, right now. This book is so hard to put down but so good that I try to savor each chapter and think about it for days or even weeks – while I’m writing this, I’m only halfway through the book – I want it to last as long as I want to but I dread coming to the end. On the first chapter, Melisa concluded with these words:
“There aren’t many ways to find comfort in this world. We must take it where we can get it, even in the darkest, most disgusting places.”
And it struck me how too often, comfort is being taken for granted. Too often people will condemn you for our quirky little ways to ease in into this tricky, gruesome world. It’s true that we grow when we move out of our comfort zone, and that’s a different thing, what I wanted to point out are the small things that comfort us at the end of the day, during anxieties and just whenever. Melisa mentioned in her book that she used to consume herself. She ate her fingernails, earwax, and snot. Most people would scrunch their forehead reading this and we could all agree that those are disgusting, unhygienic and so on. But when I read it, I was reminded of all my odd behaviors that also brings comfort to my soul. I do not know when I got the habit of these things and I remember always being told to stop; just cause it’s weird.
- Taking the sheet off on the corner(s) of a bed – I do this almost everytime I go to bed (except when I immediately pass out); even and especially for cases when it’s not really my own bed. I’m very particular to textile textures and I always finds myself more comfortable with the texture of the actual bed without the sheet. The way I sleep, I always rub my feet and legs on the surface as a way to enjoy the texture. I dislike fleece or ‘wooly’ texture and I like crisp thin textures similar to rayon (I did a little bit of research and ended up watching too many videos about fabrics).
- Fidgeting – This is a common habit of several people and is usually associated with anxiety or impatience. My personal way of fidgeting is wiggling my legs up and down. Other times I even fidget while lying down; which some people said is downright unbelievable.
- Plucking my hair (Trichotillomania) – A type of impulse control disorder – wherein there is an irresistible urge to pull out hair. People with these disorders know that they can do damage by acting on the impulses, but they cannot stop themselves. It is a reflection of a mental health problem. Psychological and behavioural theories suggest a person may pull their hair out as a way of relieving stress or anxiety. As trichotillomania involves compulsive behaviour, some experts think it’s closely related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I didn’t know that was the exact term when was younger. I do it so often but very sparingly to save myself from the perils of having a bald spot on my head which I experienced when I was about 8-10.
These are just a few things on top of my head and some examples may be situational. I want to conclude by saying, “at least give me this.” People are often so quick to judge us on our bizarre actions without even considering that we do certain things because it gives us comfort. Bliss is not forever. These kinds of bliss are so short-lived. Sometimes you have to let us do these things without judgments or prejudice. If you cannot give us solace, sympathy or happiness at least let us create these solace on our own especially if it’s not even affecting you in any hurtful way. Because…There aren’t many ways to find comfort in this world. We must take it where we can get it, even in the darkest, most disgusting places.