I’ve a secret. I’m a lycanthrope.
On the outside, I’m a (fairly) normal seeming middle-aged woman. Gregarious, witty, beloved by many.
Inside, however, I’m composed almost entirely from sadness.
I’ve spent a lifetime wrapping myself in silver – layers upon layers of protection; protection for myself from the sadness inside and from the external prompts that will unleash it, and protection for others, so they’re not exposed to the soul-draining despair I carry within.
I can’t always tell what will break through the armour and release the beast but, whatever triggers the sadness, I always end up at the same place; a place of profound and overwhelming loneliness.
At this point I hear the protests of my many friends: YOU ARE NEVER ALONE! YOU HAVE US! But you see, this is all part of the veneer. The me you think you know is but a vessel that carries around this fragile werecreature.
I connect to lots of people, but I never truly feel connected.
I’m a master hugger, but I seldom experience being touched with love – and it burns when it happens.
I feel like an outcast, a reject, trying always to fit in.
All the people around me, those that tell me they love me, they seem like ghost people when I’m under the thrall of the weresadness. They’re not real. Mere wraiths that don’t inhabit the same plane of existence. My reality is not your reality. I am not who you think I am.
I’ve always yearned for closeness. For that spiritual connection that some people seem to find. It’s ever eluded me. I no longer know whether I deliberately keep people at bay, or whether that’s just how things are – that I’m too strange and otherworldly for normal humans to bond with. Perhaps one of my werewolf superpowers is to exude some sort of repulsion field. Or maybe I’m like Rogue – if I touch anyone, they’ll suffer, so I keep on my gloves.
One of my earlier memories is country dancing aged about five or six. I loved country dancing. When a dance required a partner, they’d stand us girls in a circle facing inward, and invite the boys to stand behind the person they’d like to dance with. Every time I turned around, there’d be no one there. It wasn’t just the boys. I was never a popular child. Picked last at games. Sat on my own a lot. Bullied sometimes, but mostly I was too insignificant even for that.
I learned to embrace my aloneness. We all know that everything bad and sad that happens is really an opportunity – so they say – and being alone does provide that. I can do what I want when I want. I never have to explain myself to anyone, I never need argue with anyone. I can, in fact, get on with the business of Saving the World.
For so have I styled myself. I can’t be close to anyone. I can’t form a meaningful relationship with anyone (romantic or otherwise) because I have Important Work to Do. I am Strong. I am a Hero. I Get Things Done. No time for any silly stuff.
The Sadness Werewolf feels otherwise. She wants a side-kick.
Whereas my protective wards include rational thinking and logic, the Sadness Werewolf inhabits a realm of emotions. When she’s in charge, it’s akin to dogs ‘seeing’ the world through scent. Everything is a feeling. Everything hurts. I see other’s pain around them like an aura. I see all the suffering in the world and of the world and all I want to do is curl into a ball and cry forever.
This makes it hard to function.
Needless to say, I’m writing this from the umbral plane. I am indeed under the thrall of sadness. There is nothing to be done but to wait for it to recede, for the protections to reform and the werewolf to become dormant once more. I can’t ‘choose happiness’ any more than I can choose to be other than the person I am.
So I’m taking myself away for a few days – with my wolf pack. I’m going where there are Dark Skies. I want to lay next to my tent and gaze at the cosmos. I want to be reminded that my existence is both fantastically insignificant and astonishing – that I, a conscious entity, should be in the universe to marvel at the universe.
Hopefully, when I return, I’ll be able to smile at you and tell you that All is Well.
And it will be.