My kinda pink pearl

One of the things I truly enjoy whenever I have a lot of free time is watching Japanese/Korean dramas. Actually, come to think of it, ma...

One of the things I truly enjoy whenever I have a lot of free time is watching Japanese/Korean dramas. Actually, come to think of it, maybe I enjoy it the most when I am actually busy and ought to focus on something else, but simply need something less sophisticated but rather entertaining to take my mind off. Recently, I have watched The Legend Of The Blue Sea, a Korean drama which basically tells the love story between a human being and a mermaid (like I said, the essence lies in being entertaining rather than being intellectual). The legend says, if a mermaid cries and you collect those tears, they’ll become pearls. However, you distinguish between white pearls and pink pearls. Latter are the result of tears cried out of happiness and therefore said to be most valuable and precious.

There are several reasons why we cry. Tears can be a result of how we react to certain emotions, words or events. Some of us cry when simply watching a movie or listening to a song. I have this one particular song that always and ultimately has this impact on me yet, it is neither linked to a particular person or event nor is there a definite reason for me to feel that way. It just happens. I guess it is the power of music. Moreover, there are various types of sadness we can experience. For instance, the one that is extremely painful and pervasive, or the kind of sadness that feels more nostalgic and somewhat beautiful. There is sadness that goes with loneliness, grief, hopelessness. And then there is melancholy.

Let me take you back about two years ago, Tokyo, Spring time. 
Almost every day, when I was leaving work very late and exhausted (sometimes coming home at midnight), I would still stop by the playground near my apartment, sit on the swing, eating my snacks from the konbini and drinking my yoghurt or avocado drink while listening to good music. I enjoyed being by myself accompanied by deep contemplation. I realized what I was going through emotionally did not constitute in sadness. I wasn’t sad nor lovesick despite a breakup. I talked about it with friends and with the help of my close friend Stephanie, who is absolutely amazing when it comes to putting anything into written words, we nailed it down to one term: melancholy.

I did some research and I came across many sources that would technically depict melancholy as a form of "mental disease", a "mood disorder" or "depressive disorder"; also "something caused by hormones". I wasn't satisfied with these terms. It's easy as equally as convenient nowadays to label anything as a "disease" or "depression" yet, nobody likes to talk about it - without looking at the source. Experiencing low-level sadness does not mean you are depressed. I may feel sad about something but I do not feel sad about everythingHere is when German comes in handy. What I love about the German language is the fact that we have - what seems like endless possibilities to describe anything, particularly in terms of describing emotions. One of my favorite author Steinbeck who happens to have written one of my favorite novels called East of Eden used the term Weltschmerz (world weariness). 

One would assume that living in the modern world surrounded by technology and endless opportunities to entertain (including watching Asian dramas!), there should be less Weltschmerz. Did you notice though, when we are happy, we don't ask ourselves why we are happy. Whereas, whenever we feel desolate and comfortless, all we ever do is to complain. Suddenly we take note of everything dismal and dreary around us and instead of turning negativity into pensive reflection we start to be in denial. Social withdrawal can be a result of neglecting something that we can't put into words. But not knowing how to define something doesn't ultimately mean that we can't question or understand it. In Japanese swordsmithing for example, the masters choose not to define a particular part of the sword that embodies the "soul" because giving it a specific name would take away the essence of the art of their craftsmanship, a craftsmanship only they understand. You don't need an answer to everything in order to have the basic right to question something.

These days, we have been called upon to engage in politics, social engagement, education, climate change [...] as an "active resident" more than I have ever experienced in my young adult life. Start by asking what kind of person you want to be, and not skip to what society you want to live in. I believe, we are equally required to stand on that pedestal and be accountable for ourselves, our health, fortune and happiness in order to design the society we choose to live in. 

I can't change the fact that there will be times when melancholy hit or even if I choose to get entirely rid of sadness in any form. My mood can vary just like color hues. All emotions are part of who I am. So, instead of feeling entirely dejected for days, I realized that I can benefit from all types of emotions and feelings if I learn to understand them, and that starts by questioning them. Because sadness isn't "just sadness", same goes with hatred, anger and joy. All of these emotions hold two sides that we can profit from. What's important is to acknowledge each and never to neglect looking at the source. and they provide me a tool that empowers me to write for example. I write to reflect and it is my form to express my opinion on various topics. Ai Wei Wei once said: To express yourself needs a reason, but expressing yourself is the reason. Melancholy might not be a reason for me to cry a pink pearl, I get that, but happiness also isn't something you wait around for either.  

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