So happy I could cry, so sad it's hard not to.

August 10, 2020 / Ty Marsh

Manic delights always have an end.

The sun is out, but it’s raining. I’m confused by where the downpour is coming from, but I feel like running in it. My curls reach for them, the tears of the sun, holding onto the droplets until their strands cling to my face as well. The cotton of my shirt does the same, gripping my contours in movement, exposing how I look when it’s just my flesh and I.

I ask myself why I’m so enamored by the paradox of a bright day and its showers. I remember my father telling of its holy implications as a child.

“The devil’s whippin’ his mama,” he would tell me, his accent slurring words together.

“It’s raining ‘cause it’s sad she’s gettin’ whipped, but the devil’s her son, so maybe she earned it.”

Charlotte Lawrence sings that God cuts us his pleasure with pain. Why wouldn’t the devil? I run, contemplating this paradox within another. I hold guilt in finding my own joy within her pain, but joy within pain is a part of life right now, so I continue running.

It’s hard to explain the way I feel in moments like these, so I delight in them instead. My mind runs faster than I do. It feels like my cup is overflowing; contents threaten to escape from my eyes. I keep the tears back, though. It’s far too bright of a day to cry.

My mind, cluttered with thoughts of paradox and the remnants of a cup overflowed, has no time to waste. I find joy in my bright day by contrasting it with months of darkness. I willfully ignore the bolstering thunders of the sky above me because finally, finally, there’s something for me to enjoy.

I know mania is coming before it appears. It’s not triggered by anything. Instead, it reaches out for me, slowly pulling me into its embrace until I can feel the beats of its overactive heart. The days before our intertwine, I’m consumed by delights. The difficulties of getting out of bed each day are gone. I look in the mirror and find no fault, no reason to ostracize myself from the ones I love. My anxieties thwarting the intimacies of communication no longer thwart my social skills. I finally look forward to experiencing my days.

If I could describe it, I’d say I felt normal. But this normal is not the one that I’m used to.

Gradually, my delights become violent. I don’t sleep unless assisted by the melatonin I’ve learned to keep bedside. I wake up in the morning and my thoughts, oversaturated, blend into one another. The mirror offers me a godlike mural of self. I’m idealized. I’m invincible. I ignore my torrential downpour of mental chaos in favor of standing in the sun.

It feels like I can’t catch my breath, like each moment is one in which I have just finished a chase, a chase where the person I’m chasing is not a person, but an end of a thought that I can never seem to find but am always searching for, like a child searching for their dog gone missing after a tornado in a story that always ends with the dog finding its way home, or someone discovering it miles away in the town over, or the dog barking from under a pile of debris and a rescue worker finding it and bringing it home, and I just want to be able to find a conclusion to everything in the same way, but this feeling of every single moment chasing after me makes me believe if I give up searching for whatever I originally set out to find, it will result in me once again being consumed by the darkness I run from.

My mind, a boundless link of chains, begins to knot itself. The liquids from my overfilled cup eat away at the chains, infecting them with rust. They begin to crumble, their links disconnecting and falling apart. By the end, my mind is a wasteland, exhausted.

Shakespeare once said that violent delights have violent ends. This violent end is one that I’ve experienced before. It’s one that I, against my efforts, will experience again. I take the storm of my mind and use it to wash away the remnants of my broken chains. I start again. Perhaps I enjoy the never-ending cycle. Maybe it’s the extremes that I cling to, the two opposing forces within me that battle for control.

I think it’s the between that I love most — the days where everything seems controllable, where the new normal begins to feel like an established one. With each between, I find another piece of progress within myself that inspires me and gives me hope that one day, my normal will be one without the sun sharing her day with storms. It’s the hope that after a day of paradox, the rain fades and the sun is the one that stays behind. I run until that day comes.■

By: Ty Marsh

Layout: Caleb Zhang

Photographer: Rachel Aquino

Stylist: Noelle Campos

HMUA: Gracie Gilchriest & Lucy Chong

Models: Alex Garcia, Amaan Dosani & Julie Garcia
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