By Allen Harvey
My writing has been described by some as honest, yet cold with a touch of darkness and melancholy. I've even received a private message from a follower asking if I am depressed and suicidal (no, I'm not, but thank you for asking). The question that continues being asked of me about my writing has always remained: why so dark?
All of my writing comes from a place of brokenness. I did not grow up in a terrible or conflicted household. My parents never divorced, nor did they abuse me, my brother, or each other. As has happened to most of us, it wasn't until I was in my teens that I began to feel and understand the pain of heartbreak and depression. Those emotions coupled with my environment full of beautiful music and sounds, landscape, and lofty scents became impressed into my memory. The feeling of lost love as I walked down the beautiful downtown sidewalk of the city beneath the falling leaves, autumn playful wafting under my nose as I listened to Switchfoot and NEEDTOBREATHE through my headphones lives vividly in my memories and can provoke those very same emotions if I allow myself to become receptive to them. Those and so many others have since seeped into the daily workings of my mind. But why write so much about them? Why not focus on the positive?
The condition of being broken has been portrayed in cinema and literature throughout human history, but I feel that too many times those stories are resolved into the infamous "happily ever afters" that we have all come to know and love. This was a problem for me, not because I dislike happy endings, but because most endings in life are, in fact, not happy. There are wonderful works out there that do not end in happiness, but it has always been my thought that we are sometimes unable to process those in particular because of our desire to be content and happy as well. This has always stuck with me throughout my life. We all want happy endings, of course, but the reality of life is that not all of us are destined for a happily ever after. So what does it feel like when we are left to wade (or even drown) in the melancholy of an unhappy ending?
The human experience is one of both joy and tragedy. When my son and daughter were born, I felt the greatest joy that I know I will ever experience in life. Watching them grow and mature into extraordinary human beings is amazing. But a lot of their worst moments in life have caused me great pain knowing that their tragedies are the other side of the coin. They will succeed, and in those triumphs, I can rejoice with them. But they will also fail, and in those broken moments, I can only weep with them knowing that I can't fix it for them. I can't take their pain from them onto myself. I am merely a spectator sharing in their journeys through their human experiences. It is these failures in life that teach us lessons, provide opportunities for growth, and point us in the right direction. These dark moments should be cherished and revered for their lessons and direction.
A heart breaking after the loss of love is one that I feel confident that each and every person reading this article has experienced in their life. It feels as though a knife has been plunged into your heart and lungs, pain spilling into your veins with every heartbeat and each breath. Depression can set in fairly quickly. This is not a state of mind that any of us would wish to remain in, but it is in this state of mind that we partake in a journey of self-discovery that only comes from our lowest points in life.
Pain and sorrow will always be a part of our lives. This is a given fact that we will never be able to overcome. It is the fool who chooses to believe that he or she can live their life without the scars of a broken heart. We must accept this as not just an auxiliary portion of the human experience, but an integral part that will mould and transform us into better people. This is why I focus on the melancholy. This is why I write the broken pieces of my heart for others to read.
"Take the pain as passion. Like the rain during a storm, do not run and bolt for shelter, not because you enjoy being wet, but because of the cleansing. Embrace the pain. Long for the you at the end when the clouds disperse and the sun shines, completely broken."
About The Author
Allen Harvey is a writer of poetry and prose that focuses on the darker side of life. He types them on homemade paper and shares them on Instagram. Aside from his writing endeavors, he enjoys crafts such as bookbinding, knitting, crocheting, quilting, and woodworking. He was born on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and currently lives in southwestern Wisconsin with his two children.