Grey

There’s a set of words going round the Internet recently that EVERY GIRL EVER is quoting and reposting because “omg i just can’t even this is so me!!!!! *sassy kiss-blowing emoji*”

Gag.

However, the set of words in question is actually kind of nice. Behold:

I either eat too much or starve myself. Sleep for 14 hours or have insomniac nights. Fall in love very hard or hate passionately. I don’t know what grey is. I never did.

(I think there are a couple versions floating around but this is the one I found first)

I have no idea who said this, such is the horrible state of this generation’s manners in giving people credit (it really is just polite). But these are nice words, in a sense.

I got to thinking about them. (As per usual.) I wasn’t sure why I couldn’t get them out of my head.

And then of course I thought, “Am I like this? Do I know what grey is?”

I thought about it. I’ve eaten too much – my first semester of college I had little restraint – and I’ve starved myself – my freshman year of high school I only ate once a day for months. I’ve slept too much and too long – the older I got the more true that was – and I’ve had insomniac nights – I was the worst sleeper when I was younger, and I still sometimes find myself awake till four a.m. because God knows why. I don’t know if I’ve actually fallen in love, but I’ve certainly had (and have) very strong feelings about wanting to date people. Does that count? And I’ve hated passionately. I still do, though I don’t like to think about it much because it’s usually unreasonable.

And I wonder, what else can this sort of approach be applied to?

And I figure, almost nothing. I don’t mean to say that ALL THERE IS IN LIFE is food and sleep and love (or love thwarted, as hate usually is), but nothing else is so black and white.

I thought about things that are important to me. Food and sleep and love are important to me. But so are books and boats and flowers and languages and poems and pianos and running and songs and stars and water and mountains and my family and friends and fraternity brothers and all the things there are to learn and do and see and all the different ways in which our species has learned to express beauty and our appreciation thereof.

And I don’t waffle about those things. I do not love books one day and hate them the next. I don’t find myself afraid to dip my toes in the water one day and then feel like a blommin’ mermaid the next.

I love everything I love every day, as cheesy as that sounds.

The disconnect lies in that I don’t have time for everything I love every day, and so, in a sense, I suppose that most of my passions on any given day are something I am treating, at least, as though I feel “grey” about them.

Elizabeth Gilbert said, “The day I can’t see [the value in something] is the day I cut off the edges of my life and narrow it down to an unfeeling middle. And I don’t want to live there.”

No. Of course not. But you need it, you need it to keep you sane. It’s a vacation spot, to continue the metaphor. On your way back from plumbing the depths of despair or the heights of happiness, sometimes you need a visit to grey to keep you sane.

So yes, I would say that I do know what grey is. I always have. I need it as much as I need black or white. I need rationality as much as I need deep feeling.

This reminds me of something from (guess who?) Madeleine L’Engle.

The brain, when it is disengaged from the heart, turns vicious. Conversely, the heart, when it is disengaged from the brain, can become sentimental and untruthful.

You need it all.

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