Inside Out and Blue and Yellow and Blue and Yellow

One of my favorite kid movies is Inside Out. The personification of the emotions in Riley’s head are adorable and – even though completely physiologically inaccurate – they are so realistically portrayed. My favorite part of the movie is when Joy figures out that Riley doesn’t just need HER, she needs Fear and Anger and Disgust and especially Sadness . . . it’s so, SO well done. If you haven’t watched it, you should. No matter how old you are. I love the image of the first core memory that is a mixture of Joy and Sadness – a swirl of yellow and blue.

Tomorrow I’m going to a student’s funeral. A boy who had sandy blonde hair and a toothpaste commercial smile – when he could manage to flash it. A boy who had intelligence and a caring nature that went above and beyond what a typical teenager possesses. A boy who had depression and his own demons he was fighting.

Depression is such a bitch.

It was a joy to watch him, to teach him, to know him.

Blue.

Yellow.

Blue.

Yellow.

The funeral is on my mind when I put my kids to bed tonight, and my heart feels a little heavier than usual. When I go into their room I feel down until they say things like, “Can you give us one more huggie and kissie?” and they ask it more than once. I oblige every time.

Yellow.

Yellow.

My youngest daughter looks at me and smiles when I tuck her in says, “I’m going to dream about princesses!” And I hope she does dream about princesses. I sort of hate princesses, but that’s beside the point – I just want her to dream of something that makes her happy.

Yellow.

They’re so young. Their little internal emotional dashboards are still so simple. So joyous, much of the time. So many yellow core memories. Right now, parenting is exhausting and brutal but exhilarating and rewarding. It’s hard in some ways but so easy in others.

It scares me, a little – a lot, actually – for when their emotions get more complex. For their memories that are all swirls of blue mixed in with yellow. For memories that don’t have any yellow.

Blue.

I know it has to happen. I know their Sadness is important. Logically.

Emotionally, it’s harder.

And the thought of something more than Sadness. More than blue – for my kids – it’s terrifying.

So many of us deal with depression. It’s in my genes and maybe in my kid’s. I don’t know what color true depression would show up as in Inside Out, but I know for sure that it is not the same blue that sadness is. I’m pretty sure it isn’t even a shade of blue at all.

I’m just about positive that losing a child isn’t a color. It’s a gouge in the orb.

I’m trying to take my cues from Joy. I’m trying to humble myself and acknowledge the fact that Joy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. That the rest of the shit that exists is necessary. Is useful.

It is, right? It is.

Blue.

Blue.

Blue.

I’m sure it is. Logically. Emotionally – it’s harder to wrap my brain around.

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