Oh sadness!


The Scream by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch

I rode my bike to a friend’s house in one of the districts in Hanoi. I fixed the room I’ll be staying in for the next eight months. I had to transfer the refrigerator from the ground floor to the floor upstairs as well as to unscrew my bed on the second floor and bring it down to my room on the ground floor, and I had to do the same process, this time in reverse: re-screwing it. I also had to bring several paintings to her mother’s atelier in the third floor. Vietnamese houses have this peculiar architectural idiosyncrasy. They are very narrow and very tall. Houses with more than four floors are the norm, not only that, one has to use the equally narrow stairs just to reach any of the top floors.

After that, I had to ride my bicycle back to my present apartment.

I just arrived in my room, and for a long time, I never felt this tired. I decided to open my emails and write something about my day. Then it occurred to me that I am sad. Solitude, or too much of it, without me expounding on this thesis, can be so devastating. I’ve been so used to being alone that I thought I’ve gone so numb and would never feel loneliness anymore. But right now, after a very long time, I’m so down.

I still receive SMSs from the Philippines, but they are getting more scarce each day. Maybe I just fear being forgotten, being taken for granted, being thought of as non-existent.


I tried to turn on my Windows media player and listen to the songs I ripped from the CDs my friends gave me, but they made me even sadder. The humming of the air conditioning unit even added to this emptiness. I’m scared of waking up one day realizing that nobody really cares for me because I sought for insignificant things in life instead of valuing the things that really matter–my family, the person I am currently involved with and whom I love so much, my friends.

How easily was I lured by worldly things. Is success more important that the moments I share with my family in South Cotabato? For Christ’s sake, I know the answer! But why am I still choosing this over the most important people in my life.

Is sadness just one of the sacrifices I have to offer, notwithstanding my family for the name of success? I think it is laughable.

Oh God, I’m sad.


36 thoughts on “Oh sadness!”

  1. Well John thanks for the article, regardless of what some people think, I found your article something nice to read; I googled sadness, and am glad I found something interesting. I liked when you said “Is sadness just one of the sacrifices I have to offer, notwithstanding my family for the name of success? I think it is laughable.” Although you wrote it 2 years ago, we face this challenge all through our lives, and personally I think success is not always related to materialistic accomplishments, true success gives us peace and happiness.

    1. atiq, i do not know if i have worsen. but i cannot anymore find time now, that it’s even difficult for me now to feel sadness because i do not have time to even feel it.


      thank you for dropping by.

      be less sad, though.

  2. i for one got caught with this word “sadness” and it is not because i’m sad but because i find it arbitrarily inevitable to read it. sadness is not only a state of feeling but also a state of consciousness that maybe where you are right now is the least where you want to be.

    1. hahaha. i find it odd why sadness is such difficult a concept to comprehend. probably we often confuse it with emptiness. they’re totally different feelings but manifest themselves in an almost similar fashion.

    1. i’ve gotten over that kind of sadness, but now i am hurdling a different kind of sadness more appropriate for my age. hahaha. thanks for asking, georgie.

    2. Yes well actually, my first comment was posted on May 2 2010 so two years ago. But then another comment in october 2010. And here’s my third comment. This blog post really reminds me of when I lived in England. That was when I posted my first comment. Wow, time flies. Who would’ve known where I’d be two years from then!

    3. and who would’ve thought i’d be less sad now. thank you for having come back here. i did not realize those two comments came from the same reader. and i hope you’re also less sad now as what led you to this site was your googling for the word sadness.

      it’s great to catch up on an old reader!

  3. hey John,
    i read your post, exactly because i just googled sadness.
    And well, yes it cheered me up a lot, reading a post about sadness from someone who is sitting on the other half of this planet. struggling on the same issues everyone else does.

    keep up the good work

    1. claus,

      i’m glad you were able to relate with my experience even if i am half-way around the globe away.

      by the way, i wrote this more than two years ago.

  4. i am using love and a lot of hope so that i may not be happy, at least i am not lonely. this article was written more than two years ago. i assure you, a lot has already changed.

    thank you so much for reading.

  5. Lone-li-ness. The ‘quality’ or ‘state’ of being SOLITARY. Born that way and will pass away that way. I think it’s up to us to ‘fill in the middle.’ Use Love as your compass and you’ll be just fine.

  6. Hey Laura,

    I already emailed you, but I am leaving a message here as well. I believe that the picture is a public domain so you may use it, but what I do not know is name of the artist who made the picture.

  7. Hey John,

    I wrote to the email address you had posted, but thought I’d also leave a comment: I wanted to know the name of the B&W painting (and artist) of the girl w/her head down in the foreground of a long hallway and the arched ceiling.

    Many thanks,

  8. To feel what is sadness, one needs to experience happiness. If not, it is just numbness.

    The inability to feel… that is sadness

  9. To the Anonymous reader above:

    Oh Sadness! is my most well-read post. I asked myself why, probably because a lot of people searched about the word “sadness” and they found it here. Or probably a lot of people are sad and they want to read something about what they feel. They want to find a sense of community, of not being alone in this alienating world. They found it here.

    The article above is not simply rambling. It tells about the general feeling of sadness we all experience. And sadness, I believe, is both a personal and a communal concept as much as it is a personal emotion that can only be relieved when we hear, watch, or read about people who have the same experience as we do.

    And I am not wallowing in this sadness, instead I wrote it down, that for me is an action in itself. I appreciate you for reading this post. All the best.

    Happy New Year.


  10. who cares how you feel? it’s only your ego wanting to be loved and recognised . you are nothing more then what your ego believes is the I or I am, from one moment to the next you are nothing more or less then what you wish or what you need to be. call it one thing or a thousand things , form a support group, write a song ,a play, star in a film, adopt a child from a foreign country. Blow up a plane or run for major, we all need to feel wanted and loved, but writing in sadness websites will not solve your present situation.Get busy living or get busy dying

  11. A vibrant and an interesting, thought-provoking and life-enriching site especially for the people from the First World countries who have been exposed to having and seeing things associated with the good materialistic life; the life of the market-economy and the culture of consumerism.

    It also serves as a resource-centre for the various fields of the world of arts where their various practitioners or aspiring artsts could converge and inter-act to their mutual benefits.

  12. hello john,
    could you please tell me which artist created the painting of the hunched figure in red, against a blue background? i’d really like to know.
    also, i have shared this painting via my facebook account, hope that’s ok? i’ll take it off if it’s not ok.

  13. now when i writting these words i feel soo sad and i feel all bad feelings right now ( sadness . dipression . want to die . hate life . ) please GOD help me

  14. john, you are right. you are like any other, feeling the same sadness as human beings. well, sadness and happiness differs in interpretation in each of us. what can be sad for you, maybe happiness for me or vice versa. human psychology is quite complex.

    writers are expected to explore emotions. in that way, they can connect to the readers. salute for you, for such a straight from the heart post.

  15. Thanks a lot for reading Albert and for reassuring me that at least somebody reads what I wrote. Hahaha.

    It’s tempting to be selfish, sometimes, especially if you’re a writer. Things are simpler if a writer forgets about his readers and write whatever pleases him. But after reading what you wrote, I realized that it still pays if a writer includes his readers in the agenda.

    Not that I am a sad man. I’m like any other. Someone very ordinary. Sad, but not giving up the hope to hold happiness longer than it usually allows itself to be held.

    Thanks a lot.

  16. hi JRR, gosh I’ve experienced exactly the same…felt the same
    and thought of the same things.. and I was afraid to tell people
    how i feel and let them know how miserable I am, and Im happy
    reading through your thoughts realizing that there are people out
    there treading on the same path, being able to find consolation
    for themselves at the very least.hehe

    I realized that being too much self sufficient, trying to
    feel that everything is under control and all emotions managed
    could be very deadly…yeah, so loosen up buddy, keep writing..
    i’ll read them.kkk

  17. Nicole,

    Our experience of sadness, including everything that goes with each such as self pity, emptiness, feeling of uselessness, can be quite addicting sometimes. It feels so good to wallow in this feelings, but something better is in store for us. I am sad, yes, from time to time, but being happy is a lot better.

    Thanks for reading and empathizing.

  18. hey fev, hang in there. after all, the path you walk is a difficult one. =) when i feel lonely, i’d read books, or just nap it through.

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