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The Importance of Butterflies

By March 3, 2010How To, Writing

When I was little, Sundays were my least favorite days. Not only because of Sunday School, but because, I think, it always felt like an ending. Saturday, you were in it. But, Sunday, even though it was 40% of the weekend (including Friday night), felt doomed. The steady advance of the clock swallowing up any remaining freedom. I wasted a lot of it, I’m sure, mourning for it’s inevitable departure.

I had a physiological and emotional reaction to Sunday. I named it – in true writer fashion – when I was about 7 years old. I know that my mom (who reads this blog) won’t remember this, but I do. I was trying to tell her how I felt, because it was so, well, sad and intense. My interpretation was that I had my ‘Sunday Feeling’. Eventually, this became the term that I used to describe that particular brand of sadness whenever it happened – Sunday or not. Clinically, I think it would be identified as depression. The Sunday Feeling feels bottomless and lost, a little bit scared and incredibly still. And it still creeps up on me every now and then.

See how I’m a classically tortured artist?

I like to name things, always have. Like the time I told my 1st grade teacher, Miss Carragher, that I was carsick. She told me I couldn’t be carsick sitting at my desk – but it was the only reference I had for nausea at that point, being in the car. It made perfect sense to me. That woman never understood me.

But, Friday, glorious Friday. It held so much possibility, you know? It was the day you spent planning and dreaming up the weekend, the expanse of the two days to come spread out hugely in front of you. And, just like the Sunday Feeling, the Friday Feeling also and quickly became unattached to the actual day.

The Friday Feeling happened on the last day of school, and on the first. The Friday Feeling happens at the beginning of a relationship. The Friday Feeling happens when you get a call about a great project. The Friday Feeling happens when you can’t stop writing and everything just works. The Friday Feeling feels topless (as in the opposite of bottomless, not as in shirtless – though sometimes that could apply), full, purposeful, gleeful. The Friday Feeling has butterflies attached – they fly around in your gut, your chest, your throat.

To me, the butterflies are the drive behind the Friday Feeling. Their movement, after all, is the surest sign that you’re leaving the despair-filled stillness behind.

Image credit: Laura Burlton

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • Lindsey says:

    Oh, this is so resonant for me – the Friday feeling and then the Sunday feeling – beginnings and endings, anticipation of the good and the sense of things closing up again. They cycle over and over, don’t they, in our lives? My issue is that in the midst of the Sunday feeling I never believe it will end. And in the Friday feeling I’m already preemtively mourning its end.
    That’s my particular problem!

  • Aaron Pogue says:

    That’s lovely, Julie. Magically said.
    .-= Aaron Pogue´s last blog ..What I Learned about Writing this Week from Elmore Leonard =-.

  • Van says:

    The Sunday pains haunt me every weekend. I can wake up early, have a picnic, go for a stroll on the beach and force myself to have a wonderful day- but it doesn’t stop the “Sunday Feeling”. Every Sunday, behind every action I do and every thought I have is the distinct horror that the sun is setting on my weekend and my “real life” is soon to end so I can get back to life at the office.

    Damn you, “Sunday Feeling”!

  • Mary says:

    As I read your post and then the comments I realized that wow, I was not alone in those feelings! Thanks for another smile. I save reading your posts as a special treat for myself when I’m working hard on a project and they never disappoint.
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Workshop Blues =-.

  • I am soooo experiencing Friday Feeling. You hit it perfectly. I’ve been wrapping my head around being at a crossroads, but it’s more of a Friday Feeling. Anxious, excited, lots of potential . . . thanks for the shift in perception. It sounds less ominous.

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    Sometimes I get a Friday feeling right after a Sunday feeling–with no Monday, Tuesday, Wed or Thurs inbetween. Sometimes I think we need both–to swing back and forth between anticipation of pleasure and the anxiety of the struggle.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..Marriage Improvement Monday =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    I totally agree, Alisa – it’s an important concept, this ‘contrast’ thing. We can’t fully appreciate one side without the other…

  • Gail Kent says:

    I swear that we are twins separated at birth. Which would be amazing since I’m 23 years older.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Gail – stranger things have happened…and I’ll take that as a huge compliment having had glimpses of your fabulousity!

  • Kristi says:

    I don’t know why I ever thought the Sunday Blues was my exclusive darkness as a child. It actually didn’t change until I became an adult. Now Sunday is my favorite day of the week because of all the rituals and traditions I now have wrapped up in it. Sunday morning lazy reading paper, then mass, then about 25 family members meet for coffee, brunch snacks and fun at my MIL house. Then BIG Italian Sunday dinner with lots of yummy food and treats … my children say it is also their favorite day of the week because of these rituals/traditions we have established.

  • nicóle says:

    You made me cry a little-because I could completely relate.
    .-= nicóle´s last blog ..Blue October “Should Be Loved” Video =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Nicole – it’s so great to meet you! I’m glad Kelby sent you as well. I love that lady! Thanks for being here and speaking up!

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