Meh-ness To Society

File under "it is what it is". It's beside the folder "craptastic"
File under “it is what it is”. It’s beside the folder “craptastic”

There is an ebb and flow to things, a seasonal and cyclical arc that swells and shrinks as we pass through our days and lives, and sometimes we need to pass through times of inertness and mid-level drabness.  Neither here nor there type of deals. The pause before the next note on the scale.  A certain form of unwanted stillness and unsureness.  An uninvited indifferent disposition cast out towards ourselves and others.

A Meh-nace to society, if you will.


The word itself is bereft of joy, is almost onomatopoeic in form and truly conveys the true blandness that it so deftly conveys. Or maybe I am just the kind of person who waxes a little too much on such a simple word and identification.  Most likely this is the way I deal with the low tides of my life and my recovery – express it, pass through it, live another day.

This guy's cavalier demeanour and charm has me on the cusp of unbridled excitement.  Or not.
This guy’s cavalier demeanour and charm has me on the cusp of unbridled excitement. Or not.

There is nothing wrong with a meh kind of day.  Or days.  Or week, which is where I feel entrenched in at the moment.  I’m neither Number One Hit or One Hit Wonder.  Just in the middle of the pack, like Jan or Peter Brady.  I’m at a low simmer. I am dough at rest, awaiting further kneading and processing.  I am in a state of just being here.  Or there.

When I was active in my alcoholism, there was rarely a meh kind of day, or at least a full 24 hours of it.  Everything was extremes.  It was all treble and bass, no flat middle.  I had to be on the way up to something, or I was crashing down from something.  Whether it was the booze itself, the drama, the anger, the rush and crash of emotions, the fights, the laughing, the crying, the need to raise myself or bury myself…it all tired me out.  There was no soft place to land.  It was all about spiking and burning.  No room in between, because in between meant reflection, self-appraisal, taking a look at my own world.  And I didn’t like doing that.  It hurt too much.

Back then, having a blah or just ‘ok’ day meant  drinking it into another form, morphing the nothingness of the day away so I wouldn’t have to allow it to unfold on its own.  Having a day where there was no clear cut direction or tone meant sitting in uncomfortableness and uncertainty.  And sitting in that uncertainty brought out fears.  And the marching out of fears to an alcoholic is one of the driving forces that sets us off to collide ourselves with others like atoms in a smasher.  We don’t do uncomfortable very well.  At least I didn’t.

I feel ya dude.  I feel ya.
Self- portrait.

Meh days also brought out anger.  Why should everyone else have all the fun, the extreme pleasures, the secret to kick-ass living while I mucked about in the mire of Maker’s Mark?  Of course, that was quite the exaggeration and lie (ooh, we’re good at those things too – yet more items to add to the CV of a Drunk).  My perception was that I was the only one who was living in the dregs and doldrums of existence, while others had a charmed life.  And what did they do to deserve it?  I was smart, well-travelled, a student of years of therapy, a drunk man of great potential.  Didn’t they see that? So my expectations of everyone and myself ignited a small spark that quickly accelerated into a blazing inferno inside me.  And we all know what happens when you add alcohol to flame.  Resentments continued to smoulder long after the fire had gone out…on the rare occasional I let the flames die down, that is.

Days of ‘whatever’ also brought out my insecurities.  And you can only imagine how many of those I had packed away like a hoarder.  But unlike a hoarder, I had easy access to them.  I knew exactly how to find them – sort of like punching “E5” into a vending machine and watching the little robot arm reach within itself and pluck out that thing you don’t really need per se, but is something to fill the void.  Whenever I had a day where there wasn’t much emotional impact or life impact, I wondered what was wrong with me.  I assumed life was going to be a carnival, bearded lady and all.  I expected (oops, there’s that word again) that it would be an IKEA-fun-ball-room-for-kids kind of extravaganza.  I started to search for the reasons that it wasn’t.  Was it because I wasn’t attractive? That I wasn’t popular?  Too nerdy? Not good enough for anyone?  I took it to heart.  Bad place to take that for an alcoholic of my type.

These guys never had a meh day - especially not with a hat and hairdo like that.
These guys never had a meh day – how could they with lids like that?

What I have come to see in my short recovery time is that it’s not about the car chases and the shoot out-like highs, or the abysmal and crippling depression-like lows.  It’s not about being an emotional jetsetter, a plague of unstable and short lived jabs, climbing and plunging, swooning and sinking.  It’s about just being.  Sitting in whatever it is that I need to sit with.  Sometimes it’s unpleasant.  Sometimes it is pleasant.  Like it has been lately – neither.  And where I used to jump to the bottle to synthetically add smelling salts to my spirit, I just take it for what it is and let it flow.

The idea of a day that has no discernible demeanour is one that is sometimes still a bit jarring, but I am seeing it as a gift, in some way.  It’s a blank canvas. It’s a respite from the trials and tribulations that sometimes engage us in life.  It’s a time to look into self sans the lens of expectations or  morbidity or criticism.  It’s a chance to pull off the side of the highway, take a look at the map, and readjust.  It’s a holding pattern in a way, of circling the landscape and taking in the breathtaking vastness of our gratitude and love for others.

I think about the days where I couldn’t sit and do much of anything other than churn through my thoughts over and over again and come out with bloody burger meat.    The turmoil inside was too great, the idea of sobriety and feeling things for real was too overwhelming, the pain of just being too much.  But I can see the joy in contemplating the now-ness of the moment, of serenity of chilling, the contentment of opening the window and feeling the rush of air on my face.  Because these meh days, these days where I can’t see the compass, are exactly where they need to be.  It’s not my map I am looking at.  It’s the Creator’s, and I am just a passenger, a simple person doing the legwork while He directs and guides me on my journey.  I am in this space because I am meant to be here.

This ain't no economy recovery...first class all the way.
This ain’t no economy recovery…first class all the way, baby.

So where does that bring me now?  What does all this reflection and spiritual unfolding bring to my day, when I have to work, shop, cook, brush children’s teeth and pay bills?  Not sure.  Perhaps just knowing that I am supposed to do those things and not worry about anything else.  Perhaps sensing that I am not needed to build the next tallest skyscraper in one day or dig a pit for my own burial is the point.  Maybe its just sitting quietly and listening to the kids playing on the street or the birds yammering away or the sizzle of the neighbour testing out his new BBQ grill.  You know, life stuff and not worrying about being Captain Everything.

It’s about being here, with you , with Him and with my spirit…vibrating in harmony, lifting my soul, opening my heart.


23 Comments Add yours

  1. byebyebeer says:

    Meh can feel like apathy or even anhedonia, which always sounds like a fancy made-up word but it’s a sign of depression. Just like you said, then I remind myself that it’s normal to feel that, well, lack of feeling sometimes. It is just where I am, and in particular I tend to find myself at meh after a busy period or at the end/start of a season. I think I just get burnt out and that’s where I sit for a bit. I feel meh today, but it’s Mehday. (sorry, couldn’t help myself)

    Thanks for this share. It’s a reminder that it’s all good, especially when I’m feeling down but can’t really identify why.

    1. You set quite a tone, BBB, with your “mehday” gem, after reading through the comments here! And it’s always great having a good tone set.

      You are right – we don’t own “meh” – it’s pretty universal. And I thought about this after reading what you said, and yeah, I notice it comes after a run of some kind, when I have gone through some sort of phase or period of (in)activity. Rest time. Recharge. It comes and goes.

      Groovy comments 🙂


  2. destamae says:

    ‘Mehday’ @byebyebeer!! Love it!! So true!! I think it’s VERY hard for the addict to ‘sit in’ whatever it is we need to sit in at the moment-that would mean we need to actually FEEL something- heaven forbid! :-p GREAT post-as always-I SO relate. Keep up the great work and writing these GREAT posts full of insight!

    1. Thanks Desta – glad it resounded with you. You are correct in that it’s hard to sit in something, when our natural instinct is to turn and run. My shoes have holes in them from all the running away from things. So meh – I’ll sit this one out. And in.

      Thanks for being here 🙂


  3. whinelessinwashington says:

    Paul—I can so relate. Its like being a meh Brady twin. I have been MEH with all caps for a few days, and ufh, they suck. But hell, being hungover sucked, too. Ill take MEH anyday. Thanks for your thoughful prose and seventies references that added an extra smile!

    1. Hungover DID suck, so really, this isn’t much to whine about, is it? Oh dear…a little too much introspection perhaps? Maybe I need to be more like Mike Brady and just buckle down and get stuff *done*…lol.

      As for the 70’s stuff- I can’t help it. Stuff from that era just pops up (as does 80’s stuff) – I was a big TV watcher then…sunk in and anchored myself there. Glad you like it 🙂 It’s fun to do.

  4. sherryd32148 says:

    I’ve learned to love meh. Meh and I are fast friends now.

    Great post Paul…as usual. I like the way your brain functions and processes.


    1. I was laughing when you mentioned about how my brain functions, because for most of my life I wondered the same thing…but not in quite the complimentary and positive way you said it…lol. But thanks. I am glad my brain isn’t mush after all those years…yikes.

      I love what you said about you and meh being friends. Perhaps I could “like” meh on Facebook if I had FB?

      Silly Paul…now look how your brain is working 🙂

      Thanks Sherry!

  5. Ain’t it the truth, Paul! I had a “meh” day today! Thanks, as always, for writing something to which I can relate!

    1. Seems like we are always on the same wavelength eh? Glad to be in that place with ya – nice to have the company 🙂

  6. Dude. First off, your picture captions have been especially murdering me. Full-on guffawing, juicy-eyed type of laughter and delight.
    You’re a nut!
    In the best way.
    I’ve even gone back to a few and laughed harder than the first time. “Self portrait” seems to keep delivering.
    Anyways, on to “Meh.” Fantastic essay on a valuable subject. Though often overlooked, Meh sure haunts our society. And you are so right, all we can do is come to peace with it. After all, my last plan for navigating through the Horse Latitudes was getting rip-hammered drunk. The Smelling Salt Solution you mentioned.
    It worked, too.
    A Tijuana jail is a lot of things, but it’s not Meh. You pray for Meh. If you had it, you would cuddle it like a sick child, and kiss it to sleep.
    I’d be in the back of some cop car just wishing I could be home sorting socks.
    I had to remind myself of all this recently. The past month has been Bleh, which is one step worse then Meh. I climbed out of Bleh into Meh. So that was up. Now I’ve managed to peak up into Heh. Pretty nice. I can almost see Fuck Yeh in the distance.
    Here’s the kick- All I had to do was accept my way through it. Seriously. Just as you so wisely prescribe here, mein Doktor. It most certainly is the cure-all you have touted from your horse drawn wagon. And I will sign any testimonial your attorneys should produce.
    By the wayo, Wide-o, I wanted to say how tonight, I was really appreciating some of the technical niceties in your word craft. Nerdy shit. Sentence structure stuff. Your pacing. Digging how you carve a clean line. And how you manage to keep it conversational, but with a liberal helpings of razzlemataz. You serve up, dare I say it, a perfect cocktail?
    This all above and beyond the message. Which is ALWAYS bang on.
    How you do that?
    It’s amazing.
    Okay. Now do something else. I’m bored. Hurry.
    Love you to little crumpled pieces,

    1. You killed me with the Bleh, Meh, Heh, Fuck Yeh scale there. Brilliant. Perhaps there can be a tie in and endorsement to some sort of motor oil or petrol – what will *your* car run on?? I don’t know. Or anti-depressant dosages. There has to be a way of using it for good, and not evil.

      What you said about accepting your way through meh is very important, methinks. I sometimes forget that and overthink it…like I may have here. Perhaps just letting meh pass by without engaging in it is the right way of doing things. Is there a right way in any of this, oh Wizard? Oh well.

      thanks for the techie love there…nice that you noticed! Frankly, I get a bit overwrought at times with the syntax and usage, but I think there was a future in copy editing or something in me at some point. I nerd out on that stuff, as you do. I don’t try to get too wigged out on it. There are many times after I hit publish that I look back in horror in some of the grammar, or word selection. But I just let it go. It’s done.


      Hugs to ya,

  7. warmginger says:

    I’m thinkin’ you’re spot on! I’ve also got the mad love for your pictures. ;D

    1. Thanks warmginger!! I do have fun with the pics now. Maybe too much. But it keeps the blues away sometimes 🙂

      Thank you for being here – means a lot to me!!


  8. Mrs D says:

    Meh indeed. Meh and I are fast friends also. I love that word, it strikes me as utterly modern and fabulously efficient .. with just three letters it conveys such a punch of emotion. Meh indeed. xxx

    1. If I were female, I would have thrown a “ pause” kind of joke. But just seeing that typed out now is pretty lame. Sigh. But I heard the “meh” a couple years ago and loved it. Loved it more when it was said on the Simpsons. So that cemented Meh to my meh brain.

      But you’re right – it does convey a punch of emotion, doesn’t it?


  9. Al K Hall says:

    Meh and my shadow… Strange but for me i can be having a Mehday (thank you BBB!) and feel really good about having the downtime or i can feel really badly that i’m not more motivated. The answer is in that statement: i’ll be doing better when ‘meh’ does not trigger ‘really’ feelings at either extreme.

    1. Once again Al, you have such a way of bringing right down to the good stuff. Wow! I can’t even top what you said there – thank you so much for this additional insight!


  10. Lisa Neumann says:

    “Meh” IS the new “extraordinary” … (teehee)
    Paul you are so loved.
    Such a wonderful communicator.
    You already know I adore you and the good stuff is (again) already said.

    1. Thanks Lisa – I have a sash made up for my role of president of your fan club. There’s true love there in your corner of the world. I am just happy to be a loyal reader of yours. You make it look easy.

      Thanks again for being here 🙂


  11. lifecorked says:

    Loved this post! In fact, loved it so much that I had to blog about it here Thanks, Paul!

    1. I am honoured, Chenoa! Thank you. 🙂

      Love and light,

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