Despair is one of those emotions that creeps up on you and seemingly appears out of nowhere. A careful external observer would be able to determine that it did not come from Nowhere at all. It came from decidedly Somewhere. But most lives are not lived with careful external observers, they are lived by the ones who would otherwise be the subject of the observation. And so, it would seem that despair can arise from nowhere and nothing.
Life contains many pleasant surprises; the heady inside of a decadent truffle, finding your keys in exactly the spot where you left them or an unexpected sequel to your favourite novel. These are all categorized as the warm fuzzy moment. The brief flashes of time that infuse a person with hope and belief in the existence of good in the world.
Despair is not one of these surprises. It is the exact opposite of warm and fuzzy. A cold, slimy feeling like mud squishing between your toes on the way to the outhouse at two am on a camping trip where it rained without end and someone forgot to pack the marshmallows. You can feel it there, slowly covering your entire foot and you know it’s likely going to get worse before it gets better but you drank too much around the soggy campfire and the outhouse was clearly outlined in the moonlight so you continue on. Each step pushes the cold much deeper between your toes and the heavy clay sticks to the bottom of your clearance store flip-flops until it feels like your feet are made of lead. And now the outhouse that you thought was just around the bend is at the top of a hill that is so slippery that you slide backwards faster than you can climb it.
That is despair.