Drabble 36 – Ululate

Drabble 36 – Ululate

Did I abuse the clone stamp tool to use this photo? Yes.
Crying is okay here. by A National Acrobat.

Unfortunately, my year-end malaise has not abated and has instead morphed into year-beginning malaise. I stared blankly at the note on my to-do list that said to proof and post yesterday’s drabble, opened Flickr to find an image, searched a couple things, and decided that I felt more like doing literally anything else.

I’m kind of an emotional being. ‘Kind of,’ in this context, is a way of saying ‘very extremely so much oh my god will somebody please help me contain all of these emotions because I’m clearly not doing a good enough job of it myself.’ So instead of proofing and posting this drabble last night, I went to play Undertale because I appreciated that some pixel-art skeletons wanted to make puns and tell me that I’m a kind person.

I have a big problem with balancing my own mental health and my work ethic. I don’t make a lot of money as a freelance writer. Any moment I’m not writing is a moment when I’m losing potential money. So despite the fact that I do, in fact, feel guilty about not sticking to my own arbitrary schedule (a self-imposed schedule for work I do not get paid for, no less), I’m turning my nose up and saying, “Nope, nope, sometimes taking care of myself is more important.”

(It is more important. The world will keep on turning if I do not post a drabble on time. Your mental health is important, my mental health is important, please take care of yourself better than I do.)

Anyway, here’s a drabble.


(Noun: From Latin ululationem for “a howling or wailing”)

To howl or wail as an expression of extreme emotion, typically grief.

Though the girl with the dark hair doesn’t speak the same language as Theresa, she takes an offered cracker and returns a toothy grin. In time, they share words—colors, names, objects—and though Theresa never quite gets the hang of Maria’s rolling r’s and breathy j’s, they talk around the obstacles enough to find friendship.

Until high school, when Theresa is moving to another state and Maria is staying behind. They lace their fingers together, and neither of them can find the correct common words. Instead, they cry, biting back the wrong words and speaking with meaning, not language.


  1. Ugh, this is exactly how I’ve been feeling the last couple of weeks. It’s got so much worse the last few days. That guilt over not working enough, which just makes you feel even worse – but you’re completely right, the most important thing has to be looking after ourselves. We can’t work at all if we’re having breakdowns, so sometimes we need to be a bit kinder to ourselves and allow a slower pace if we need it.

    Thank you for writing this post and the drabble, for highlighting the importance of emotions and letting ourselves be emotional. I really hope you find a way to create a healthy space for yourself soon. Keep going, keep being creative, and keep taking the time to look after yourself! 🙂

    (Oh and thanks for mentioning Undertale, it’s now on my gaming list~)

    • It’s so hard to balance work and life and mental health, particularly when you’re self-employed. You need to work to take care of yourself, but you need to take care of yourself to work. I think we undervalue how important our health is to productivity – yes, completing a project may earn us money and security, but it’s hard to know when to quit, even when it’s grinding us down.

      I’m glad that you got something out of it! I’m trying to be more open about how I feel because bottling it all up only makes things worse for me in the long run, and I think social media has a nasty side effect of making it look like everybody else has it together all the time. I certainly don’t have it together all the time, and I hope that being open and honest about that helps other people recognize that their emotions are valid and not as uncommon as they might think. I wish the same to you, and hope that the year starts easing up on us soon!

      I haven’t beaten Undertale yet but it’s lovely so far – hope you like it!

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