There are very few things in life that I care about now. Very few. I guess its a part of growing up. You figure out what really matters and what doesn’t. But I think I’ve gone a little overboard.
I think I used to care a little too much. And I’ve spent the past few years distancing myself from feelings. I thought that they made me weak. I thought that if I were to become apathetic to everything, than I would be impenetrable.
But its impossible not to feel. At least its impossible for me. Because I still obsess. I obsess and I obsess. And I hurt. Not for the things that used to consume me. But for the things that I have found to truly matter to me. And it makes this hurt so much more intense. Because I know its real.
It’s a good thing. And a bad thing. I need to learn how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way. I need to stop going to extremes. Because there is really no good end to this.
When sadness overwhelms you like a thick cloud that looms over you and follows you wherever you go so that you can literally feel your heart break apart and you remember everything that has ever hurt you or made you cry or torn you down and it crushes you and takes over your mind so that you can’t remember why you were ever happy or what it feels like to not be sad and your whole body cries and you try and try to make it stop to turn it around but its so hard and you’re so tired from fighting all the goddam time struggling to keep your head above water but never quite long enough to enjoy the view and you just want the world to stop moving for just a second so you can take a break but you know that life doesn’t work that way.
When hurt and pain approach us, our first instinct is to avoid it, to shove it somewhere deep and hidden where it can’t bother us. No one wants to feel these negative emotions, but they are such an important part of the experience of living.
I believe that those who experience the strongest emotions lead the fullest lives. Consider Van Gogh, Beethoven, Virginia Woolf, who accomplished so much not in spite of, but because of the pain that they experienced. I’m not saying that I envy that lifestyle nor that one ought to lead a life of negativity; however, there is a reason that emotions like these exist. Painful emotions help us explore parts of ourselves and to feel things more deeply than ever before. And when it is all over, we can experience and appreciate our positive emotions with the same ferocity.
One of my favorite articulations of this idea stems from a scene in Louie, a slightly dark comedy through which I have actually learned some fairly deep life lessons. After Louis’ love interest moves away, he is in a world of pain. His insightful neighbor remarks: “This is the good part. This is what you’ve been digging for this entire time. The bad part is when you don’t care about her. When you don’t care about anything. The bad part is coming so enjoy the heartbreak while you can.”
Don’t be afraid to embrace the pain. Don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t strong enough to block it out. Love yourself because you’re strong enough to take it in.
If we didn’t have memories, it would be so much easier to let go, to live in the moment, to move on with life. But memories are there for a reason. They shape the person that we become. Unfortunately, life is a cycle of ups and downs. You can’t have sunshine without a little rain.
Memories make it hard to be satisfied with yourself. They remind you of that time you were happy. They make you look backwards when you’ve been struggling to move forward, filling your mind with what ifs and dreams of something that could have been. You struggle to recreate rather than innovate.
I’m done looking back. I’m done mourning the past and living in discontent. I’ve learned that I’m never going to see the light if I’m hiding in the dark. Even though sometimes the darkness feels safer. There, disappointment is expected, nothing can hurt more than it already does. The light is a much scarier place, but its rewards are so much greater.
Lately, I have been starting to venture out into the light. And sometimes I’ve been burned by it. I’ve still had days that I wanted to spend crying under my covers and days that I just wanted to give up. But I’ve also been happier than I have been in a while. And every time I feel the urge to crawl back into the dark, I remind myself that there are other options.
I have to mention that this hasn’t been a solo journey. I have to thank those that have stuck with me, held my hand, inspired me with their own resilience, helped me to find the light. Thank you.