(submitted by timecubed)
The most painful things we experience relay back to the same idea. Loss. And it is just an idea. We don’t mourn what we lose, we mourn what part of us dies because we can’t see ourselves in the context of that thing anymore. We lose a job, a partner, control, sanity, love and we feel as though we are suddenly incapable because we’re always relying on something else to make us feel that way. We’re scared that we’ve lost yet another thing that confirms we aren’t failures, another person whose love could infuse us with just a little more hope. We’re distraught over the fact that there isn’t another someone there to love us even when we don’t. It’s rarely about the thing or person, it’s about us. Because we don’t want to exist unless we’re wanted.
We have people murdering each other and slowly killing themselves with every meal they purge and wrist they slit and slating themselves against others because they don’t agree with them and inflicting torture on each other and themselves because we’ve been convinced that the only way to attain ideal existence is to either tear ourselves down or beat ourselves up until we’re finally what we “should” be– no matter what it takes to get there. It’s not an issue of culture or of gender or of society anymore, those issues are all symptoms of the fact that it’s an issue of our humanity, and just how out of touch with it we are.
But we’re out of touch with it because getting there is a hurdle in which we won’t feel much support for trying to overcome. We don’t want to stop looking in the mirror and hating ourselves because the reward of shoving our fingers down our throats and making ourselves vomit is just too gratifying when we realize we’ve lost another pound. Because hating someone is easier than loving them despite what they’ve done. Because complaining is easier than changing and not risking things puts us in a false but convincing state of security. Because what the alternative to those things does is open us to the loss of what we know to be right and true and leaves us with the reality that we have to learn to love without condition. Standing face to face with the very thing we struggle most to accept. And so we attack that thing that threatened us. We attack it, we attack others, we attack ourselves, we’re like screaming children in fits of rage while a glaring parent gazes over and says “are you done yet?”
We don’t know how to feel beautiful until someone turns to us and says that we are. But what does it even matter anyway? We won’t believe them. We’re so skeptical that there’s anything worthy or beautiful about us that we believe people to be disingenuous even when their intentions are most pure. We don’t know how to love people outside of the context of what it means that we love them. And we don’t know what it means to live outside of what we acquire and accomplish. We measure ourselves in dollars and titles and pant sizes and notches in the belt of societal success when the true wonder is in the fact that we just are. We don’t know how to exist unless we’re wanted.
We think the only real failure is losing what we use to define ourselves, what we use to convince ourselves that we are allowed to feel happy and whole and worthy and alive. Because the mystery of our presence, our existence, is too large for our minds to understand sometimes.
So why do we care? If we know this, why do we go on squeezing ourselves into things that will make us pretty and lovable and wanted (literally and metaphorically?) Because we want to be wanted and we need to be loved. And it’s not about being hailed by nations for our beauty and wealth. It’s simple. It’s natural. It’s important. We can’t keep denying what is so innately true of us. That we need to be loved. And we should also love people not for what they are and what they do for us but because they just are. That’s where it begins.
We have to start recognizing love as a smile from a stranger on a day you’re feeling like there’s no hope left and a text on your birthday from your once secret lover because they remembered you somehow and being able to pay the bills or not and feed yourself or not but regardless know you’re trying and at the end of it all just being able to take a breath and feel happy for absolutely no reason at all. That’s what we have to start filling ourselves with while filtering out our desire to take the easy, destructive way out of being what we are. Human. Because when we know that’s all that’s left, we fear we’ll be left with nothing when people inevitably attack it. Little do we realize, that’s just the thing– the only thing– that is absolutely invincible.
From all the time I spend over-analyzing (an arbitrary act I can’t be the only one guilty of) I realize that I’m able to routinely trace all of my issues back to the same core problem: I don’t know how to be uncomfortable. I don’t know how to be able to feel the good things without being completely deterred from the experience by the inevitably bad. It’s something I have to outgrow because it’s certainly not something that is resolvable. It’s just… life. And I think we live in a world that’s all but curated that mindset for us.
I have the issue of seeing parts of my life as just precursors of time to facilitate getting to where I want to be next. And the sickening reality of that is, given enough of those days, your entire life becomes a waiting game. Now, I’ve been able to resolve a lot of that nagging, lingering need to escape, but of course, it creeps up on me now and again. So I can’t help but be interested in it.
Because it comes from the idea that there will be a happily ever after. You get through the pain and then you bask in having been healed and reconciled and changed and made once again whole and new. But there is no swift motion of starting in darkness and moving toward the light indefinitely. There’s a lot of in and out. There’s a lot of grey area. There are days you’re so far back you can’t believe you let yourself get there and then there are days you forget you were ever miserable to begin with. Getting stunted by this– being fearful of moving forward and more fearful of going back– is the only guaranteed way that it will ruin you.
Because it’s a succession of “nows” that will add up, lifting us from awareness of one experience to another, that will be all we have in the end. So what we see in the experience is what we have to appreciate before we’re lifted away from the monotonous routine, because the alternative is that we cease to exist. We’re done. And we let things pass because the discomfort made us feel like we were backtracking away from that “light” state we’re perpetually moving toward. We made a bad life out of a few bad experiences because we weren’t able to check off the list of things we had in our minds as prerequisites for feeling content, dare I even say… happy? But happiness isn’t a contrived mental process that you allow yourself in when things are thought to be right. It’s an experience, it is an emotion, and all you have is right now to experience it.
And I see such patterns of thinking facilitated largely by our society. Not only that there will be a happily ever after that we are all entitled to after we’ve suffered enough, but that joy is in planning for tomorrow. To be very, well, millennial about it; it’s like the Tumblr posts that are all images of what we want, hope for and are inspired by. And it’s lovely to look at those beautiful things and decide you want them. But how many of us actually get up and get them– even something as simple as a pretty coffee and book to read by a windowsill? Not many. We get up to complain about not having the lives we dream of and carry on, day after day, rinse and repeat.
Now is all we have, my friends. You have to choose now. You have to live in the heartbreaking reality that is what you see and perceive in this moment… the mess, the beautiful schisms that make for wars and love and peacemaking and harmony and change. The rawness of being so low some days that all you can muster up as your purpose is just to keep breathing– and then realize that’s all there is either way. Maybe it is about diving into the deep end and letting now be more than just enough. Realizing that things are only ever as boring and mundane as we let them be. That there are mysteries and experiences and fascinatingly foreign parts of life that we won’t see until we take a step out on the wild side, the side of us that isn’t concerned about tomorrow.