“Pain is alive in a broken heart
Past never does go away
We were born to love and we’re born to pay
The price for our mistakes
Grace, she comes with a heavy load
Memories they can’t be erased
Like a pill I swallow that makes me well
But leaves an awful taste”
I used to walk tall.
I’ve always had pretty poor posture. I would be hunched over in my chair and I slouched my shoulders when I walked. I never considered myself a terribly insecure person. No more than normal. It wasn’t until I was about 23 when I started to feel confident.
I think it was the sort of confidence you find when you’ve matured and had time to understand yourself and the things you’ve gone through in your life. It’s the kind of confidence that comes only with time and age… When you find things and spaces that work for you.. That build you up. Life finally feels like it’s sorting itself out after a period of instability after college. I started to stand taller.
For the first time in my life, I was getting frequent complements on my great posture. A lot of the younger girls in my life wanted to know how I learned to stand shoulders back and head held high. So much so in such a small period of time… it almost felt like living a lie. But I felt, generally, really good about my life: where I was, my social life, my future, my health, and my body. It was a confidence I could physically feel inside myself.
I don’t walk tall anymore.
My 2015 makes me understand Britney Spears’ 2007 on practically a spiritual level. It’s given way to 2 hashtags I frequently use: #placesIvecried and #toosadcantmove
You think your life is headed one way… and maybe it’s been headed one way for years. You’d like to think that your identity is much more than the sum of what you do. But let’s be real. If we’re lucky, we can go a really long time without having to really know that our identities are dependent on things and people. Our jobs, certain relationships, our social media platforms, our hobbies… We can go a long time without having to confront the fact that maybe we let these things determine our worth and value. We like to think we’re not that easy. It isn’t until they’re ripped out from under us that we find just how much power they had. It isn’t until they’re gone when we have to confront the fact that we are just as shallow and insecure as we feared.
Pain has a powerful way of distorting how you look at the world and your life. Not just in the emotional/spiritual/metaphorical sense. I feel like I actually cannot see in front of me. It’s almost like when you’re in the passenger seat of a car speeding down the highway… you look to your right trying to focus on any one thing: a tree, a building, or a sign. You try to fix your eyes on any one thing but you can’t.
I wish I felt more purpose in pain. I know I’m not some special case. Lots of people go through crap. A lot of people go through worse crap. I wish I felt more purpose in pain because I want to be able to tell someone else going through something that there’s a point in all the suffering.
People like to tell me there is. Sometimes, I think they’re speaking from experience. Sometimes, I think that’s what they need to tell themselves too. Other times, I think they said it just because they’re uncomfortable and that’s what you say to people in pain.
On my darker days, sometimes I think: maybe there is no point. Maybe you made a mistake. A bad call. And that’s all it is. A really shitty decision that leads to a really shitty time in your life. Sometimes, it feels to me when we say clichéd phrases such as, “we live and learn”, we’re shaving down the weight of our choices. Maybe we need to in order to live with the mistakes we make. To assign those decisions less responsibility and chalk it all up to some beyond-our-control circumstance. We need the platitudes to get by. Because how could we sleep knowing that we made such a bad call? One that changes you… changes your whole life?
Like I said, those are just my thoughts on my darker days.
As a person of faith, I’m reminded that God uses all things for our good.
I’d like to believe that painful experiences can make us better. That they don’t have to leave us bitter, cold, and hard. That they make us more compassionate. That we speak slower, softer, kinder. That they increase our capacity to take in the crap and dish out more of the good because there’s this ongoing storm of redemption in our lives.
If I can be honest, I really would’ve preferred living under the delusion that I was already these things.
Because I just feel tired. It’s been so long and it’s hard to feel like I have more fight in me when the suck and the sadness are just so damn unrelenting. It’s hard to feel like you can fight more when so many parts of your life feel like they’re falling apart at once and they all take turns hurting every damn day. I wasn’t prepared for the ways my life would change. To top it off, I wasn’t prepared for what would happen when I opened my heart up to someone who would end up crushing it into a thousand pieces and walk away without ever looking back. I wasn’t prepared for life to hurt in so many ways.
Of course, who is prepared for that?
But I guess I wasn’t prepared to become this self-centered.
It seems like the only reasonable response to life-pain is to become selfish, bitter, and cold. A lot of people don’t have the good fortune of being surrounded by so many good people. People who’ve scraped my off the floor so many times in the past months. You could say… that right there… that’s Grace. I’d say so too.
But I wish I wasn’t so self-centered. I want to say I wasn’t this selfish before. The Vicky I knew was interested in the lives of her friends. Most days, I can’t see past my own crap to have room for more. And on the good days, I’m just too focused on the prospect of a better day to stop and invest in my loved ones. And I know, these people are willing to love me, patiently, during the bad season. I just wish I could be better already for them. It’s not that I don’t want to accept their love and care. It’s hard to watch people you love and respect put so much time and effort into picking you up off the floor just to end up horizontal again.
Maybe there is a point to all the pain. Wouldn’t that be nice? That there’s a conclusion to it all that makes everything in the middle make total sense and allows you to move on. Maybe you’re better for it and you look back and you wouldn’t even change a thing.
Maybe what it takes to move on is time. Maybe there’s no point to the pain and you move on because you just learn to adapt to this version of you.
Maybe it takes forgiveness. Forgiving the people who hurt you and forgiving yourself for the choices you made.
We’re in November now. It’s my favorite time of the year and as we move towards the end of 2015, no matter how I try to think about it, the question that rolls around on my tongue is: what was the point of all of this?