The tragedy of our generation, or possibly many other generations before us, is that we weren’t equipped to deal with pain. I certainly wasn’t. In those rare cases when I actually acknowledged pain, whether physical or emotional, I have been instructed to find ways to silence it. I didn’t know there was any other way to handle it, but to:
“Take a pain killer!”
“Have a drink!”
“Just go out and have fun”
“Think of something nice”
These were a few pieces of advise handed down to me. I was always told to escape or kill my pain. Nobody ever told me that I should simply just live through it. Nobody said that I should just accept it.
There is a lot of hypocrisy involved in how we view our emotional states – as if some were superior to others. Whenever we come across a happy moment – it’s oughta be celebrated. We’re being told “Be present. Enjoy the moment. Sing at the top of your lungs!”. But when it comes to sadness or grief, the best piece of advice seems to be “try to think of something else”. As if this is not supposed to be happening in the first place. As if it is not actually happening. As if pain will cease to exist if you ignore it.
The reason behind it is that pain can seem unbearable not to the person experiencing it, but also, or possibly even more so, to those around. There is nothing worse than having to accept your weakness, your helplessness, your inability to change things, when you find yourself next to someone who suffers. You wanna reason about it, throw solutions, advises, do anything that could somehow guide the story through to a happy ending, ‘cuz the thought that there might not be a happy ending is impossible to accept.
So here, the hypocrisy at its peak – the moments of happiness are meant to be stretched to the ever-lasting, we’re meant to fully live the time when we’re enjoying ourselves without any concern for what’s gonna happen next. But when it comes to sadness – we are meant to get over it in a fast-forward. We don’t allow ourselves, but worst of all, our precious ones, to fully live in the moment of pain because it’s so hard to bear it.
I reason, I reason a lot. Throughout nearly 30 years of my existence, I have learned to reason so well that I kinda developed this ingenious mechanism of reasoning which to this day “helps” me convince myself that I don’t feel pain. I feel frustration, anger, hate in the worst case scenario, but it is near to impossible to get through to pain. When I do, though, those moments are blissful. It’s such a relief that, I found, it’s no different to experiencing joy. In my experience both of the emotional extremes – whether profound joy or sadness – are equally worthwhile. They are both valid emotions. You can’t have one without allowing the other. And though I would rather have none, for the peace of mind is the only desirable state I wish to live in, I now know that it is not something I control.
I’ve gotta admit, though I’m not really proud of it, that I have always looked down upon people who would burst into tears for the most inappropriate reasons. For being told off at work, for seeing a limping cat, for having a broken nail. At this stage in my life – I actually envy them. I will never be a person who could so carelessly show weakness, expose fragility, and, though in some ways, this quality has probably helped me achieve things in life that I could have otherwise never achieved, I’m only just learning to accept how badly it has harmed me.
Not being able to cry when it hurts is the one thing I would never wish to anyone. I’ve become a fraud not in the eyes of the other, but in the eyes of myself. I know there’s pain underneath many emotions I go through in life, but I can’t get through to the source of it. Which makes me rage at myself. The pain which I have repressed and hidden in the darkest corners of my soul, is finally chasing me. The only consolation that I have is that I now know how to handle it. So when it kicks in – I will be ready to accept it. I will celebrate it.