As I’m sure you’ve inferred by now (through my near incessant discussion of things in the past) I am not the person I was just a short time ago. A cliché of sorts, sure, but the only words I can find to adequately describe my situation, and believe me when I tell you I’m probably not emphasizing it enough. To understate it gently and vaguely: I struggled with things, and still do.
That’s the foot I try to put forth first: the one that carries the woman who knows what it means to have a heavy weight to bear. But as time has gone on, and as things have eased up and cooled down and smoothed out in my life, I realize I’ve almost lost touch with my old self, and consequently, with the part of me who is more attuned to that which is often still reality for many (most) people. So to keep grounded in that, and not let myself get too carried away with comfort, I write, sure, but I have conversations, and that’s what it’s really about. And it’s been through those conversations with known and unknown strangers that I’ve been able to put words to what I found that changed in me.
Often I’ll receive emails and long distance phone calls from people who want to share parts of their lives with me, usually requesting advice or a third-party perspective on how to handle something. I’m humbled that they’d let me contemplate their lives, flattered that they think I may be able to help. So many of their problems are small but seem large, others life-long issues that weigh with increasing heaviness as the years go on. Many of which I can relate to on some degree, all of which I am completely unqualified to offer console on (though I try my best).
And what I’ve noticed, from summing up people’s problems and lives so often, is that the things that hurt us most are usually simple. The answers are there always. We like to complicate them. It places that weight on someone or something else that isn’t the truth. But picking off the branches of excuses and side stories and assumptions and irrational convictions brings us no closer to the root.
It’s just about learning to be okay with not being okay all the time, settling into the human condition, making room for discomfort, and allowing yourself to be a person, as silly as that sounds. In fact, I have that written in chalk on the wall right next to where I’m sitting. Be a person.
That’s the simplicity of it– the root of that which most plagues us, but having to accept it is the grandest feat, one that takes lifetimes to perfect. But it’s possible. In fact, my entire transformation of self, deepening of mind and person, expanse of understanding, is that radically simple. I am learning to be okay with being a person, not a superhero, and I am trying to see other people from that vantage point as well. And I think that’s the only way you can learn to love other people, honestly.
Coming to terms with the fact that there are things that might never ease up, things we have, things we’re yet to find, things that will grow with time, is the real crux of it all. Accepting this, as simply and feasibly as we can, is difficult: it closes the avenues of possibility. Avenues that would allow us to run far down and away from the truth, into stories and excuses and blame.
Nobody really has the answers, you know. You may never know what your purpose is, but that doesn’t mean you’re not living it. You will lose most of the people in your life right now. Human nature is a bitch, but so are you for not realizing that the people you care about will be gone eventually. If you want to go, you should go. Let people’s silence be your answer. I believe that Know that letting go and moving on is one tiny gesture of distracting yourself with something better on a moment to moment basis. You’re not a damaged and malfunctioning person because you feel bad or doubt yourself or still love someone or have trouble understanding or changing. That just makes each of us a person. We have to stop getting tied up and bound down to the verticals we associate with what’s happening in our lives, the ways in which we can convince ourselves that we are more than just the summation of our parts. The things that seem insurmountable only ever do because we’ve convinced ourselves that they’re beyond that which we’re capable of accepting. The more radically simple and honest you are about that, the more radically and simply things fall into place. Not because they’re changing, because your idea of them is..!!