Saturday, May 2, 2015

Old Friends

Tonight, as most Friday nights, has been filled with the people and things that bring me great joy, and yet, I can't help but feel an oppressive and melancholy presence lingering over my heart. So, I'm going to ramble, and ramble, and ramble some more, as you do when your brain is leaking a thousand thoughts a minute in the wee hours of a Saturday morning...

My mind is gravitating to ideas and perception of pain and how we humans see it and view it. It's something most of us deal with on a daily basis to some degree or another. Heart break, chronic illness, a paper cut, death. Physical and emotional alike. And it makes me think about my own perception of pain. I feel pain every day. Physical pain from past injuries, joint problems, medical conditions, arthritis, general soreness from destroying my body to save my soul, as well as the emotional pain felt when coping with the burden of loses, mistakes, wrong-doings, regrets, betrayal, love. At times, I wonder if we only exist to feel the pain from the experience of living. I see so many people fighting against pain, taking pills to make their bodies hurt less, to make their hearts hurt less. Miracle cures, self-help aids, remedies, tricks and potions, all in the hopes of numbing or eliminating the pain.

I say, embrace it.
I say, don't you dare deprive yourself of experiencing your sadness, your fear, and yes, your pain.

I could not fathom an existence without pain. When I wake up in the morning, it's always there to greet me. An old friend. We've become very familiar because I do not fear him, I welcome him. I even thank him. Cause without that pain, I would not be who I am today. He reminds me of what I have sacrificed, what I have survived, and the pieces of myself I have given up to make room for him. He is ALWAYS there. Sometimes as a gentle whisper lingering in my ear. Other times as a symphony echoing through every corridor of my mind; but one way or another, there he is, reminding me of what has been and what can be. He reminds me that I am stronger than I ever really knew and that we are not meant to make it through this journey pure, clean, and unscathed. He reminds me to be kind, for I know he is with all those around me in one form or another; they might not have learned to accept him and tame him yet and I should be empathetic and sympathetic to their unknown plights. He reminds me to be gentle, for others may not have been hardened by him as I have and we should all tread gently on the hearts of strangers. Most of all he reminds me of what the future holds because over time with great joy also comes great sorrow and he has taught me to enjoy the beauty and wonders we are given because we are mortal. Everything in one sense or another has to expire eventually, when it does he will be there, to pick me up and remind me I've done this before and I have come out the other side, because the moment I allow him to overtake and completely consume me, will be the moment I cease to exist.

So I look him in the eyes I say hello. I acknowledge him, give him attention, make it known that I have not forgotten, a memorial to all the pieces of myself he has claimed, a morning ritual if you will, and I move on. He doesn't haunt me cause he knows I am not running from him. He is a demon who I have looked in the eyes and challenged head on. I haven't won, I don't know if I ever will, but I will gladly take a stalemate. We can walk hand in hand, take this journey together. My friend, my companion. I honestly am not sure I could exist without you. I owe you my life, my soul, my essence of humanity, myself. My beautiful friend. My mentor. My muse.

To feel pain is to feel alive. To feel pain is to remember you're alive. Sometimes we all need reminders we are mortals of flesh and bone and blood. We will die. We are creatures of frailty and resilience. Our minds capable of overcoming our bodies. Our memories of heartache and loss are our trophies because we would not appreciate, nay, we would not fully understand the absolute, unequivocal wonder of joy, happiness, and love without the inevitable reality of the pain and emptiness it causes when it's no longer there.

People tell me I am a happy person. A positive person. I like to think people aren't happy or sad people. People aren't good or bad people. People are just people; complex organisms of organic material and strange energy that can not be completely explained. We watch each other decay every single day. We feel driven to give our lives meaning and purpose and have constructed elaborate moral compasses to instill senses of right and wrong where there was once only instinct and primal natures. We have somehow figured out how to take control of our own evolution, raising our self-awareness to incredible heights, but still don't understand or fully grasp the vast spectrum of human emotions and what exactly drives us to do what we do. I have not the capacity to be a happy or sad person because I am both and neither and so much more. I like to think I'm well adjusted and have a decent understanding of my own humanity and what that means in the sense that I accept that I will probably never truly know. What I do know is that I will feel everything with everything I am. That when I feel it will start at my toes and reach up and out through the messy strands of my hair. I will feel it in the marrow of my bones, the cracks of my joints, the spaces in between my teeth. When it's gone my whole body will ache for it, long for it. Everything with in me will scream for it and beg for it. All I will be left with is the scar, the vacant space in my heart, the missing air from my lungs, the trauma of the human experience. And my old friend will be there. He will take my hand and say “look, look at what I have given you, remember this. Remember me. Remember what you had. Remember what you are. Never forget.” I will truly understand the magic and beauty of living, because I have opened my heart to what pain and fear have to teach me.

But that's just how I see it. On night's where I sometimes wish I could maybe, finally be truly alone he reminds me why I can't, but most importantly, why I wouldn't really want to anyway. And I smile, cause I have found peace with my demons and have learned how to coexist with my humanity. It is a happiness I welcome and one I have earned. A quiet, desolate joy.

Nights like this are made for tea and memories.

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