Day 8: Pain and Tears #GIG2017

Despite calling myself an empath, I’m rarely to the point of full-on crying. But sometimes the best thing you can do in a situation is just let it all out. Just be safe if you’re doing so and driving: I don’t recommend that.

Last week, simply put, was rough. I could say that for any week this semester, but especially as classes start to wind down and everything seems to be due on the same day and require all of your attention, I have often felt like each professor has a hold on one of my limbs and is pulling me in opposite directions.

Not to mention last week when I pinched the sciatic nerve, something that with a Google search apparently doesn’t happen too often in young people, but I spent much of my week cringing to walk up any stairs and basically limping everywhere I went. Certainly the best time to remember that your body acts older than it rightfully should.

I could go on if I wanted to, pile on every burden and hardship and little inkling to complain about something going awry, but instead, I want to be grateful. Even if it’s not the automatic response to a tired body and mind, there has to be some silver lining here, some reason I’m putting myself through dire circumstances and still getting myself up and going each day.

I feel a lot of emotions, probably too many, but expressing those emotions in a healthy way doesn’t come easily to me. I want to package my feelings like a Christmas gift, sealed with a bow, all straightforward and manageable for myself and anybody else who comes across them. If I can write things out, that works better for me, but if I’m left to my own devices, I’ll just bottle everything up and keep chugging forward. That’s the easier way to go, right?

Sure, I have a high pain tolerance and take a lot of hardship before I crack. Sure, it seems better in the moment to not deal with the uncomfortable if you don’t have to. But what is there to learn from that? How do we grow as people if we refuse to acknowledge our own nature? Our own innate signals telling us to slow down and seek some refuge?

Too often I see people glamorizing apathy, to not feel anything and think you’re somehow thriving. Maybe you’re thriving as a robot, but certainly not as a human being. We need those challenges, those times when we are teetering on the edge and just need to scream or sob. We don’t want to burden others with our difficult emotions, especially when we don’t know how to properly address them ourselves, but that’s what our loved ones are for. True people who care about you want to feel wanted.

Since pain is a universal part of life, it seems odd that we, in our everyday lives, don’t talk about it more. Probably because it’s a “downer,” since who goes online or talks to other people just to hear how crappy things are and vent all our frustrations? Except the more we pretend the world is sunshine and daisies, the more we deprioritize our true feelings, degrade them, even condemn them from public view. It’s like how I feel about people who feel extremely uncomfortable talking about going to the bathroom: everybody does it? Why make it so taboo?

We shouldn’t feel less worthy or capable if are currently in pain. It doesn’t make us weak. It reminds us how wonderful it is to be alive, to be able to react to our surroundings and experience everything this world has to offer, the good and the not-so good. Pain forces us to slow down our minds, constantly abuzz with what to do next and continue an uber-productive schedule, and actually recognize how we’re feeling.

And by all means, cry. Don’t fall into the trap of swallowing back the waterworks because letting it free seems inconvenient, seems trivial. Your feelings are valid. And you have the right to express those however you see fit. Vulnerability can be the greatest strength we as humans possess, in becoming our truest selves and connecting with those who need it most.

I’m grateful for the hurt, the pain, the times when I couldn’t help but cry, because they were defining moments in my personal journey. They marked stepping stones along my path I needed to experience to get where I am. I’m grateful for the people who stood by me, proving how deserving they are of my continual love and appreciation for them in my life. I’m grateful for the times I chose to let my guard down, or others let their guard down in my presence, just because it felt like the right thing to do. And it was.

Pain feels like anything but a gift, unless gifts now come wrapped in thorns, but it can be so much more than the immediate discomfort. They are opportunities like any other emotion and experience we come across, and we should value them just the same.

Are you or someone you love in a time of pain right now? If so, show them your gratitude for their presence and role they play for you. Take care of them. Offer what you can.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

Author: Allie

A flower child passionate about faith, social justice, and love.

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