I have recently begun to spend time in my own pain.
This is not a natural thing for me. This is not a natural thing for most people, particularly those of my generation.
We live in a world where distractions are around every corner. We live in a world where we can meticulously link together hour after hour, task after task until we get into our bed at the end of the day and take our Tylenol pm to get us through the night, having nearly escaped a whole 24 hours of feeling anything.
We don’t want to feel.
This is a fundamental truth about our culture. We don’t want the things that hurt us to have any place in our life or emotions. We don’t want to face the things that hurt us because we don’t want to hurt. And the world around us makes this avoidance much too easy.
We’d rather watch a funny sitcom. We’d rather mow the lawn. We’d rather throw ourselves into a strenuous workout than feel emotion, than feel pain.
And because of this, because of the negative connotation that we have of pain, we eliminate emotion as a whole. We, as a generation, work vigorously to numb pain, numb emotion.
However, I have recently spent time with my pain because this part of me became too fast to outrun. I have spent time inside of my own emotions. I have explored these inner and painful parts of myself inside of these difficult hours around me, and I have found that I am more myself inside of these hours than I am in the time spent in adamant avoidance. I am more myself inside of the raw ache of pain than I am in the hours of being completely copacetic. I am more myself when I allow myself to feel the full force of the world around me.
Pain, emotions- they are meant to be felt.
This is not easy.
I am, inherently, an emotional being. I get it, we all are, but I think some of us tend to get an extra dosing of that. Some of us tend to feel emotions on a deeper level, one that pokes, and pries, and tortures in a way that demands to be acknowledged.
Some call us dramatic- others call us creatives.
My spirit is emotional. My spirit weeps in a way of words because my soul can be a truly tortured place. These blogs you read, these words that seem so honed and edited- they are the product of a messy mind that constantly seeks and weeps through all of the heavy matter that life is.
Artists are not just creative people. Artists are not just emotional people. They are people harassed by their own thoughts, and while on paper, or on stage, this looks beautiful, in reality, in the day to day, this can be exhausting.
I don’t say this to gain pity. I say this to really express the magnitude of a world set on numbing this part of us.
While this part of myself gets hard to manage at times, and while after 25 years I still haven’t completely grasped how to gear this part of me into a positive light, it is a very important part of my makeup. As hard as it is to be emotional, creative, tortured, I have found that the real damage occurs when I try to shut this down.
There have been chapters in my life where I outran the pain that followed. I outworked it, I outpaced it, I drove forward just enough to stay ahead, to stay busy enough to get away from it. I avoided quiet moments and sought out numbing tactics.
But the problem that occurs when we refuse to face our pain, is we tend to also escape ourselves. By ignoring our pain, we ignore the most human aspects of our soul, our story. When we run from our pain, when we numb the pain, we are numbing a beautiful and spiritual aspect of who we are, how we process, and how resilient we have the potential to be.
This is particularly prevalent in those who are wired in the ways that culture negatively dubs, “emotional.”
Beautiful girl, who cries in movies.
Beautiful girl, who feels deeply.
Beautiful girl, who has a soul that processes the depth of inner pain then creates beautiful things.
You are meant to feel that pain. You are meant to feel those emotions. You are meant to be human.
This is not your weakness. This is not your flaw. This is a vital part of who you are and what you are meant to be. Own that. Hone that.
Keep feeling. Keep creating. Keep being.
We live in a culture that is not conducive to emotion. We live in a world where pain is not something to be felt, but to be numbed, avoided.
Feel it anyways.
Face it anyways.
Beautiful girl, emotional girl, we need what you have to offer. We need what your pain can create.
Never be afraid to feel your own humanity.