I have lived a million people’s tragedies, and I always seem to live it way better than they do.
I mean, we all have, right? We’ve read books and watched movies. We have heard, seen, read people’s stories. We hear stories about the many things that create a life, and unfortunately, much of that is tragedy. And there is this part of us that puts ourselves there every single time. That’s what good story telling does- it puts you there, and when you are there in that place, when you allow your imagination to let you stay there for just a minute or two, you handle things, and you probably do it a little differently than the original protagonist.
But you get to leave the story after a minute or two. Just remember that. Unlike the protagonist, you get to shut your mind off to that narrative, because that’s all it is, a narrative, and then you get to return to your reality, a place where you are not living a tragedy.
Humans, by nature, are an opinionated species. Probably the most opinionated species, second only to my cat, Loki.
We form opinions about everything, often on first impression. That is actually what a first impression is- an initial opinion. This quality is what makes us who we are. Every single little opinion forms our entire life.
I, for one have a lot of opinions, and in my darker hours, my opinions tend to bleed into someone else’s life. We hear stories, and we hear how something was handled, and our natural instinct is to write a quick narrative in our own head- themed “what if it were me,” and in a nanosecond we have rewritten the story in a way that we think puts us in their shoes, but actually makes us a hero, unrealistically so.
These quick narratives may be detailed or brief. You may ponder it for seconds or days. You may align similarly to the other person, or you may have a plan to do it a little differently. Every single opinion in these cases will be different- but one thing will always rein true. They will always prove to be completely and utter BS when paired with reality.
If, God forbid, you ever step into a time of pain, grief, and unbearable stress, I can guarantee you will never align completely with the person you planned to be.
We all live tragedies eventually. Some are big, some are small. Some seem completely unbearable until you bear it, and then later on in life face something even bigger.
I’ve lived this tragedy before- the caretaker, the wife, the person just trying to hold herself together while everything collapses around her- I’ve been there, done that. I’ve been there done that alongside the characters painted by William Faulkner, John Green, Garth Stein, and Lurlene McDaniel.
But let me tell you, I was way better at living this life, this tragedy, when it was not actually my life, my tragedy.
Now, inside of the tragedy, what I struggle with is not only the weight of the tragedy itself, but who I am inside of it, and how much I differ from the person I always thought I would be. What I struggle with is offering a little grace for myself. I once struggled offering this grace to others, to the people living a hard life in a way that just doesn’t seem perfect. But now that’s me- I’m the one living hard things and doing it with plenty of flaw and human error.
One day, that will be you. Maybe it has already been you. Maybe you already know all of this because you have seen yourself be less than the best person that you wanted to be.
But most likely, one day, this will be you. It’s scary, and unfortunate, and so easy to sit here with a clear mind and detail how you will handle A,B or C. But it will be you. And you will not live up to your own standards, because it is hard, and no one does.
I can’t tell you what to do. I can’t tell you to plan for it now, because that honestly defeats the purpose of this whole blog.
I can’t tell you to take up yoga or running. I can’t tell you to learn how to crochet or garden.
But I can advise that when that day comes, make sure to offer yourself just a little bit of grace.
Who knows, you may not live up to all your ideologies, but you may also end up impressing yourself in ways that you never imagined.