Love is a powerful force in the universe. Love is not enough. Love has the ability to set you free.
We’re all dealt unknown hands in our lives. It’s how we approach and choose to play the game that get’s us through what we’re holding onto. I have already experienced the worst thing that could ever happen in my life. Loss. The death of a loved one. And going through that has proved that I can face anything. I can endeavor and survive absolutely anything that comes my way. I hold onto this, especially as I allow myself to become vulnerable.
I am constantly learning every single day. About life, about myself. Ignorance is truly bliss. Because even when you feel it in your fibers, and your gut knows something isn’t right, you’ll choose to ignore it just to feel that “high” you’re on. You choose to believe in the best, the good, the thing that brings you the most joy especially when you’ve experienced little of it. And then the bad thing happens, and you think “I knew better.”
I’ve always been a lover, I’ve always believed in love. Even in the times where I doubted it. Wondered if the kind of love I dreamt of existed. I recently experienced something magical, something I held onto deeply, and it filled my heart like nothing before. And I did sense a moment where things changed, where I knew it wasn’t going to end well. I ignored it, because I wanted to feel this bliss and because I knew there was so much beauty in what I had.
I don’t believe in “loving someone enough to let them go.” I just don’t. I think that’s justification for a person, so they can feel better about it. So they can tell themselves that they “cared.” I don’t doubt the love and affection given to me, I saw and felt it through actions. I also don’t think someone is awful or selfish for choosing to let go of something they no longer want or feel for. I encourage it. We’re all deserving of love and what we want in life, and shouldn’t settle. But I do believe in loving someone enough to FIGHT for them until you’re left with no choice but to let go. And maybe that’s naive, but I’ll hold onto it. That is how I love. I wouldn’t change that, don’t think I could change it if I wanted to. I’ve never been much of a fighter, but I’ll fight for love, without a doubt or hesitation.
Love is a losing game. From the moment you’re born, to the day you die. From your first love as a teenager, your best friend from childhood that you lost touch with in your twenties, to a marriage that ends in divorce, and more, and so much more. Love exists indefinitely, and loss is at every corner.
Love may not be the most powerful force in the universe. It may not be enough. I promise, love is worth it, and it does in fact, have the ability to set you free.
Your urn was as heavy as your chest felt when I placed my hand on your corpse lying in the casket. It was such a clear feeling I couldn’t forget. Tears were unstoppable. It was the first time I’d been with your entirety since. My heart twisted, and churned. It was like you were there, but in this bronze and gold, metal urn. I held you in my arms, cradled you, as if I were holding a newborn. Emotions of anger, sadness, and missing you swept over me.
The idea of keeping your urn in a home never appealed to me. Even when I’d had just a little of your ashes that I spread at Deception pass, it seemed so strange to keep those at home. But when I held your urn, it was different. I had felt a peacefulness in having you there. Somehow, it was the most bittersweet feeling; conflicting.
I made attempts to go through some of your things in the garage, just to feel surrounded by you. It was defeating, to say the least, but I found many childhood photos. I didn’t realize it, but I think you were my best friend growing up. Every photo, you were always by my side. Even when the photo was clearly meant to be me and someone else, you were there sneaking into the frame. When I was teenager, we fought constantly. I disliked you so much for all the trouble you’d get into. And then as adults, we’d barely begun. We grew up and I didn’t get enough life with you…
It’s only now, that I’m aware of how misunderstood you were. One of your dear friends once told me these exact words “He was misunderstood, but I understood him. And I will help you understand him too.” That weighs heavy on me. And maybe that’s why I so distinctively remember the heaviness.
I still bargain every now and again. Ten years of my life, for one more of yours. Any of my five senses for just another day with you, hell, take all my senses. A limb, for five minutes. Whatever variation is enough to give me a minute of your time. One hug. One time to say “I love you, thank you for being the best brother and unknowingly my best friend.”
While I’ve healed in some ways, and have found positivity where I can. I’ve lost myself in others. I’m fighting to find balance. Some look up and ask their deity for “strength.” While I still question my beliefs, I look up and ask you for strength, because I believe in YOU. That I have had no doubts in.
Maybe one of the most obliviously easy things we do.
Often times our first reaction. I have to actively work on trying to properly express how I’m feeling, but even then, it’s just for a moment.
It’s easy to disguise yourself behind social media. If we aren’t let in physically and mentally, we know what we see socially. The five posts about drinking with your gals, or the three Snaps with hashtags of happiness. But little does anyone actually know the thoughts and feelings a person experiences before or after those posts.
Maybe she’s at work, plugging away with smiles and professionalism while deep down her heart aches for her ill father. His cousin suddenly is diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and had emergency surgery only less than 24 hours ago. It could be that someone she’s madly in love with doesn’t give a damn that he just broke her heart. Maybe he’s at his grandfather’s bedside, trying to make the best of the last moments that he can with someone who shaped him to be the man that he is. It could be that she lost her brother five months ago, and disbelief lingers every day. The girl who’s openly fighting an eating disorder that so many don’t understand. The anxiety they might face and resorting to medication to calm themselves. The countless nights she’s lying awake crying, wanting nothing more than a little comfort, a little sleep.
Sadly discovering how to keep feelings compartmentalized is not something to be particularly proud of. Don’t you think a lady wants to confess to her entire social circle about the person she fell for? The strange relationship that made her feel her worst and yet the shoulder and the comfort she turned to in her most fearful days. Sometimes we know we’re making mistakes, so we hide the addiction of it.
The things that one doesn’t know, because seeing them “check in” on Facebook, and post smiling photos of drinking, shopping, and normalcy is enough to the public. It’s enough to believe we’re all just fine. But it takes every ounce of energy, every single fiber of strength to keep that up without falling apart.
We disguise ourselves to avoid pity, sympathy, or lectures. Maybe even resist by nature. We disguise ourselves for many reasons, but our very own. Every person deserves the benefit of the doubt. We deserve to want to be heard and understood. There are stories to be told, but we’re unaware of the right audience.
Still, the easiest thing to do, even unknowingly, but to instinctively protect oneself is to dance around in a disguise of happy tones, activity, and the face of social media. Somehow what we may find fake, that’s another person’s reality.
One year ago, I posted a blog about my first year being out of a long term relationship of almost 10 years. I’d explained the top three things I’d learned in 2015, and I thought I’d take this moment to do the same, except the top three things I’ve learned in addition this year.
First of all, the last three things from last year are still truer than ever. Love yourself, f*cking live, and accept the things you cannot control. The lessons I learn each year are to continue learning from and building from. They’re reminders. I can say I didn’t follow those as much as I’d hoped this year. I didn’t love myself enough, I didn’t live as fulfilled as I should have, and I sure as hell didn’t want to accept the things out of my control.
When my 10 year relationship ended, I have to admit I believed it was the worst thing. At the time, it was. It was the hardest thing I’d ever have to accept, admit, and follow through with. Like a lot of long-term relationships, I had my entire future planned out ahead of me with this person, and I’d never seen it any other way. It was scary as hell to leave the most comfortable and familiar thing in my life. It was scary to let go of something I LOVED. Fear and stepping out of comfort zones gets the best of us. Little did I know, this year, I’d face the absolute worst thing in my entire world. I’d face the most heart wrenching experience I’d ever have to go through.
I’d never known pain, fear, discomfort, sadness, heartache, loneliness until my brother passed away… actually passed away. It still stings saying that because it’s hard to believe on some days. I’ve grown bitter toward those whose “hardest thing” they’ve ever had to go through is less than a death, and it’s because I’m irrational most of the time, so forgive me. Grief is real, and anger is real. I can acknowledge others around me going through what they think is a tough time, but in my eyes, nothing can even compare to death, as prepared as you think you might be, this is the worst thing.
Somehow, the worst time in my life has cleared my head to see parts of myself I used to be, and parts of myself that I want to be again. It’s reminded me of how beautiful life really can be despite the death that is a part of it. Every single one of us struggles. But instead of sulking in “the worst thing in our lives”, can you take a minute to seriously look at what’s around you and what you have?
I promised you my top three lessons of 2016:
- Practice patience. You know we spend so much time getting frustrated about the things you can’t change. Like the massive line at the Walgreens, and you’re on the verge of missing your bus, so you’re angry at the cashiers. Do you need to be? Miss your bus, there will be another one. That person you work with who you think sent you a rude email… probably not. Stuck in traffic, and screaming at other cars or honking your horn, oh totally because that’s getting you to your destination faster. Be patient with strangers and every person you encounter. You don’t know their life, and they don’t know yours. You’d be surprised, patience can go a long way.
- Be kind, and truly, whole-heartedly kind. I’ve wondered sometimes if being too nice is worth it. You know how good guys claim that the good guys never win? Well I think that’s false. Being kind to others isn’t meant to get anything in return, it’s about doing something good because it makes you feel good. What do you want to remember in 20 years, that you were a f*cking d*ckhead to the guy on the bus, over what? Or that you stood up to let someone elderly sit down, or that you shared baked goods with a stranger, or bought a homeless person a hot sandwhich on a cold day? Do random acts of goodness.
- Find the positives. Life man… it sucks total a*s sometimes. People can be ripped away from you suddenly and you’re left trying to figure out how to put the pieces together, but seriously. I can bet you’ve got a lot going for you. There’s a positive in every single day, you can find it. Whether it’s the latte you had, the orchids someone bought for you, the best friend in your life, a job, family. Those are all the positives you have to appreciate. Have your bad days, that’s okay. But I challenge you, find a positive in every single day of your life. Especially on the bad days, find the positives. They’ll make you smile, and it’ll make your heart happy.
Obviously, never stop loving and telling others you love them. Your brother might annoy you for no reason at all, but don’t forget to hug him and tell him you love him until the next time that you see him… you’ll wish you had.
Learning to love,
Original: December 5th, 2016.
The last four months of our lives have been unfair. We’ve experienced what dramatically feels like the absolute, most horrendous and unrealistic feeling in the entire universe. It may as well be equivalent to death. Families and friends have had their worlds attacked suddenly. Like we went to war with ourselves and inevitably lost. Individuals we loved so dearly were ripped from our hearts and our arms. They were stolen…
No one in their sanity would have willingly given them up. And yet the lives given and lived were so quickly lost to a simple unknown. Not knowing how much is too much. Not knowing what our body is actually consuming or intaking. Not knowing our right mind from the wrong one, and allowing temptation and addiction to overpower us. Not knowing the next hour our heart would flatline silently, and our brains departed from destination. Not knowing tomorrow, in reality would not arrive. Not knowing all of what would be our ‘lasts.’ The memorable unknown true impact they’d leave on us.
For every person who doesn’t understand. For all the trigger words and language you all use.
For the bastards who sell and distribute. For the jokes and the giant social gatherings that cause me undoubted anxiety before it even begins. For the damn sleep medicine I’ve learned to rely on. For being told what I need or what I should do. For attempting to let my guard down and ask for what I need. For being told how to act or treat others. For being a f*cking sponge! For ‘mothering’ and putting all my problems aside for everyone else. For doing what I think I need. For the “pretend” happiness and appearance of doing well. For all of the common “I’m sorry for your loss.” and the “Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time.” And for the “They live on in your heart and memories.” For every frustrating, wise and cliche word muttered from your mouths. Thank you, truly, for now and in the future.
Because it is all of these little things that have made me realize I don’t have to be sorry for my behavior. I don’t have to be sorry for my decisions made irrationally, because irrational has boarded up, locked, and welded the door shut from rational ever making an appearance.