I am a writer.
Self proclaimed, but still. I write. I write about everything: love, fear, hate, misunderstanding, euphoria, acceptance, grief and all that is in between. I write to make myself feel better. To help myself understand the actual size of the problem I’m facing. I’ve learned that even the biggest, scariest monsters have their demise. But what I don’t usually write about are the things I haven’t figured out. The bad things I’m still struggling to overcome. And I guess that’s what I’m going to attempt to tackle today. The bad things nobody wants to think about.
Bad things happen. They happen all day. every day. And the shitty part about bad things is that they feel like they are never going to end. They happen in a split second, but the repercussions last for hours. Days. Sometimes even years! Bad things don’t subtly occur, either. The real traumatic events in life do not arrive conveniently or with warning. There is no caution tape outlining the most horrific moment of your life. No annoying alarm like there is before a flash flood or amber alert. No “in case of emergency” pamphlet to consult.
You don’t wake up one day and feel yourself developing cancer. You just visit the doctor for a physical and in one fell swoop, you’re diagnosed. Boys don’t give you three strikes, counseling, the pass go and collect 200 dollars option. They say it in the span of 3 seconds: I’m just not happy anymore; and your life comes crashing down. In flames. Your boss doesn’t pull you aside and console you, you’re just fired. The car behind you gives no warning, it somehow suddenly just becomes crunched up into your trunk. And when these things happen, no matter how many times we’ve overcome horror before, we cannot see how we’re ever going to overcome them this time. We feel like we won’t ever be able to forget they happened. Or how they made us feel. And although that is untrue, it doesn’t feel that way, because the worst bad thing of all is that within these circumstances, we are alone.
We may not be physically alone. But listen, bad things don’t happen exactly the same way to any two people. Bad things happen to you. And for somebody like me, that’s the baddest thing of all. Not being able to provide any outside answers hurts. It’s hard to look at your friends, your family, the stranger across the hospital floor and know that any and every attempt you make is no good. Friendship is a weird concept. We need friends to help us through the hard times, but in the hardest of times there is usually nothing anybody can do to truly help. I can come over and preach about heartache and moving on until I’m blue in the face, but it means nothing until you’re ready to fix yourself. I could tell you that you’ll be OK. That one day you’ll find somebody who makes you happier than he ever did. That your car is in better shape now that it has been repaired. That your kitty is in a better place. But you already know that, you hear it all day long, and still it doesn’t help. You smile and nod and thank everybody for being by your side because you know that they’re doing the best that they can. But I’m here to tell you, unfortunately, there is nothing I can do. I’ve been where you are. Almost exactly the same place. I’ve lost a lover. Had my heart ripped right out, unexpectedly, while I was washing the dishes. I’ve wrecked my car. That bitch came out of nowhere. I’ve said goodbye to my pets. But I cannot tell you how I overcame those woes. Even now that I’m in love with somebody else, now that I have a new car, now that I have my own little kitty—the new things don’t take away the memory of the pain I felt when I was broken. You will be OK, I don’t want you to misunderstand the lesson here. You just won’t find the rescue raft in somebody else’s past. Nobody can shed light on the bad things you’re dealing with, except you. YOU have to be strong. YOU have to be your own best friend. YOU have to write, and cry, and hurt, and think, and overcome.
Bad things. They happen every single day. They happen over and over and over. It’s sad, but the old cliche is true: the bad things always happen to the good people. I think the only comfort you might find in all of this tragedy and fear is that fortunately, you are one of the good people instead of one of the bad things.
PS. Always remember what Eckhart Tolle said: The primary cause of unhappiness is not the situation, but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is.