More than any of the years before, my 28th has taken my insides on a nonstop rollercoaster – a consistent peak and valley of emotion in sharp contrast to the relative steady river I’ve always known to be home. I’m learning more from valleys than I do from the peaks, as the story tends to go. I’m practicing breathing during the quieter moments, the breaks in the clouds, to take inventory of what is true and what is not true.
My lists for today looks like this.
Here’s what is true:
Hearts can hurt, and then they heal.
Chosen family is the greatest gift I have ever known.
Pain feels unmanageable in its full roar – because it is. It was never meant to be managed.
Sometimes, unintentionally, our trauma hurts the people that we love.
A heart that hurts is a receipt for the openness we offered. It doesn’t feel like it, but the extent to which we offered it to the world, to another perfectly imperfect human, is a souvenir of courage. It’s something to be proud of.
Relationships end in all sorts of different ways for all sorts of different reasons – some of them matter, some of them don’t. Capital L Love Does Not End.
Sometimes it is my turn to grab your hand and pull you back into the boat, and sometimes it is my turn to reach from the water and let you do the same.
Here’s what is not true:
That anything – pain, joy, car rides with the windows down, confusion, inexplicable peace, suffering, summer days, or stomach aches – lasts forever.
All of these tiny pieces in a life are anything less than a miracle, exactly as they’re supposed to be.
Life is easy and there is something wrong with us when we feel otherwise.
We are supposed to be happy all the damn time.
Your choices about where you choose to put your pain are a reflection of my character or my worthiness.
Not actually wanting AnotherFreakinGrowthOpportunity at all will stop it from coming.
We can fix the people we love simply because we want to.
Genuine connection is so rare that you or I, having experienced it before, will never find it again.
An outside stamp of approval makes you or I or our neighbor’s dog more worthy of love.
The Right Thing for you and the Right Thing for me are the same; I can predict what your Right Thing will look like five seconds from now.
Any pain, any love, any story is ever wasted.