Monday, May 28, 2012

The Learning Curve

"i will never feel like other people.  any emotion i experience will always carry with it a pain from a previous experience in childhood, when i first experienced that emotion, at a time when i had no choice- and when emotions, intense or not, were by nature new and confusing.  there will always be a cutting, to-the-core physical feeling of emptiness and hopelessness for me when i experience painful adult emotions- which are inevitable in life.  the worst of these pains is caused by loss. it is the thing with which i am most familiar, and its blow does not lessen over time- it amplifies.  every time it happens, it gets sharper, not easier.  for me this emotion will always call to mind some gruesome brutality which hurts and shakes my very being.  it would be like the difference between experiencing your parents' divorce when you were eight years old versus when you were 48. at 48 you would have that experience with other, more affirming experiences under your belt- you have your own life at that point- and you know nothing's going to kill you and everything will be okay.  when you're eight, that's not the case- you are still missing pieces of yourself that tell you 'even though something bad just happened, everything's going to be okay.'  i have not lived long enough or positively enough to know that.  in a sad and horribly debilitating way, i am permanently eight.  except i have also become an adult, despite my best efforts.  i held myself in childhood for a very long time because i was waiting for it to happen, and it never did.  so i supposed at some point that i had to keep going or else i would die, and so i kept going.  and i am aware, now, that i must go on with life the way that all adults must.  but living within me is a little child who, while she is the thing that produces anything i make which is beautiful, hopeful, curious, and bright, is also the thing that feels very scared, very frightened, and very, very sad when things get lost."

I wrote this in college when I was 19 years oldOver the past five days my best friend, my sister, has moved across the country to New York; my best friend for forever has gotten married and moved to the other side of the country; my other best friend for forever is suffering from an illness that almost killed me around the time I wrote the passage above; and my very very best friend in the world- the one I love- cannot love me back right now.

There is one thing from my childhood that I never learned how to do, and that is trust.  Trust reaffirms that everything will be okay and that we can attach to imperfect people and we can enter into imperfect situations and we can grow with an awareness that no one will hurt us because we understand the universe is on our side as long as we are trying.

I have learned a lot about loss because I've had to.  And now I think I'd like to focus on trust.


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