I think a lot about accepting where you are and who you are is realizing that it doesn’t have to be okay. A lot of things and experiences that we all go through are not okay and it’s important to both recognize that and give it space to be felt.
We don’t live in a world where we are going to feel okay all of the time or even most of the time. We have a thousand little deaths every year of dreams that didn’t come true, love that didn’t materialize, or even a parking spot that got blocked off. The little bereavements all deserve recognition but they do not deserve our lives…
It’s good to see what hurts us, what makes us feel sad or angry. Understanding the depth of our emotional spectrum is important. It’s how we choose to move forward after that recognition that matters. We can Marie Kondo and thank our disappointments for teaching us, for showing us that we were capable of feeling the entire spectrum of emotion. But we also need to move forward.
So yes, I can be sad and mad and grieve for the life I thought I wanted. I could seethe in jealousy (and don’t get me wrong, the hurt and jealousy will still creep in). Or I can look at where I am, what I am capable of withstanding, what I am capable of doing, what OTHER dreams I have…
and maybe I can do more than I thought.
It’s hard to believe or even remember what I was feeling last March when I wrote “A Thousand Little Deaths.” My disappointment and sadness then felt authentic and sharp. Now it just feels like a thing that happened, dulled by time and change.
What strikes me now is how little I knew then about mass disappointment. We are a world in mourning now. Mourning both death and everything else. We each have a list of our own little deaths: birthdays that won’t be celebrated together, babies that will be born into this scary and scarier world, weddings that were weeks away are now postponed until…, relationships that were blooming before the world stopped and now are rotting away, for some the unrelenting togetherness that working from home and home school bring, for others the broken glass feeling of lonesomeness that never seems to end.
We are all mourning, we are all scared, we are all going through this.
When I was growing up whenever something would break, shattering glass all over the floor, my parents would team up, one grabbing a broom the other grabbing the shop vac, and both calmly telling us to move away so we wouldn’t step on pieces in our bare feet. They’d go over the floor again and again, checking for shards and making sure that we would be safe.
We’re all looking for the adult in the room to save us. We’re all realizing that there isn’t one.
Another little death.
I’m giving all of us permission to mourn every little death that we’re facing right now. Even if what you’re grieving doesn’t feel as big as someone else’s, you can take all of the time and the space you need to feel that loss and disappointment.
We’re all staring into the nightmare of uncertainty and every day feels both sped up and slowed down. All of our “normal” has been stripped away and even that is something to grieve.
Feel this. Allow yourself to be sad, to grieve, to cry until you can’t breathe. Feel the shards, prick your fingers on the brokenness of it all and watch the tiny drop of blood fall.
And then, yes, and then, when you feel alone, look around and see that you absolutely are not.
There is something beyond all of this, whether we’ll recognize our lives as our lives is yet to be seen but there is still something.
As my friends at Oxford Penant say: Together we will see it through.