“Sometimes we get sad about things and we don’t like to tell other people that we are sad about them. We like to keep it a secret. Or sometimes, we are sad but we really don’t know why we are sad, so we say we aren’t sad but we really are.”Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time (2003)
She has a high tolerance for pain. That’s what the doctors have said over the years. She likely got it from her father, who claimed to never have felt pain in his life. A seemingly useful trait, but one that can result in irreparable harm. She’ll push her breaking body to do more than it should, despite its undercover protestations and insistent calls for attention. She will not heed. She is a master of illusion (denial). She is not weak. Others have it much worse. She has much to be grateful for. She is not entitled to feel this way.
All is well.
Her high tolerance for pain has grown to also extend to emotional pain. An ostensibly beneficial trait, resulting in impressive feats of compartmentalization that have created an illusory norm. She is not weak. Others have it much worse. She has much to be grateful for. She is not entitled to feel this way.
All is well.
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1860)
“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”Haruki Murakami, Kafka On The Shore (2002)
But a reckoning always comes. There is always an end of the road, where high tolerance can leave a pile of destruction. An obstruction that cannot be denied or ignored. Or hidden.
All is well. But not really.
And that’s OK.
Often these reckonings are triggered by transitions. Life changes that force necessary — though unwanted and previously avoided — examination and introspection. Departures challenge tolerance and demand attention. Losing a friend. Leaving a job. Selling a home. Moving locked-away memories that must first be unpacked and finally processed, before being discarded or stored in a better place. Often these reckonings suck.
And that’s OK.
She is OK and doing well. She has learned to give herself permission. She realizes she can acknowledge how much she has to be grateful for — and how much more fortunate she is than many others — and still be allowed to feel what she feels. She realizes she can celebrate her happy life and still feel periods of pain and sadness. She knows wallowing in these feelings doesn’t serve her well, but giving herself permission to acknowledge, observe, and linger with them for a time is necessary for healing. She has learned to give herself permission to do what she needs to do for herself, without apology or comparison.
She is not weak. She is living an authentic life. All is as it should be.
All images are my own.
The Hot Goddess
If you enjoyed this please remember to Share, Like, Follow, Comment, Subscribe. (This is my “call to action” I’m supposed to include in every post. Thanks so much for your support!) ❤