Get it out, get it out, get it out…
I’m repeating it to myself as I drop off the kids, wander through Target, and put away my groceries at home.
Today I’m holding the pain of the world. The pain of my son, the pain of a nightmare, the pain of living with such blatant racism screaming in the headlines of the news.
I hold it all in my chest, literally.
It’s an ache that feels tight and travels directly down my arm. It’s the physical manifestation of the pain of it all.
I read something by an author who I usually love, reminding us that in order to heal we need to walk straight into that pain. I’m gonna have to question that one because I can tell you this- as a person who feels emotion so incredibly deep, that’s a pretty tall order. It’s an order I’m not sure we can all fulfill.
Dealing with pain in the best possible way seems to be the only way out. Last night after watching my youngest cry in front of his friends after not getting picked for something he’s not been picked for again and again, I walked in the door and poured a large glass of wine- not in the mood to walk straight into it at all. My chest and arm hurt. As I had watched it all go down my first instinct was to swoop in and get him out of there. But what would I be rescuing him from, his feelings? There is nothing wrong with feelings, that’s just being a person. And there’s a lot more just being a person ahead in life for him, and for me.
Also, he was willing to talk about it and willing to face even the idea of what will happen if he doesn’t get picked again.
“Stupid emotions,” he said. “They come to you when you really don’t want them.”
“You’re human, “ I replied. “It’s normal and it’s how it works. You did well.”
For him it was over. For me, I was gulping Merlot.
This wasn’t something I needed to work through with him or for him. This pain holding thing was about me.
Last night I dreamt that my brother had a horrible accident and while others were helping I was just standing there watching his face and absorbing all the pain. I woke up and felt nauseous. I can’t carry the pain from a dream, I’ve been peeling it off all day. I also wonder, why do I feel helpless and just stand there, absorbing his pain? How do you hold pain without holding on? It’s been a question I’ve had to walk with my entire life.
So today, I write.
I also accept that some of us are made this way and holding pain isn’t bad, its just hard. It’s hard to know how to do it well. Life is an exercise in learning how to be who we are without letting those overwhelming parts always be behind the wheel.
The pain holders of the world are important, we just need to remember to take care of ourselves too.