there are moments

when I’m hit with a pang to write. I’m very out of practice in this space. This is me trying to practice, lol.

*aNyWaYs*, I’m reading a book called “An Altar in the World: a Geography of Faith” by Barbara Brown Taylor. (I highly recommend this book, however! please PLEASE for the love of God, do not purchase it from the main stuffer of Jeff Bezos’ pockets; please seek it from an additional book store.)

There’s a lot to take in. Brown offers a multitude of spiritual practice topics throughout the book, with detailed info of each intertwined with personal anecdotes, and, though it’s a *tad* bit dated (published in 2009), I’d recommend a critical reading of it, contextualizing it with a heightened consciousness & awareness of the time within which we live, to anyone.

But there’s a chapter I’m arriving on called “The Practice of Feeling Pain”.

I can feel my inner child cringe.

Cringe because this chapter was not a part of my middle school or high school years. Or early college years, for that matter.

I find myself mourning my younger self, who worked relentlessly to not be outwardly emotional. To be endlessly positive and cheerful. To please
and please
and please others.

To separate myself from My Self.

To be perfect. To strive for perfect. Unreachable.

Had someone told me years ago that pouring this pain into a cylinder and shoving it down like a French pressed pot of morning coffee was a form of high functioning anxiety, I wouldn’t have believed them.

I read:

“Plato once said that pain restores order to the soul. Rumi said that it lops off the branches of indifference. ‘The throbbing vein / will take you further / than any thinking.’ Whatever else it does, pain offers an experience of being human that is as elemental as birth, orgasm, love, and death.”

An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor, p. 172

Nobody told me that pain could be a tool Instead of a stinging, negative stimulus, like electric shocks that we’d trade anything to numb.

Nobody told me how important it would be to feel, to sit with the pain.

Nobody told me how brilliantly and tenderly it would crack me open to reveal the Real underneath.

Nobody told me that there’s a distinct difference between pain and suffering.

Nobody told me that embracing discomfort, embracing confrontation, engaging with hard questions and questionable truths were the key to opening a connected understanding.

Perhaps that’s something we have to learn ourselves. The swarm of jellyfish we have to swim through, not over.

The obstacle that is the way.

i don’t think you get it.

I don’t think you get it.
When, with justified unrest turned on “high” outside your windows, you turn to tell me in your driveway that you “feel bad for not doing anything”.
That you are scared of phone calls and sending emails. Could you hear it? How heavily those words fell, covertly cloaked & dripping with privilege?

I don’t think you get it.

I don’t think you get it, when your chosen words, buried in bias and blinded by whiteness, cut like knives even from 2 hours away. How your chosen words pulled out tears of anger out of a friend whose pure existence is light, strength, and love.

Have you felt second-hand pain like that? Feeling someone else’s heart snap in your own body?

I don’t think you get it. How hard it is for them to speak up amidst “just joking”s and “that’s not what we meant”s, and “sorry they feel that way”s.
How often they want to. How often it’s a calculation of risk.

How easy we fail, cowering back into “comfort”, falling back on fragility.

I don’t think you get it. How important it is to try. Over and over, in any way you can. Because if you don’t, you’ve sold your soul to the oppressor. Discomfort is not dangerous. It is the catalyst of growth.

I don’t think you get it. The kind of anger that is hot. Wet. Scared. Shaking. Crystal clear & razor sharp. The anger that is at-wit’s-end, torn between being too scared, and far too tired to even bother to surface.

I DON’T THINK YOU GET IT! Just how your failure, and my failure!
Are the very sick roots of the problem, and just how important it is to SEE someone– truly see someone– without calling the Tone Police.

I don’t think you get it.
But I hope to God
that soon you will.