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Posts Tagged ‘pain’

Have you ever noticed how fake we are with each other most of the time?

I’m a waitress, and a lot of days I have to stand in front of my guests and lie to them. When I’m asked, “How are you?” I have to respond with “I’m good,” whether I actually am good or not. Sometimes the people asking are asking out of kindness and not curiosity, but for the people who might have actually been interested, I can’t respond with, “I’m in my menstrual cycle so my lady parts are in a type of civil war right now” or “I’ve been depressed because I’ve been missing my grandma a lot lately.” Once when I was being honest with a table of customers by telling them I was tired after having been there all day, my manager overheard me and told me I wasn’t supposed to say that.

Maybe some will claim that we are giving “too much information,” but sometimes I don’t have a filter, and if you’re going to ask me how I am, I will give you a short look into my private life because I don’t have anything to hide. Maybe some will claim that we aren’t honest because we aren’t given the time to really dig into our stories, so we just don’t say anything. But most of the time I’d rather hear someone say, “You know, I’m really not doing good, but I’d rather not go into it.” That is more honest than saying, “I’m okay.” Because at least by admitting you aren’t doing well, I can pray for you. Or on days I’m not doing well, I can be thankful that my struggles aren’t as bad as yours might have been that day I talked to you.

The way I see it is if you don’t want to hear the truth, don’t ask. Don’t ask me how I am if you don’t want to hear about how I had to borrow money from my mother because I couldn’t pay October’s rent. But at the same time, the culture I live in doesn’t want to hear a sob story. So I pretend everything is fine.

I pretend it doesn’t bother me that some of the people I thought I called friends don’t really seem to care whether I’m in their life or not.

Sometimes we talk to others about others behind their backs instead of talking to them directly. And then pretend to their faces that we weren’t just talking shit. But then who is all talking about us behind our backs?

I used to pretend it didn’t bother me that a guy I used to like didn’t care to spend time with me anymore. Now I’m dating someone who wishes he could see me more than he gets to.

We pretend we know what others are talking about even if we don’t.

We pretend to like certain people even if we don’t.

We pretend to like our jobs even if we don’t.

We pretend to know everything when most of the time we hardly know anything.

Where does it end? What would the world look like if everyone was honest? Would people be more or less offended than they are now? Would we be able to heal faster if we didn’t have anything to hide?

I don’t know about you, but I’m awfully tired of pretending. I can’t be a ray of sunshine every day. I hate lying about the little things. There is so much I feel like I need to learn before I can truly contribute to some of the bigger conversations out there. And I hate that I allow people dictate my emotions and my life sometimes. I’m not a confrontational person, but I’m a very emotional person, and I feel like I’m not allowed to show that side because it makes people feel uncomfortable.

But maybe we need to feel uncomfortable to be reminded about what kind of world we live in. It makes me sad that we have more fake conversations with each other than real ones.

Whether we like it or not, every single person on this planet is a mess in some way or another. So why do we hide? Why does it take us so long to be honest with each other?

[[Please Note: I’m aware a lot of us have close friends to go to to discuss the messy and painful things with, but sometimes we are even fake to those people. And I don’t think it undermines the fact that we are not acknowledging the amount of pain in the lives around us. If we could be open about our struggles, would that change things like bullying? The ignorance of others makes things worse for those who were already in pain.]]

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Life is a string of piñatas. Sometimes there’s candy, sometimes there’s mice, and sometimes there’s cow dung.

This past semester was one of the hardest semesters of my life, both mentally (class load) and emotionally. Past issues that I thought were healed were only scabbed over, and all of it bled into my eyes, my anger, and my self-esteem. I was crying about something at least every other week. I took on two writing classes with two literature classes, all of which involved their own amounts of reading and writing, while tacking on two other classes and an assistant editor position on my school’s literary journal. I felt like I was half-assing not only my homework, but my relationships with my friends. I pulled three all-nighters in a row because I wanted to be there for them.

But the truth is I can’t be there for everyone. I can’t make it to every party, every concert, every bonfire because I really like sleep. I fall more than I catch myself, I don’t give myself enough “me” time, and when my time of the month comes, I’m going to be a bitch because being a woman can be a pain in the ass.

There will never be enough time in a day. I may spend the rest of my life trying to figure out how to better prioritize the things I want to do with the things I need to do and still not find a good balance.

But this is not a pity party. I want to remind you that if you feel like the semester is never going to end, if you hate your job, if you are sick of putting on a smile to people you don’t even like, hang in there.

You will probably meet a lot of fake people in your life. You may find the people who know exactly what to say to get you to do something, you may drown in the bills that pack like dirt in your mailbox, you may find yourself crying at night because your day was just plain crappy. Don’t be fooled thinking the person you pass by in the hallway, the cashier taking your order, or the person surrounded by friends at the coffee shop are all flying high. Cute clothes and a smile are only a show sometimes. There are a lot of good liars in this world.

But if there is a down, there’s an up. I passed my classes, I had a memorable Christmas break, and I worked out my financial problems just in time to take on another round of classes. I can’t go shopping for a while, but I can pay for groceries. Sometimes you just need to pick yourself up enough to get through one more day.

But that’s life. No one skirts their way around all their problems. You can dodge some, but you can’t dodge everything. So if you need to cry, find the Kleenex box and fill the trash can. If you need to vent, grab someone you trust and spew away. Make a pot of coffee and finish that stupid project, take a walk so you don’t destroy public property, and find something that makes you laugh so that, for just a moment, you can remember what it’s like to be stress-free.

It’s going to suck sometimes. You’re going to want to go home when you can’t, but hang tight. You’re going to want to give up, but hold on. “There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.” 

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I was reading in 2 Corinthians today and I came across a verse that I feel like writing about. Please don’t let that scare you away. Maybe you’ll find it interesting.

2 Corinthians 5:6 says “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.”

Paul was just talking about how we are confident not in ourselves, but in God. No one can stand against God, so if He is on our side, no one can stop us.

Anyway, this verse hit me because for a moment I was confused. It seemed like it had been saying that we shouldn’t feel happy here. Now I have a different look on it.

This world is not our home. It is a waiting place until we reach our real home. Some will call theirs heaven, some will call theirs hell. We aren’t supposed to want to stay here. The more comfortable you are with the world and do what the world does, the farther you allow yourself to be away from God because this is not the world God wants for us. We allowed Satan to take over so we have allowed chaos to happen to us.

A friend once told me, “For those going to heaven, this is the closest to hell they’ll ever see. For those going to hell, this is the closest to heaven they’ll ever see.” God wants people who want to be with Him. He’d never force someone to be with Him, which is why there is Free Will. The absence of God is hell. It’s not that He wants to send people there; it’s that they wanted to be on their own, and you will find yourself falling into more and more holes when you don’t allow God into your life. There will always be a space that you can’t fill because it’s a space that belongs to God, since we are made from Him.

Everyone will have some sort of suffering or trial in their lives. Multiple. But your faith isn’t tested when your happy and living well. It is tested through trials to see how you handle situations when there are bumps in the road.

So find someone to spend your life with, make a family, find a job. . .but don’t think that this is the best it’ll ever be. I am not afraid to die because where I’m going will be better than this place can ever be. I hope you find the same hope as well. 

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Across the room from me, there are 36 pink, heart-shaped post-its pressed against the wall, though some curl at the edges like crippling flowers. These little notes are my room’s version of a photo album. For some people, pictures are some of the most important memories because they are able freeze a moment onto a sheet so they can relive it in their minds later.

Scribbled onto these post-its on the wall are quotes my roommates and I have said to each other that we’ve found humorous. This kind of memory is able to capture a personality. Whether it’s an opinion about something or someone, a whitty remark, a miscommunication or ignorance about something that makes us laugh is a way for us to remember each other and smile.

Memory can sometimes feel like a curse, but to remember things like your adventures into new places, your failures that became lessons, your loved ones whose bodies now shrink in boxes underneath marble nametags is a gift.

Memories become pillows and chocolate on the days you wish life wasn’t such a pain in the ass. Those moments in those pictures will never be lived again, or at least not in the same way; just as those moments on our post-its will never be relived except in our minds.

So when opportunities arise, take the chance to make some memories that you’ll want to remember. I’m almost 22, and already I have done and seen so much that it excites me to no end to think that this is only the beginning. Fear and worry are your enemies. They will do nothing for you, so don’t welcome them. Try new things, go to new places before you tire out and don’t have the energy to go anymore. Already I feel more tired than I felt even a year ago.

As addicting as Facebook is, it’s not going to do much for you. Of all the things you post on Pinterest, how many are you actually going to do/make/look at again? Trust me, I have these problems too. But remember how precious time is. Take your lazy day when you need it, follow the rules so you don’t get fired, but there is so much life in the trees just outside your door, and we have a tendency to use that time to sprawl on the couch and watch a second movie we’ve already seen. Even in your priorities, there’s life and excitement that you haven’t noticed. Never lose your sense of adventure, of wonder, of a love for life, for people, and for God. Let your mind be as free as that of a child.

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“Often we cleave to things because they possess heavy negative charges. Pain has strong arms.” –Patricia Hampl

Painful memories can be as aggressive as the wind.

I was best friends with a girl from Kindergarten till sixth grade. She was slowly pulling away like silly putty in the fifth grade, but I didn’t realize it till years later. One day after school on the bus, she handed me a note. A few words still stick clearly in my mind like gum on the bottom of a desk: “I don’t think we should be friends anymore.”

Though I have watched my sister lose many friends over big fights, I had never lost a friend straight out of the toaster like that, and haven’t since. 

Through Jr. High she built up a reputation as one of the cool kids, and by High School she was one of the most popular girls in the class, listed in the yearbook as “Most likely to become a gold digger” along with others of the sort. As I had watched her de-pants others in the hall and become a Witch with a capital “B,” I decided I didn’t need a friend who’s wardrobe took on a whole new meaning of  the word “easy.” Still, that note bothers me to this day.

I believe that our hardest critic is ourselves. Maybe that’s why we cling to pain. We usually settle for what we think we deserve, when in reality we probably deserve higher than we give ourselves credit for. But then we are hurt by those we glued to ourselves—maybe they get up and leave or die—and we cling to the pain because it is the only reminder we have left of them. Friends and family help us spew out excuses of “new beginnings” like a rip in a water hose, but once we are alone we admit the truth to ourselves. We wonder what we did wrong.

So if we can’t have love, we settle for pain. Feeling something is better than feeling nothing, because at least if we are in pain, we can punch a wall, we can soak our pillows, we can buckle over and wait for the cat claws in our stomachs to subside. Even if it is a little thing, we feel something.

Eventually everyone we care about and love will be gone. However, we know that we have to eventually expect that kind of loss. But the kind of pain that we don’t see coming, that can sometimes be the pain with the strongest arms. 

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I was flipping through facebook pictures of a classmate we lost 2 and a half years ago and couldn’t help thinking back to the last time I had seen her before she died, her funeral.

I remember the line of people at her wake that stretched out the church doors and down the gravel road. The sobs that grew like a coming car as new people stepped in front of her casket, needing to look away, yet not wanting to. 

Fresh notes tack onto her Facebook wall every now and then when a memory is sparked in the mind of a friend. Words of fun and laughter, always ending with an “I miss you.”

I didn’t know her well, and even I am trying to hold back tears. She was so loved by everyone. And that was because she loved everyone. She was only 20, but she affected more people around her than many ever do in a lifetime.

It made me think—when I die, what message am I leaving? Who would I be remembered as? Am I pointing people in the direction of love as much as I am in the direction of God? Will I be remembered as the optimistic one who was there for others, or the pessimistic one who complained?

As this world gets worse, I want to strive to be someone who gives people hope, makes people laugh, reminds them how much I care. I want to leave a legacy. Strive in your own life to leave behind the memory of someone who cared. 

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Stuff happens. Buildings fall. Sometimes those buildings have people in it. Sometimes one of those people is you.

But other buildings are bound to fall. And who better to steer people clear of the falling buildings than you who experienced the fall?

Sometimes things happen to us in life so that we can prepare someone else. I think God just knows you are strong enough to handle it. And what strength He must see.

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