Can my pain be a gift to others?

“In order to succeed as an artist we must have two well-developed functions: our artist and its trainer.” – Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way Everyday

there are often days, like today, when showing up to the page feels beyond difficult, toeing the line of impossible, maybe even cruel if i’m entertaining my most bratty, reluctant self.
(with enough emotional distress, i can make myself feel victimized by almost anything, even other people’s victimization.)

the truth of the matter is that i need the trainer, or the parent (as i often think of it) to remind me that this practice will alleviate suffering, not add to it.

everyday, i wake up with something to release to the page – some worry, anxiety, insecurity.

i believe i’ve always been a writer, even the many years of my life when i wrote very little. a writer who does not write is a dangerous thing. our need to release grows and grows, and without our preferred outlet, we become restless, even reckless (at least in my case).

i’ve been revisiting a familiar pattern that has been hard to engage with — seeking out men who are clearly emotionally unavailable and disinterested in the type of relationship i want.
the point where it becomes truly toxic is the moment i clearly see their limitations, their unwillingness, and yet i keep pushing.
i don’t know if this is because i think i can change them, or because i want to abuse myself.. i imagine some combination of the two.

it is a pattern i’ve lived out time and again in my 20s. and it doesn’t take long to spiral into intense feelings of loneliness, desperation, and insecurity.

i start telling myself stories of how crazy i am, how desperate i am, how pitiful of a person i am, how no one could be attracted me in such a state. i start feeding off the emotional drama, getting that odd high of self-induced pain.
i come back for more and more (and more) until i feel weak and delirious, willing myself to stop. or more accurately, becoming too exhausted to go on.

it’s hard to not detest myself for doing this, to not continue to feed the self-destructive monster with the awareness of what i’m doing. i honestly believe it is the grace of something both outside of me and within me that gives me the resolve to stop.

it is often the love of others that convinces me to love myself, because i understand the ways in which my own self-love (or lack thereof) influences my relationships. and because i don’t want to live in a world of cruelty, i recognize that cruelty towards self is often where it all begins.

breaking patterns of self-harm feels like its own version of breaking inter-generational trauma/curses. rising above the narratives offered to women as emotionally desperate creatures, especially in relation to men, is no easy feat. there are many stories i tell myself that have been given to me and to my ancestors for so long, they can be hard to see beyond.

the truth feels nestled in that deep crevice discovered after peeling back layer after layer of stories around my behavior.
and in that core is the reminder that i am human like the rest of us. that i crave connection, security, the feeling of being loved. that that does not make me desperate but human. that loneliness is an element of this lived experience, not an indication of me being broken.

when i remember my humanity is reflected in all of humanity, the ability to be self-compassionate and kind becomes much more accessible. because it’s no longer about me, but all of us. i am reminded that my suffering is the suffering of so many.

laying in bed last night, decompressing from the emotional spiral i’d fallen down, i contemplated all the people in the world experiencing loneliness at that exact same moment as me. and then i thought, heck, how many people just on my block are feeling lonely right now?

this perspective is incredibly helpful. it reminds me i am not actually alone, that my suffering connects me with so many. it urges me to open my heart in those moments when it so desperately wants to close.

it prompts me to not take someone’s inability to receive me as personal, to consider their own loneliness and suffering as well.

it’s truly humbling in the most generous way, creating space to grieve without the unnecessary layer of feeling broken, wrong, or bad.

it gives me permission to be human, which is all i can ever expect of myself.

it reminds me that feeling pain is not a burden or a punishment, but a reminder.

and so i move forward, practicing the question, “can my pain be a gift to others?”

may i remember that love is acceptance of every detail of my humanity. that strength is acceptance. that inter-connectedness is the truest collective nature. that my ancestors hold me even when i cannot hold myself.

happy monday. love y’all ❤ ❤ ❤

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