The Pain Shines Out My Eyes

Do you ever find yourself suddenly aware of how little you know yourself?
I don’t just mean taking the time to be introspective and self aware.
I mean this shocking realization, this dangling in mid-air feeling, where you don’t know how you’ve gotten this far in life being the person you’re supposed to be.

There is a moment where I feel outside my body, looking at a shell of a human who is only made up of little bits and pieces of memories. It’s a disconnected feeling. Disconnected from people. Disconnected from the life I’m living. Disconnected from my past to the point I don’t recognize the person attached to the memories of my childhood.
Simply disconnected.

It’s these startling moments of clarity where I feel like I’ve been suddenly dropped into someone else’s life.
I look at her and think, “Is this you? Is this the body you inhabit? Who’s life are you living?”

It’s happening more and more lately.

I can’t help but wonder if it’s because I feel like I’m doing all the wrong things. I’m adjusting and surviving in a world that demands I be tougher,  impeccable, and less of ME. It’s a world where you can not expect anything of a person, while they expect you to be everything.
I’ve shoved the person I wanted to be aside because she can’t exist.
There is no room in my world for hopelessly happy, for dreamers, for wistfulness.
This is life:
I adjust.
I survive.

The wanting.
The emptiness.
The hopelessness.
It all leads to a place I do not want to be again.

The striving.
The perfection around me.
The inevitable rejection of being cast aside for something better.
They lead to a place I don’t want to be again.

I go numb.

I go to bed at night with every thought and feeling of the day’s pain coursing through my body and mind and I chant “it doesn’t matter” until I’ve soothed myself into a restless stupor.

It does matter. It does matter. It does matter.

Whatever I’m feeling, that’s a hint that something isn’t right. But instead of acknowledging the pain and categorizing it and finding the true source I tell myself that I’m not right. I am the problem. I am not enough. And I have said that often enough that I believe it.

I was this person before and I don’t want to be her ever again.

But in a world that demands otherwise how can I stay soft and loving but at the same time put myself first? How do I do this without hardening my heart? I love. I love a lot. Not necessarily in a “strings attached, need commitment” kind of love, but in a “I love the complex intricacies of my fellow humans” kind of love. People fascinate me. And maybe herein lies the source of my disconnect. Society is disconnected. Do other people understand we can love just to love? It seems love has to mean something, it has to go somewhere, it has to mean promises, it has to be labeled,  and so love scares most people because it carries with it too many pressures. In an overstressed, overworked world we don’t have time for love because we think it’s going to demand even more from us.

And because most of the time I seem to be the only one okay with vulnerability I find myself secretly loving people simply for their unique presence in my life.

And so I fall in love just a little, oh a little bit
Every day with someone new  – Hozier

For awhile I’m content with all the one-sided love swirling around my life. It’s okay because I find happiness in loving people and listening to them. But there are times I am empty and I can no longer hide from the fact that I also want to be loved in the same way, to be noticed and loved and appreciated for the unique traits that make me who I am.

On a rare night when the world is still, the moonlight is soft, and I’m alone in my room with the wind softly blowing my curtains, I allow my eyes to reveal what I spend all day masking. The pain. Not in the form of tears, oh no, I have willed those away. But a release of the sadness I have hidden from the world, and even those closest to me. The pain shines out my eyes.

In these raw moments I can feel everything to the very depth of my core. I can feel every cell in my body as I curl into myself under the unbearable weight of the pain washing over me. I don’t hide from it. I can’t hide from it. Because as much as it hurts I want to feel it all. For in this moment of bitter clarity I am completely and entirely myself, in all its ugly and glorious misery.

The pain shines out my eyes.


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