By Caroline Hesby, TIWP Student
Whether we realize it or not, we spend our whole lives avoiding it. In small or big ways, we run from any pain that peeks into our lives. We’re just trying to survive.
But you can’t outrun it forever. When it does hit, it stings like a bee, it’s poison soaks into your blood, and if it’s really horrible it stays there to weigh you down for a while.
When this happens, what do we tend to do?
We keep running. We sprint, pretending like this agony isn’t gnawing at our bones, we try to shut it away, try to silence this monster who has settled inside of us. We ignore it, telling ourselves it has disappeared- but know deep inside that it’s claws continue to scrape away.
We’ll do anything to never have to look our demons in the eye.
But what if we did?
What if we took one, little peek?
What if we unhinged those doors we have shut our demons into, just to understand what they really are?
When we dive into the pits of despair that we so desperately want to hush into disappearance, we are met with boiling lava that burns us alive. We jump into a rosebush whose thorns tear at our skin. All that pain we thought we had suppressed so well, is staring back at us once again. Shying away from it has only made its venom stronger. And we break all over again.
But at least we are looking it in the face now. At least now we stand tall, open to its punishments. Now we identify all of its pieces that have eaten away at our soul. We stand bravely, staring down our demons, letting loose our pain. And slowly, sometimes unnoticeably, and even though it doesn’t feel like it, we begin to heal.
Yes, the flames of trauma, or heartbreak, or grievance still burn within us. Because nothing about it is easy- we still drown in the tsunamis of emotion, we still suffocate in the thick air of confusion- but at least we are moving forward.
Everyday from then on we look our demons in the eye, telling them, “I am not afraid of you.” They put up a good fight. But you put up a better one. Our broken heart continues to put itself back together. Now, we are holding our pain in our palms. Now, it is no longer a parasite in our minds.
Finally, we allow ourselves to feel. We allow our pain to punch us in the face, over and over, until it tires itself out. No matter how much we hate it, no matter how much we despise it for possessing our soul, we accept it. We don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. We recognize what has been thrown at us, and what we will do with it.
Once we stare into the blinding lights of our pain, we set ourselves free. Once we let our sufferings wash over us completely, leaving us dripping in anguish, we can begin to dry.
We must not procrastinate our pain. We cannot run from it forever. It will arrive, and only will it leave when we let ourselves release it. To be free of pain is to live through it, not dance around it. We must run through its wall of flames, even if we have to crawl, and wave it goodbye from the other side.
Eventually our heart will sing in revitalization, our lungs will joyfully find their rhythm once more. Flowers will grow from our fingertips and we will exhale a sigh of relief.
And now, we’re even stronger than before.