To reach the state most people call ‘normality’; first I must suffer.
But am I unique in my suffering?
At times I have felt this way, healthy bodies begin to glitter like enviable treasures – each one with a value yet to be grasped
But, all one has to do is read the news, walk down the street, pick up a book – to see suffering is universal,
It defines the human experience – plainly unbiased in its victims
Perhaps your suffering is mourning the loss of a lover, who left you for another, in a Sunday evening bathtub, suffused with wine and tears.
Maybe it takes the shape of an empty bed lacking the imprint of where a partner once lay, loneliness like a plate of something mundane, in a rundown roadside café.
Or it’s an insatiable desire, a wish to walk the earth in any other body but your own, replete with hatred, a sickly disdain for the only vessel in which you’ll ever reside, you squeeze the imaginary ‘too-muchness’, you wish yourself away.
I suffer, but do I suffer like the poverty-stricken mother on a tired street corner, desperate for something to eat?
Do I suffer like the child ripped from immigrant parents at the abstract line between two imagined countries, betrayed by the land that promised so much?
Do I suffer like the young woman with hopes so big they spill from her arms, arms that ache to cradle, clumps of blood staining bed sheets crimson in the early hours of dawn, a howling that penetrates through brittle walls?
We all ache to our own degree.
My suffering is an unearthing, a lesson, a reshaping, a yielding.
A call to surrender to this life – to this moment – to this body, riddled with a disease that has afflicted my ancestry,
To succumb to sanitised hospital beds, to the shedding strands of hair that will soon fall, a third time over. To nausea that accompanies each chemical drip, snaking into my body through wiry plastic tubes.
To surrender to this holy paradox, the ambiguity of knowing the very thing that hurts me also heals me.
Perhaps, I am healing the pain of my past generations by leaping into the fire and acceding to the flames, to the sensation of losing oneself over and over again.
Yet, returning stronger.
I am ancient rock forged into iron under excruciating heat.
But I refuse to let my heart grow hard,
To allow the world and it’s suffering to steal my childlike wonder.
I see love everywhere – in the way we carry on – despite these stinging hearts, these empty beds, these salty bathtubs, and dirty sheets.
Everywhere I look I see light, expressions of beauty unfurling from nature’s palm.
The elm trees that line the streets of Barcelona, that shade our temporary balcony as I sit, 9pm, humid summer evening, discussing the Tao with my father.
Accept what is; accept your story, fully, wholeheartedly –
And maybe, you will come to see that your suffering was worth it.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful writing from an honest and open soul. Was truly lovely to briefly meet you earlier today face to face. And whilst I didn’t do as I’m told and chose prose and not stories first (maybe like the impulse to walk on the grass when you see a sign telling you not to) I was glad to have read this and it made me want to read more of your writings. You have a gift and you can’t let this languish, you have to use it!
Thank you so much for your kind words. It was a wonderful conversation today and so nice and refreshing to connect with someone warm and kind in a space that is normally the opposite. I hope your therapy sessions went well! Thank you for the encouragement with my writing and for the gift of your book. Take care 🙂 and maybe see you in the Macmillan lounge sometime soon!