“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
― Anne Frank
Contrary from the last cluster of articles I’ve posted…
I am not ALWAYS so existential, or “meta” analytical.
I made the comment to one of my closest friends about how I felt so glad I get to be “normal” with her. I can crack jokes about which fictional teenage boy character I look most like today. (I’m growing out a pixie cut right now. If you know you know) We can send funny videos and memes back and forth between each other and somehow communicate happiness and connection with very few words.
We can talk at any camera angle, and we can update and inform the other as much or little as we feel like and it’s ok.
We don’t even have to go in order and make it all make sense (like I attempt to do with my writing)
We can get interrupted by kids.
We can float ideas around like members at a writing table and say things in confidence because we know our “rough draft” mode is safe.
I LOVE THIS about my friends.
because the truth is:
I don’t always wax poetic, and I don’t always think so deeply.
It has only taken me 30+ years to learn how to play with my thoughts like a game of catch. I wont be attaching meaning to every single one of them. I will just watch my thoughts from the observation deck of my inside consciousness as they “do their thing” and laugh to myself at how obnoxiously active my brain always is.
This is ONE way I think I have an edge on the darkness.
I know to sit in the captains chair and watch the circus of my insides.
When I do this. I get to enjoy the reality show of entertainment that is: my present surface existence and inside status updates.
But Aubrey. You have a lot to be sad about.
Ok. I hear you. Let’s do this.
Why can so many people say uplifting things during/after hard times?
How can they be positive when they have experienced so much hardship?
TWO WORDS FOR TODAY:
Paradox: “a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.”
I sent a message to my therapist a year ago that sounded like this:
“WHY AM I FEELING ALL OF THE FEELINGS?!?!”
She essentially told me 👇this… but in more words. 👇
“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”
― Victor Frankl
Are you feeling very angry towards someone you love deeply?
Do you find that you are confused about clear instructions someone has given you?
Are you scared to do something, but also very excited?
THIS IS PARADOX. Or as I call it. “Human Calculus.”
Its double negatives with a positive that cancels stuff out. Its imaginary numbers changing the equation. Its angles and many more steps than “FOIL.” It’s so complicated that working the formula often takes ten times longer than the equation itself!
*I dont math so this may not have made sense* but that is the point.
If you find you are feeling many paradoxes… You are right. That is your body responding appropriately to what has happened to your reality.
Too much change, in short time frames can make our insides feel like we’ve dumped the contents of our containers all on the living room floor, and then thrown the containers out, leaving just piles of unorganized “CONTENT” on the floor.
It takes time, patience and sifting to let things settle, be put back in a container, and not be such a mess.
Modern social science from Psycologists like George Bonanno (of Yale) prove the majority of people can “come back” from incredibly traumatic circumstances.
This is where the second word comes to play.
Resilience: “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”
In her globally renowned poem “Still I Rise” Dr. Maya Angelou depicts the resilience of human spirit from the voice of the most marginalized in America. That of a black woman.
She repeats this phrase over and over and over again in the prose.
I find that to be one of the most profound parts of the message.
It shows me that I can rise EACH time that I am brought to the ground.
To be human is to be a walking paradox. We are these hairless, fleshy, mortal and physically weak things (in comparison to other animals predators) and yet, we can be remarkably strong minded and strong spirited.
I feel like I have just “not given up yet” some days… (and that’s my secret) other days- its the implementation of 31 things in tandem.
In the not giving up, I get more evidence of how much I can survive. This propels me to have more confidence when hard things surface again and again and again like they seem to do.
A few of these things I’ve written today mean A LOT to me.
Sitting at the seat of consciousness watching my insides do their jobs (brain to think, chemicals to react, hormones to surge, feelings to flow, fatigue and energy to ebb and flow) pulls me OUT of myself.
It allows me to “see” the big picture *but not in an existential kind of way*
I get perspective. I am reminded. “This isn’t going away today, but it will also not last forever. So…. NOW WHAT.”
I make A LOT of my choices on the “NOW WHAT”
Today I chose to quote two people who lived during the Holocaust on purpose. They represented the experiencing the now, power of perspective, straining for the light, and admitting the darkness all at the same time.
Poignantly and precisely.
Paradoxically and with incredible resilience.
I am not always sad. I am not always happy. I am not only sad. I am not only happy.
I do not always feel joy when I cuddle my kids, although many times I do. Sometimes I feel discomfort, impatience, and a need for personal space.
I am not always mushy, although that is one of my more comfortable states of being. Sometimes I want to verbally spar with my best friend until we are both crying from laughter at the “too soon” or “messed up” inside jokes we share safely and openly.
I think we’ve reached an upper level math version of “humaning” my friends. This isn’t 1+1= happy anymore.
I’m going to need breaks in between these long equations, moving variables, double negatives to just look around and enjoy something in my immediate existence. My “NOW.”
I hope you’re “living” while also problem solving.
I hope you can have levity and ALSO substance.
If I had to choose just ONE. I’d choose the “living” option.
P.s. Bonus Content. My favorite recanting of “Still I Rise”
CLICK THE LINK TO WATCH ❤️