stretched tight, skin aching,
heart beating, loud and frantic.
Afraid if the slightest rip appears, the band will snap!
The page will tear, the fragile hold we have on life will be no more.
So many of the people I know, or know of, seem to be desperately holding on to what they have, blindly putting one foot in front of the other, simply so they can continue to exist. Certain that this sort of blind continuing is what is required in order to survive.
I have discovered recently that the problem with this blind moving forward is that one doesn’t seems to be able to remember that sharing our burdens with each other lessens them, eases the weight they place on our shoulders. When the world seems to be crushing you with its unceasing ability to push your head underwater while you desperately try to breathe, calling a friend is often the best way to catch your breath. Even if that friend is going to spend as much time telling you about their personal suffering as you spend telling them about yours.
Actually no, I would say especially if that friend is going to spend as much time telling you about their personal suffering as you will spend telling them about yours.
I have been swimming underwater without air for so long now that my chest hurts with an almost constant longing for breath. Yet, regardless of how much I know my friends and family love and support me, I can see how tautly they are stretched too. I shudder at the thought of further burdening them with whispers of my troubles. So when asked how I am, I say “fine.” I soldier on. I choose not to burden them with my troubles, which means I also don’t make much time for theirs.
But the other night Hatchet and I took our girls out for an evening date. We set them loose on the park and she and I talked. Really talked. We talked about how much life sucks. She shared her life suckage and I shared mine. Suddenly, there were bubbles of air in my dark, oppressive pool of life. They tickled up around me, caressing my face, arms, legs, like a natural spring sauna, bringing with them life and laughter, smiles and breath.
Three hours of being sad together. Three hours of walking in our muck and shit together and I was lighter.
She and I aren’t stupid people, so we did it again last night, and today, I am lighter yet again.
My life is more possible based on three hours a week of shared suffering than I ever imagined it could be.
So I offer up a challenge I suppose, make time for each other again. Break out of the routines you have locked yourself in, find that friend you have been convincing yourself you were saving from having to deal with your troubles. Call them up, share your burdens, and ask them to share theirs.
You will find yourself loosening up again, better able to breathe, simply by sharing in each other’s stories.
(Oh and Hatchet dear, this one is for you.)