I’m writing this while listening to Adele’s new single, “Hello”.
She says it’s about the journey with herself, her family, her friends, and her romantic relationships; it’s about the myriad of ties and breaks which happen in deep love and growth; they are the cuts that happen when we change; the stretch that pushes from training wheels, to wobbling down the street; from scraped knees to bloody shins; and maybe (eventually) to riding freely.
The last two months I’ve heard too many stories, and experienced myself, the pulled roots and exposed pain of severed relationships. But let's cut to the chase.
No one will ever be enough for you.
Let me say that again: no one will EVER be enough.
So when you build the skyscrapers or forest trees that make up the city of “You”, what will you build on? A person? A group’s idea of you? A success you want to hold to? Your family’s acceptance of you?
As beautiful and necessary and life-giving as human love is, it is human. And speaking for myself, I (as a human) mess up quite often. I say things I don’t mean; I don’t say anything; I yell or whisper too loud or quietly; I do things and say things I regret; I don't do and don't say things that I regret not doing or saying.
Your love will fail. So will mine.
So what is the balance of holding tightly to hope and humanity and love for one another, without killing (or strangling) the things you want to hold indefinitely?
Maybe it’s a release of pride; maybe it’s a hold to faith in the “good” and open hands in the “bad”; maybe it’s a balance of communal love and individual (self-care) investment. Because ultimately, no one can journey into your darkest dreams, or into those corners of your mind that you wish didn’t draw you in; no one person can heal the record that keeps repeating the worst of whispers into your soul.
Maybe learning to love and grow well (and freely), means fighting your natural habits. Maybe it means taking a step back, or leaning in; maybe it means being uncomfortable, for the sake of learning what you need; or doing something “out of your norm” or past habits, to see if you grow.
(Ex: I have a habit of holding too tightly. Currently, I'm trying--with clenched teeth and fists and everything I am shaking and releasing--to let go completely.)
And I don’t know what this looks like. But I know that I see a lot of pain around me. And I know it’s not true: these aren't our truest selves; these aren't our truest actions; these aren't our best moments.
I know none of this is right.
Because I know that each of you deserves to be held and regarded and forever-loved. I know that you don’t deserve to be thrown off the ferris wheel, or left in the alley sobbing (even if, as Kanye says, it makes us "stronger").
I know that this imperfect world and deep pain leaves you (us) with a basic need:
You have to make peace with yourself. Because people hurt each other (whether intentionally or not); in sickness, in death, in goodbye’s unplanned or hello’s too brief. We hurt each other.
And I don’t know what any of this means.
But I know there’s more than where we are now. I know that this is not where our existence derives from. Now, we are crouching in caves too dark and low to accommodate our free-running hopes and love and dreams; then, we will stand in the warmth of a quiet, peaceful day; then, we will stretch our arms and breathe deeply without the rush of anything except rest and peace; then, we will grab each other's hands and find reconciliation, resurrection, and redemption.
And like I said: I don’t know what any of this means. But I know this cave isn’t reality.
So grab my hand, and let’s make our way out.
Because I’m tired of making myself small; I’m tired of acting like my hope is a disease; like my love is a burden; like my natural inclination to hold the world is also my highest form of stupidity—because none of that is true. And while love is a burden and hope is infectious, as my soul sister and dear friend said; “I feel like we have to allow ourselves to feel that deeply, to allow the relationship to be good and meaningful”.
So: You are not weak for feeling. You are not weak for hoping. You are not senseless for expecting goodness. In fact, you are among the bravest souls in this world. Because there must ALWAYS be a place for these matches of hope to be lit—even if the hooded men and women of our pasts keep trying to blow them out (as soon as we light them).
But keep lighting; keep holding to hope and keep your match lit—even if lighting it is a daily practice.
Because this cave isn’t reality. This place isn’t void of life. These people aren’t evil. And I’m tired of making myself small. I’m tired of crouching within the confines of my fears and myself. Aren’t you?
This cave isn’t reality.
This cave isn’t reality.
This cave isn’t reality.
And you are a child of the [freaking] Lord. You are a child--OF THE LORD. (I had to repeat this to myself, over and over and over, as I walked down the street last night. This is what gives me worth; foundation; hope; drive; bravery; and more worth.)
So stop crouching.
Do not give into the reality that others construct for you; and do not give into the reality you construct for yourself (with shadows and hesitancy and fear and defeat). Do not make yourself small.
Because there is no defeat when you make the decision (even in the smallest way), to say that, today--even if the world catastrophically falls and crumbles and morphs beyond recognition--you will stand. (However shaky or unsure it may be.)
This cave isn’t reality. So let’s stop allowing it to hinder the length, width, and span of our love and hopes.
This cave isn’t reality, and you are strong; and you were made for such a time as this; and you are ready to stand (however wobbly and shaky it may be).
Let’s find our way out now. Because this cave isn’t reality.
And I’m done crouching.
We are done crouching.
Let's make our way out now.