this week has been emotional. i feel like i say that a lot these days. perhaps a more accurate statement would be that these weeks have been emotional. as in all of the weeks. from march tenth to right now. because it’s been an emotional time. in general. i have been through a lot lately. chronic pain, fatigue, isolation, medical treatments, the upset of my whole life and the changes that have happened to my body, mind and soul. it’s been emotional. and when i entered my therapy space today already tearful, i realized just how much i have been holding onto. i am sure there is a saying out there; one that kinda ties life to being an experience. and maybe that experience is meant to be filled with moments of adventure and successes but also stumbles and losses. maybe the experience is also meant to be filled with joy, new people, first times and even hardships. that’s kinda the wild part about the whole life experience thing. everyone has a different one. and when i look on mine from a whole perspective, not just these last few weeks or months. there has been a blend of all of those things. magical moments. joyful memories. pinches of loss and pain. new people. old people. love and messes. it’s been there. and it’s a good story to tell. but walking into therapy today, tearful and on the verge of losing it completely, i was reminded that what i am going through right now is also an experience. and it’s one that i don’t get to experience with others. it’s a scary, uncharted, immense, overwhelming, bubbling over and spilling everywhere kind of experience. ruining everything. and it hit me. like a ton of bricks. life isn’t just one experience. i mean, it is in the sense that ya only get one so you have to pack it full of all the things. but honestly, each thing we go through is part of that larger experience. and before this starts to get inception like, there just needs to be some recognition that this life experience is really hard. and while i didn’t cry on the day i was diagnosed with cancer, i have wept a lot since then. i sometimes have dreams where it was all a big misunderstanding and when i wake up and realize that this is my life experience right now, it literally guts me in half. the last few weeks have been emotional. my brain and my body and my heart are working on overdrive it feels. trying to understand this experience, making sure the right people are along for the ride, making sure to take care of myself. but honestly, the most important thing that anyone has said to me is that i need to make space for this. i need to allow myself the space to feel ugly, uncomfortable, disappointed, devastated and just absolutely over it. there has to be a space. dedicated to the unraveling of these threads. there has to be enough room for you to take the experience, unwrap it and find a place for it amongst the shelves.
i think a lot of what the world tells us to do is to shove this kinda stuff deep into our pockets; starve it. fail to give it any energy and maybe it’ll disappear. but that’s bull. and we all know it. the experiences. the ones we are given. they stack back to back. ya can’t just push them into the corners and keep it moving. and with experiences that require your undivided attention, like cancer for instance. it’s one of those that makes you quit your job for a little while and halt anything that has a future tense attached to it. this kinda experience. well it literally requires me giving it room every single day. sometimes that means crying at eight in the morning. sometimes it means wearing a headwrap to walk to the mailbox. sometimes it means saying ‘i can’t do this’ a thousand times as i double over in pain. making room for it. allowing yourself to be vulnerable. allowing space for the raw, honest, unfiltered experience to exist. and that’s what this is. fucking life. it’s just experiences. all tied together with string. sometimes we get to have really great things all nestled together, like babies and parties and weddings and new jobs. and other times, it’s garbage. like infectious diseases, pandemics and cancer. shaving your head and chemotherapy and taking a break from your job. and all of these things are important pieces. and to be able to experience them all in a way that’s real and authentic and bares it all; well that’s probably the most freeing part of it all. when i entered therapy already emotional, i knew my hour was already marked. i was practically spilling my guts into the empty air and wet tears were just drenching my golden girls tshirt and when i exited therapy still emotional, my therapist said to me- “thank you for using this space to be real”. woah. you’re thanking me for coming here and unleashing the trauma of my daily life. yup. she recognized the vulnerability and the pain and the raw, real, hard shit that i am facing every day but more than that, she recognized how i bottle it all up, sink it into my pocket until our appointment shows up in my calendar. it’s called making room for it. making space for the hard parts of life. making sure that even if it feels like it’s too much for you or for other people, it still exists. and it’s still important. and it’s still worth talking about.
make room. open a space on the shelf for whatever it is you’re going through. acknowledge it. work with it. give it some room. it won’t stay forever. i promise.