A shadow of life

You can be perfectly content in life; you can be blissfully happy. And then, the shadow of a pain rears its ugly head and hits with the devastation of a natural disaster.

It leaves in its wake a ruin of what stood before.

Some people hide their pain; they coat it in paint and don their masks. They don’t feel comfortable displaying it to the world or feel ashamed or unworthy of the feeling.

Others wear their pain with tentative pride. They don’t wipe away the tears that fall and show their vulnerability to complete strangers. Maybe they can’t stop themselves. Maybe they need the support.

There is never a right way to deal with a thing so intangible. It would be like trying to pin down the soul and stuff it in a cardboard box, ready to be taken out for use as and when it pleases. There is a reason that there are countless songs, poems and books all fuelled by it. Pain is one of the sharpest emotions, one of the most raw. It can tear apart the strongest of us or creep up on us at any moment – we are powerless in its approach.

I say all of this because I believe that in all its suffering, it is a beautiful thing. Like all beings, we crave learning; we crave the knowledge that can only come with years of living.

And pain is one of our greatest and cruellest teachers.

With one foul swoop it can knock you off your feet and you know instantly what love is because you have just lost it. You want to rip yourself apart and dig out the hard nugget of heartbreak and throw it away. But despite this, you hug that dark little gem closer to you. When truly broken, we cling to our pain for it is our reminder that we are alive. This, right now, is what living feels like.

So let yourself live. Let yourself sob over a novel. Give in to the raw cries of heartbreak. Surrender to the racking sobs that take your breath away and shake you up so hard that you’re left without a solid footing because it is LIFE that you’re feeling.

Life never promised us eternal beauty or a smooth ride. It offered us choice and love and adventure and maybe if we’re lucky, a happy ending.

But in the meantime it is good to be scared, it is good to hurt. Because then we know exactly how much we have to lose.

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