Today is a day filled with pain. For everyone. Pain is not prejudice or specialized in who it affects. It is, right now, at this moment, affecting everyone around you. Now, there are varying levels of pain and varying levels of acknowledgement of that pain. There are most certainly varying levels of acceptance, understanding, and dealing with that pain. But the truth is, right now, if we were all honest, we are all in pain.
Seven months ago, a series of events took place that have given me a completely new appreciation for pain. Historically, I had an incredibly high pain tolerance, physically and mentally. But this series of events all hit within six weeks of each other and leveled me. Some of them I've discussed openly, others I'm still unraveling and understanding. Each event, in isolation, would've be a tough thing to sit with and own as my pain. The fast series of punches to the gut and the dismantling of things near and dear to me that I'd worked hard to build was more than I could handle, even with the high pain tolerance.
And so I started doing something I have always found to be incredibly hard: I let people in and I was honest. I told people that I didn't have the strength to deal with the pain I was in on my own. I had crossed the pain threshold that put me in a place I was unfamiliar with, a place I couldn't hustle my way out of or sweet talk away. A place that, unlike other moments of pain, was going to be my place for awhile. It wasn't going away anytime soon.
And when I realized that, and started to be honest with people that asked, something happened that I wasn't prepared for. People stepped in and said, "I've got you." And in a lot of cases, not the people that I would have expected. Previous acquaintances have become amazing friends. Previous strangers have become best friends.
My pain became their pain and their previous pains have become my roadmap and encouragement to own my right now, to sit with the pain a little more honestly and embrace it for what it is: mine.
Here is my truth right now: I will never be free from pain. Ever. It is not something that I can prevent and it is not something I will ever avoid. Pain has been and will always be a part of my life. And because that is true, I am learning what I can do for me, and eventually for others, to own that truth and deal with it head on.
Because even if next week's pain is more managable than this week's, it is still pain and it is still mine to own. Acknowledging that truth of pain's omnipresence for the rest of our lives allows us to not be surprised by it but to welcome it as a part of the journey, and in some cases see it as the searing catalyst, towards becoming who we are.