They say pain clears away space in the heart for joy and I am a witness to this process.
I followed my pain. I followed it down into that wild deep dark. Into caverns and labyrinths where I discovered hungry lil bats and screeching ghosts that haunted me. My hair stood on end and I had goosebumps and I saw no light at the end of endless tunnels. I lost track of time, I lost track of myself, I lost track of my pain and I had to find it again. I had to crawl around with my pain in circles in the dark until I learned to trust which direction I should go next. I went spelunking with my pain. I was an explorer, it’s in my DNA, it’s deep in my bones. I couldn’t get rid of it. Sometimes what I found was so cold I had to hug my pain to stay warm. Sometimes it was all that I had.
I was lost at sea with my pain. With those unchartered waters and those choppy waves and those ebbs and flows and those unforgiving storms and harsh undertows. There was no rescue boat coming, no lifejackets to wear. I had to float around with only my pain and let the oceans inside me swell up and rage until I found my inner compass and remembered who I was again. Until I felt my heart beating again. This was an adventure I didn’t sign up for, this was the threshold of a new dawn I never really bargained for.
I went excavating with my pain. Yeah, I really got my hands dirty this time. I didn’t have all the tools I thought I needed and I had to dig with my hands and my knuckles bled into the Earth. Until I learned to break ground that I thought was unbreakable. I let the towers around my achy-breaky heart crumble around me until I saw myself for the goldmine that I am. I watched it all disintegrate into pieces and I named each one. I watched how often they went by different names that all just mean fear.
I held hands with my pain. I followed it until there was nothing left to do but lay it down gently in a bed of roses. I followed it into a meadow and I crawled inside like a honeybee. I closed my weary eyes and when I woke up my pain was gone.
This is my promised land. Welcome.
They also say “follow your bliss” but fuck that, follow your pain instead.
photo by Alex Sorto
TO LIVE A JOYFUL LIFE IS A REVOLUTIONARY ACT.