This is how you soften

It starts here. Every time it starts here: from an end.

Something closed, stopped, went away. Something died. It doesn’t matter what it is; it hurts.

For me, so many things died at once this year, most significantly you, when before this year, at 30 years old, not much in my life had died at all. A few family dogs, an acquaintance from high school, grandparents I didn’t know. But no one deep in my heart. You of all people know more than anyone how sheltered I was—you, the roof. As a grief virgin, it felt unfair; as if all the souls and all the galaxies were in cahoots behind my back that now was the time to collectively wither, go away, abandon—all so I could learn some great mystical lesson. All so I could be reborn. Sure, I get it. Spirit works that way: Rock-bottom is the best teacher; you can’t rise until you fall; obstacle is an invitation to bloom. But let’s not fool ourselves: before that lesson is learned and the growth grown, the withering hurts.

I fucking hurt.

But I can’t really say that out loud, can I? I haven’t. When people ask me, nonchalantly, months after you died and all that bullshit afterward transpired, what I’ve been up to, it’s all I want to say: I’ve been hurting.

But I don’t say that. It’s not nonchalant. It’s not strong and one twist I’ve learned through all this is that in the midst of your own tragedies, you’re expected to be strong for everyone else. So I say I’ve been really great, or pretty good, or, at my very most pitiful, hanging in there.

All of these things are lies; but they are the things that are acceptable to say. So I say them until they come true. Don’t we all? Everything is good, everything is great—look, I’ve even got an Instagram pic to prove it. Hashtag blessed.

Swarms of fakes we’ve become. More