Things have been off with a friend. For awhile.
Let’s be honest, it would be so much easier to just skirt around and sit on the sidelines; to paste on a fake smile and do everything in my power to disappear, to not take up space or time or energy because heaven forbid it hurts and I’m sick of hurting. And I’ve done that for a few weeks now. Trying to avoid conflict because I shouldn’t feel this way, because it’s irrational and illogical and there’s no great win in stirring it up, it will only be ugly and painful and may not end well. So just clench your teeth in a smile and bear it for just a little bit longer; you’re almost done, for crying out loud stop feeling.
Because something kept saying stop with the feeling.
But how many times have I said over my own life? I am glad that I can feel, it means I am alive.
And the dissonance between what I believe and what I was doing finally screeched loud enough and painfully enough for me to stop with the hiding and running and take the risk; knowing I’ll probably do it wrong and it was going to be painful and bloody but at least it’s real and not some fake imitation of life, of becoming a non-feeling robot solely focused on the finish line and negating everything that comes with life to the full.
Life to the full includes feeling. We belong in the arena.
And it was everything I dreaded; it was painful and ugly and bloody and hurt something awful, but it was real. And we survived. Stronger because of it; experts will tell you, muscle fibers actually need to be broken down to grow strong.
And I look back and think yeah, it was messy, and I could have done it better or differently but I did the best I could with what little courage I could muster… and I went into the arena. There is no effort without error and shortcoming. And maybe next time it won’t take so long, it won’t be so painful; the muscle memory of a successful rumble in the arena will point me in that direction sooner. Because in this journey, it’s not about winning. It’s not about winning. It’s about being present, and alive, and feeling… not running from, but into the arena.
Even when you only have a few days or a few weeks left. Even when everything in you screams and shouts like a toddler not wanting to go to the dentist. Success is showing up and feeling and being present and embracing the pain and joy that come with life to the full.