Men + Myself + God

Tag: healing

Left…

by P. Braithwaite


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Is it just me, or does the world feel like a pressure cooker? Maybe it always has. Or maybe I’m old enough to feel tension crush my bones. We talk privilege and injustice. We trade binaries — sharp lines. We argue, repost, unfollow and overshare. We intellectualize heartache and scream across our newsfeeds. We love…we grieve…we yell at one another.

And I, disoriented, don’t know where to put my voice.

I still don’t know how to use my voice.

I’m still the 7 year old girl who reads in trees (though she might fall). I’m still so shy I want to hide when I enter rooms alone. I still cry when I think I’ve made a bad impression. I’m still the girl who wants a love so deep she’d suffocate to find it. I haven’t yet escaped my own self-loathing.

No one taught me I’m entitled to love the sound of my own voice…

-p

image credit: Bells Design

“Everyone should have a museum dedicated to the worst day of their life…”

by P. Braithwaite

 

 

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I came across Steve Kandell’s gut-wrenching article on BuzzFeed called The Worst Day of My Life is Now New York City’s Hottest Tourist Attraction. Yeah. He went there. It is a deeply personal account of his experience at the new 9-11 museum from the perspective of someone PERSONALLY affected by the tragedy (he lost his sister Shari). The entire post is worth checking out, but the following paragraph was like a punch in the stomach…

I think now of every war memorial I ever yawned through on a class trip, how someone else’s past horror was my vacant diversion and maybe I learned something but I didn’t feel anything. Everyone should have a museum dedicated to the worst day of their life and be forced to attend it with a bunch of tourists from Denmark. Annotated divorce papers blown up and mounted, interactive exhibits detailing how your mom’s last round of chemo didn’t take, souvenir T-shirts emblazoned with your best friend’s last words before the car crash. And you should have to see for yourself how little your pain matters to a family of five who need to get some food before the kids melt down. Or maybe worse, watch it be co-opted by people who want, for whatever reason, to feel that connection so acutely. <Read the rest of the article here>

In our effort to be connected, in our desire to share pain, let us have reverence for the struggle of others. Let our desire to hold space be routed in love rather than curiosity. Let us not make spectacles of other people’s pain. And, if we find ourselves sharing in collective grief, let us take time to feel rather than intellectualize. Let our grief bring us closer to the wisdom without words…the wisdom beyond the gift shop. Let us understand that our moment of public empathy, our seconds of national solidarity, are routed in very real moments that irrevocably change other people’s lives. We need to have reverence for the experiences of one another…

Most of all, whatever hardship you may be going through, may you breathe into the comfort that obscurity provides. May you be gentle with your own pain…and process it without the scrutiny of others.

And so it is.

Someone Else’s Karma

by P. Braithwaite

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I’d be lying if I said he was forgotten. Sometimes, when I least expect it, the air carries his scent: laughter, sadness, passion, love. Other times a new season of an old show will air, and I’ll remember how we sat tangled on my couch. Happily. Addicted. Oblivious. Drunk. Refusing to let me fast-forward commercials.

“Commercials are our chance to really talk.”

When it’s over, bad memories are comfort. They support your thesis – he’s an asshole; she’s a jerk. The happy memories are harder to swallow. They are an under-wire bra, sexy but constricting. You can’t wear them for long. They don’t support the present circumstances.

Forgive me; it’s 1 am and I’m nostalgic.

It’s seductive to imagine a forlorn ex-lover writing you love poems with his own blood. Or its enticing to imagine a lover who never cared — a man who never loved. A person who has moved on and has forgotten you exist. Chances are, the truth is somewhere in-between.

You never know someone else’s karma.

You never know where a person’s path may lead them, and you never know when or why they may think of you. Life has a way of moving us forward. Nature only supports growth. Memories soften around the edges and fade into our present. We don’t linger. We move forward. We heal.

But that doesn’t mean love wasn’t there.

We never know another person’s karma.

The sad truth of life is that we can never know, unequivocally, the level of love or devotion that existed within another. We can only trust in our own perceptions of the past – the love was real, the moment magic, and the ending…for the best.

The ending is almost always for the best…

But you never know another person’s karma.

You can only nourish and cultivate your own.

And so it is.