We all have pain that we carry. Not the what-the-fuck-I-stubbed-my-toe-on-the-couch kind of pain, but the I-need-to-remind-myself-to-breathe kind of pain. Some of us tuck it into the soles of our shoes. Some of us fold it into tiny squares and pocket them. Sometimes it’s too much and we wear it as if it were our skin, all-encompassing and visible. There are a million reasons why we might feel pain. The loss of a spouse after 30 years of being together. The loss of a parent or child. Childhood trauma or neglect. Seeing the love of your life moving on without you. Sexual assault. The squandering of a good opportunity. Never being able to return to your homeland. Rejection from your community when you don’t fit neatly into a pre-determined mold. The list is innumerable.

We all deal with it differently, too. Some of us try to drink, exercise, work, fuck, laugh, hide the pain away. But it sometimes manages to bubble up, resurface when we least expect it. After one too many drinks. During a night of honest conversation with friends. As you’re halfway through a run. When you look around a crowded room and realize you’ve never felt lonelier. When you turn off the lights at night and feel the immediate stinging in your eye. When you meet someone with the same name as the person you once loved. When your friends have to constantly remind you of how amazing you are.

Today, I feel it deeply. Today’s pain manifested itself with a breakdown in the Barnes & Noble parking lot and a walk through the rain-sodden park in my nicest leather chanclas because it’s what made the most sense in the moment. Writing it away simply won’t do. There isn’t a single person that can convince me that we do not have past and future lives, for I feel their pain as well. This pain is multi-dimensional, cross-generational, and knows no bounds. It’s like being trapped in a spider’s web.

To have to feel this way is sad. But it’s also part of the healing process. It’s part of being human and the experience. I have been here before, it ain’t no thing. So if you see me and it doesn’t seem like me, know that I am hurting. Even if I look happy, know that I am still hurting cause that shit never goes away, not for me and not for you. Tell me I’m wrong. It’s just stored away, most likely in the tangles of my curls.

One of my favorite people summed it up best: “just gotta live, live right through it.”

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