I’ve shard a lot of stories from my life since starting this blog. Some can get a little dark and involve deep feelings of pain, anxiety, and trauma. When they’re written and when they’re read, they can feel like things that would paralyze a person going through them.
The thing is, though, I wasn’t paralyzed at the time. I couldn’t be. I had to live. Fear of becoming a parent, worry over my son’s Autism diagnosis, the early panic over his lack of speech, sudden losses of friends, and my precarious recovery from a quintuple bypass all happened to me as I was out and among the masses. I wasn’t locked in a box, left to overcome the concerns that haunted me. That wasn’t an option.
No, I had to live the same life that we all have to live. I still had to pay the electric company and deal with customer service representatives. The lines at the supermarket were just as long and my children were just as demanding for food as they’ve ever been. Other drivers still honked when I took too long to turn. Random people in random places still wanted to make small talk and know what I thought about “this crazy weather.” It didn’t matter where my mind was. My body was still in motion. I couldn’t cease to be. I still had to be. So I was.
These events weren’t the only ones that plagued me during my time on Earth and, although I present them like a laundry list of impending importance, they aren’t all that different than the ones you may have. They might not be the same. Yours might be harder in the eyes of some or easier in the eyes of others. But they are still difficult moments that came at you in real time. The world didn’t stop spinning and your schedule didn’t take a time out. For the most part, you were expected to keep going in the face of it. We all are.
We act like we’re conscious of this fact and, in many cases, we are. We say things like, “You never know what someone else is going through.” But do we truly remember that? Unless you witness someone having a full scale meltdown over their missing McNugget, you don’t usually remind yourself of that fact. Even then, there are people whipping out their phones to paste it online.
The truth is, we’re all dealing with stuff. Every traumatic story that you and I share happened at one time or another and, when it was happening, we were out there in the world. The darkest moments happen in our heads and behind closed doors in between our day-to-day routines. For some of us, those moments are happening right now.
You’re smiling at the mailman and tiptoeing through the tulips, but behind the scenes, Rome is burning down. You hold it together as best you can for those who might want to spark some sort of conversation or, worse, expect something important from you.
So you do it. You do the tasks at hand because you’re an adult. That’s what adults do.
I know that some of you reading this right now are going through one of those times in your life. You’re scrolling down this page while the people around you are going about business as usual. You are too, but your business dips below the visible surface. You’re here, but your thoughts are a million miles away. One day, you might be ready to talk about what that is. But that day is not today.
When that day comes, you’ll sit down to confide in a friend, explain to a colleague, or let it all come pouring out to the Uber driver. If they know you now, they’ll look at you then and say the words we’ve all heard during those heart-to-heart conversations of revelation.
Wow. I had no idea.
Yeah. That’s by design. No one is supposed to have any idea. You do though. I do too. At one time or another, we all do.
So press on. Go about your business and handle your own. When the day comes to talk about it, you can talk about it…if you want to. If not, then you don’t have to. That’s the best part about dealing with our stuff. It’s our stuff. We can do with it whatever we choose.
Good luck. You’ve got this. I do too. Eventually we’ll come out the other side. Then, maybe we can talk about it.