Imagine this: you’re crying. Something or someone has hurt you. You have experienced loss and the only task you can afford is to grieve.
Time will pass by but you won’t keep track. The days and nights are synonymous to you as you bask in sorrow. You won’t notice the passing of the days, weeks and months until someone or something reminds you of reality. You will be confused and still hurt. You will brush their reminders aside but they will only keep persisting and telling you that it’s time to move on.
Why do we do this? Why do we define a time to move on? We never put a limit on happiness. We never say oh you’ve been happy for awhile, not it’s time to experience some hurt. So why is that same expectation placed on hurt? Why is that we have a set period of time to grieve? Why is misery acceptable for such a short period?
The inability to move on will only render more questions. You will get judged and perceived as weak. You will receive insensitive comments. Just get over it, they’ll say. Maybe it’s time you moved on, you’ll hear. I have always found the last one perplexing. How do we know it’s time? Who or what determines this deadline? Why do we have to give in and pretend? Why can’t we just be honest?
Maybe at first you’ll resist and continue in your apparent misery. Your hurt will be obvious in your behavior and appearance but you won’t care. You will persevere on until either the judgment of others gets to you or your internal doubt will make you cave. At this point, you will learn the role of an actor. You will check off each of the boxes of “moving on.” You will get dressed and get back to work or school. You will be functional and move from point A to B with fluidity. You will appear to have finally moved on and others will praise your strength and merit you with phrase. But their words will be empty like you are internally. You will reciprocate with nods, smiles and small talk. You will play the role so well and maybe even convince yourself. And just when you think, maybe just maybe, you are moving on, the hurt will resurface in your memories. You will be fixated on misery and grief internally. Not always but in fleeting moments, it always comes back. In your mind you will always resort to whatever pained you.
You’re doing so well, they’ll say. You will nod and affirm some truth because you are doing well, not at moving on though. Instead, you are dehumanizing yourself and mastering the art of concealed emotions.