You’re Stronger Than You Know

Garden State
Garden State

Hey, you. Yeah I mean you. I just wanted to say, in a totally non-creepy way of course, that… well, I can see you. Like, really see you. I’ve been there with you; there at the bottom of all things. At the end of the proverbial rope, as it were (or weren’t?). I can interpret the pain etched into your stoic silences and I can read the lies in your careful smiles. I know how everyday can seem longer and darker than the last until the world seems to be swathed in an endless, unbroken night where the stars flicker and then dim. Or maybe it’s more like a hot, fleece blanket, tucked in at all sides so that you’re breathing in the heat of your own breath and the sounds outside are muffled and dim. But yeah, I see you, even though you’re sure no one really can. Even though you’re sure that your voice is only the barest whisper lost in a sea of howling screams about shit that you’re sure doesn’t even matter. Some movie star did what? Who? Wait, why do we care? Do I have to care? Does that make me self centered? I’m sorry you’re sad… but come on, I’m pretty sure we’ve all got bigger problems than ‘she said, he said, they said.’

And yeah, of course you’re tired. Just so fucking tired that every step feels heavy and every breath labored. You’re just damned tired of trying, of scrambling for purchase on slippery walls that seem to shift and shudder as you reach up and suddenly you’re grasping at nothing. A nothing that you’d thought was something just a second before, gone between one blink and the next. You’re tired of acting like everything isn’t falling apart and tired of hoping that tomorrow might just be a little brighter. It’s the sort of tired that can’t be cured by a long weekend of sleep and mindless Netflix binging, like everyone keeps insisting it can be, like it’s really just that simple. It’s the kind of tired that demands a stronger adjective. Weary? Exhausted? Worn out? Drained? Bushed, maybe? Somnolent even, but only if you’re feeling particularly eloquent in your fatigue. It’s a soul tired that gets in deep and stays with you, that adds a few merciless pounds to all your limbs and drags at all your thoughts. Sort of like those dreams where you’re running through water or sand and something sinister is creeping up on you, except now you’re awake and you can’t be sure that that sinister thing hasn’t already caught you.

But guess what? I happen to know something else about you. I know that, despite whatever you might think or believe, you’re actually a hell of a lot stronger than you know. I also know (because I obviously know a lot) that somewhere inside of you there is a fire. A fire that probably sputters a lot and ebbs in ferocity, but that burns all the brighter when the world reaches inside and tries to snuff it out. Because fuck the world, you tend your own flames, and who is the world to tell you when it’s time to give up and let go? I mean you’re going to stumble, and no matter how hard you try, you’ll probably fall and more than once –maybe a hundred times, but hey, you still get up. You’ll bleed and cry out into the bitch we call Oblivion, and the damned walls will start to close in despite all the supports you’ve put in place. Because sometimes there isn’t a damned thing we can do to prepare for the blast, but if you manage to survive, hey, that’s half the battle. 

But I see you, God do I see you. I swear that I’m there with you, down in the dirt as you grit your teeth, waiting for the next powerful blow, wondering if it will be the last and if you can take anymore. I’m there with you as everyone seems to fade away and you stand alone in the collapse, wondering dizzily how it all seemed to happen so damned fast. How did everyone else know to run? And why didn’t they give you a friendly heads up? Maybe they did and you just didn’t listen, maybe the fallout is your fault. You’ll probably realize it doesn’t really matter either way. Their fault, your fault; you’re still the one who has to climb out of the ruins.

You probably feel like you’re stumbling around alone, on that empty, broken path at the bottom all by yourself. Struggle can make us blind my friend, until our perception narrows to complete tunnel vision as we plod on as if the rest of the world never existed at all. But if you were to reach out, to step outside of whatever you’ve got going on inside of you right now, you’d find understanding hands reaching back for you. Hands intent on leading you on, hands attached to arms and shoulders and heads, which eventually connect to feet through a bunch of complex nerves and muscles and neurons that have walked that same path as you. Maybe what I’m trying to say is that I’d like to be one of those hands. I’m reaching out, hell I’m calling your name and waving neon fucking signs, because I don’t want you to fall again. That shit hurts and I know from experience how much harder it is to get up every time you do. 

So yeah, I see you. I see the good, the bad, the ugly, and the heartbreakingly beautiful. I haven’t walked your road and you probably haven’t walked mine, but maybe they can meet at a crossroads or something and we can trudge along together for awhile. But enough of the metaphors, am I right? Bottom-line: however strong you think you are I know you’re a hundred times stronger. So don’t give up. Don’t you dare give up. TC mark

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