We Will Hurt Each Other

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Shutterstock

People are hard. Brilliant, exquisite, dynamic things, but hard all the same. Hard to love fully, hard to give your all to, hard to please, hard to protect. And not just the people that are closest to you, but all the little people that fill your days: the waiter at your favorite restaurant, your landlord, the friend of a friend with whom you have that one inside joke that’s as unshakeable and steady as anything else in your life. Sometimes it feels like loving and trying to care for people is like wading through oceans of eggshells — each small move means another crack, even if it was a move to spare the thin-shelled-skin of another egglove.

Is it possible to go even one day without hurting someone? Maybe not in a big, noticeable way, but in a way that throws them off course for a while or knocks them just a little bit further down or makes it just a little bit harder for them to smile and wake up in the morning. There are all these careening narratives that sweep themselves through a single moment, a single day, that support and collide with one another, that unfurl themselves into utter chaos — how can we even begin the process of unprying ourselves from all this inevitable pain?

Perhaps it begins with a recognition: I am not perfect. I will sometimes say things that are horrible and catty, things that are none of my business, things I wish I could shove back down my throat. I will be compassionate, but I will also be angry. I will be mature. I will be immature, will act in ways I promised you I would not act. I will be the answer to all of your problems and I will be the cause of all of your problems and I will try to fix it all even when my heart is ravenous and irrational and doesn’t feel like mine.

But you can’t wholly blame yourself, not even on days when it seems like you hold everything in the balance. Because you don’t and it’s selfish to think that you do. You are not the beginning and you’re probably not the end — you’re an awkward carrier of the middle, the uncomfortable blip in a line long ragged and bent. You’ve fucked up. And what feels significant to you might not feel significant to them and even if it does, people (however hard, however fucked up) have a soaring capacity for forgiveness.

And this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try to be as thoughtful and caring as possible, shouldn’t try to avoid as many wounds as we can. Because we should and we must. We just have to open ourselves up to the truth: we will hurt each other, often. Life is crazy beautiful, but it is crazy and sometimes spins out of control. And that’s okay. That’s how it should be. It’s okay to lose the grip, to slip a little. Because we all do and maybe that makes it easier to forgive one another — people will disappoint you and wrong you, but they will also defend you and fight for you and bowl you over with kindness. We are all such radiant fuckups — we have to remember this and love one another for it. And even when it seems impossible, we have to be good to one another, to extend an open hand, to try to bring the light back in to illuminate the darkness. TC mark

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