I always thought it was important to do things fully, the world is already too packed with partial pieces and half-attempts of somethings. Maybe I believed in this so deeply that it got under my skin, pulsing through my veins. Within a few full-circuits it became a part of me, or unironically, all of me. I became someone extreme. I started feeling things with an undeniable force, ping-ponging between each end of the spectrum. I self-identified as a walking contradiction, every unsteady breath a juxtaposition. I was a wonderful disaster, an optimistic realist, a civilized kind of wild.
Most of all, I think I simultaneously became the happiest and saddest kind of person. But out of lack of desire to explain the inner workings of my mind, I often just chose to summarize myself as …‘complicated’.
However, the more people I meet in life, the more I realize this is a type rather than an anomaly- I know I am not the only one. For those like me, feeling everything so deeply is a blessing and a curse.
See, I crave pain sometimes. Never on the surface, more of a deep-within-my-bones kind. I crave to run full force through unsafe alleyways and into the arms of people with razor blade hearts, or mouths filled with words like ‘almost enough’ and ‘sometimes yours’.
Throughout my teens I hid it desperately, disguising it as a desire for passion, convincing myself it was necessary to know this hurt before I knew happiness. And maybe parts of that were true, but still every time I looked at it from anyone else’s perspective I just kept wondering what was wrong with me?
I know this is hard to understand. I never blamed the people who would ask me why I kept going back to those who hurt me before, why I kept handing them the loaded gun and taunting them to pull the trigger.
They didn’t understand how simple love felt wrong to me. I felt uncomfortable, like it wasn’t strong enough because I didn’t feel either end of the spectrum, I didn’t feel hurt nor happiness.
I can’t keep myself in comfortable love. It itches under my skin and it begs me to scratch its way through, it asks me to cause pain in attempts to feel something…to feel anything.
So I’d think myself into mistrust, pulling on white lies like loose threads in sweater sleeves, relentlessly unravelling it until I revealed all of their mistakes, until I found a reason to hurt.
“You must like being sad,” I’d hear them say, and for a while I started to believe it.
What I did love, granted, was my metaphorical scars, but not in an open and boastful way. I loved them in private, like old suburban spouses, the way they love how far they’ve come but never tell each other anymore. They were proof of a life well indulged, evidence that there was something worth talking about. I loved the way they stood out on my mind the way real scars stand out in skin, like answers to rhetorical questions.
They were landmarks of failure and triumph, each souvenir telling its own story.
So no, I don’t love pain, I love that I have the ability to feel so deeply, because it lets me know I’m truly alive.
People like us, we will have these darker moments. We will build ourselves a temporary home in sadness, we will hang broken picture frames and board up the windows so nobody can get in.
And the thing is, very few will see this side.
They might catch glimpses, see flickers of the storm brewing behind glazed eyes.
But it is not unless you want to connect with one of us that you will experience it. You will be faced with the challenge of breaking down those barriers, of understanding the need to reside in this state of momentary sadness. You will have to see the vast importance of this storm and wait patiently for its passing. And believe me, it will pass.
Make no mistake I know this is not the healthiest of dispositions, but it is who we are. I’m sure many would be quick to slap on assumptions about chemical imbalances, lacing personalities with presumptions like ‘they’re just too emotional.’ I’m sure there are hundreds of labels that could file this way of being into a drawer, or onto a prescription slip to numb the feeling. But the numbness of it all, the monotone blankness seems worse than anything else humans are capable of feeling.
I also want to experience the scorching sun on glistening skin, the watercolour sunsets and faint crawling rainbow. I want to feel exhilaration exploding as the clouds break on these moments.
And when they do, you may be amazed at how wholly people like us can live. We have a mesmerizing fire burning within, you will see it ignite excitement in our eyes when we talk about the world. You will be temporarily shocked by the ideas that spill from our mouths, you will be permanently stained by the love that spills from our fingertips. We will love you deeper, with a fierceness that did not otherwise seem possible. When we laugh, we will laugh from the belly, crinkled eyes and sore cheeks. When we dance we won’t hold back, it will be childlike and embarrassing, yet intensely captivating. When you tell us stories of your day or your dreams, or hell- what you had for lunch, you will feel the genuine enthusiasm behind our curiosity. When you need to spill secrets we will be a sanctuary, when you need to escape we will be your getaway driver.
We will live with the kind of wholeness that will spill infectiously into your missing pieces, and you will feel like you deserve all of this, because you do.
Hurt seems to grow synonymous with feelings of emptiness, while happiness implies a sense of being “full”. Well what if the deeper that emptiness carves into our souls, the deeper we allow ourselves to be filled with happiness? If that’s the case, doesn’t that make this kind of living so excruciatingly beautiful?
We are confusing and difficult, us with jigsaw minds and Rubik’s cube hearts- but my god through it all I swear we are worth it.