(Just a little bit of 90s rap thrown in for the sheer hell of it...and because it really is freezing.)
Anyway. I shall not be distracted.
I've just finished reading 'The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce and I would like to share an extract with you all.
"Harold sat in silence. The silver-haired gentleman was in truth nothing like the man Harold had first imagined him to be. He was a chap like himself, with a unique pain; and yet there would be no knowing that if you passed him in the street, or sat opposite him in a cafe and did not share his teacake...It must be the same all over England. People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The superhuman effort it took someone else to be normal, and a part of things that appeared easy and everyday. The loneliness of that."
This passage has strongly resonated with me and my own experiences over the past few years. I remember first telling people that I had depression, and they responded with. "You? But you look fine! You're young, you're pretty! You're happy, you're fine!" And I guess that was the impression I must have given them for such a long time. I had been pretending to be 'normal' for so long, that they couldn't understand the difficult reality of my situation.Copyright Rachel Joyce, 2012. From 'The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry'
So many of us pretend to be ''fine". We nod, we smile, we go along with the crowd. We get up, we go to work, we put one foot in front of another, because we have to. We hold inside the grief, the sadness, the anger, the fear, that gets bigger every day. No matter how much we try to repress it, no matter how many times we say "I'm fine", the pain that Harold sees in others, can be a part of our lives too.
Sometimes saying nothing and getting on with life seems like the right thing to do. We tell ourselves that we're protecting our loved ones, or maybe ourselves, from the painful truth that lies beneath the surface. But really, we're hurting ourselves even more, and our loved ones too.
For it is those people that love you, that want to help you. And they can't really work with "fine". Its a tricky, sneaky, vicious little monosyllabic word that helps no one.
I believe that reaching out with honesty is the only way. Its scary and frightening, and you have no control over the consequences. However, once you are honest, once you open up that lair of pain inside you and share it with someone, they in turn are able to respond with their own honesty. They may well have a shared experience, a kind word, they might even be struggling with something similar.
I see it as a kind of 'pay it forward' scenario. You're honest with someone, they respond with honesty, and then through that experience, you can both learn to do it again.
Maybe I sound cheesy. Maybe I'm pointing out the obvious. But I have a sneaky feeling, just as Harold Fry did, that many of us are hiding things that need talking about. And I think, our world, your world, would be a better place for getting it out in the open.