We Don’t Have to Make Ourselves into Mysterious Gifts

As Emily Rapp faces her son’s inevitable death, she realizes how little she once understood grief, or how to help a person in pain.

Stories: the only thing we’ve got, the arbiters of this human process of rocketing between hope and despair, and it’s why every person’s is vitally important. It’s why it doesn’t matter if you’re a mess, or put together, or even a success according to arbitrary standards; what matters is that you are conscious of the world around you, in all of its terrible beauty…

The world can be a horrible place at times, but we don’t have to participate in this, we don’t have to harden our hearts as we’re taught and told to do, in order to survive or be sexy or attractive lovers or perfect parents or interesting people. We do not have to make ourselves into mysterious gifts, waiting to be chosen or read or understood by those who will earn us, unwrap our secrets, and then what? We can be something more authentic, and speak from a different place, a different planet. This is why I like being a writer, because what it demands is both simple and incredibly hard. To be a human being. Does anyone even know what that means anymore? Why don’t we allow for mess? Why are we so afraid of it? What do we expect from the veils we pull down over our eyes, our minds, our hearts? How can we possibly connect if we never let people see what we truly are and what it would take to make us free? Now, when I can’t fake a single emotion I don’t feel (or at least not for long), I wonder how I’ve lived this long being any other way. Maybe it’s that I haven’t really been living, and that now I am like Adam, like Eve, my feet still wet from being newly created, awkwardly learning how to walk on dry land.

(via Salon: “Someone to Hold Me”)

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