We all suffer. Some of us more than others. Today, I’m having trouble writing sentences because there’s a demon in my brain that tells me nothing I say is worthwhile. Something I wrote earlier this afternoon:
It’s a Sunday afternoon, just after one o’clock, and I am sitting on the couch in my bedroom sobbing. I felt the tears brewing inside me a few minutes ago, and I could have suppressed them, could have forced myself to not do it. But then I didn’t know what else to do. I Googled “Is Crying good for you” and apparently, according to the sources I was reading, it is. It’s embarrassing that I Googled this. But I feel helpless. I can’t stop fixating on my hatred of my life.
I continued to cry for a long time. And I wrote more about all that I do not have and all that I feel I will never have. I scribbled on about my endless misery. I decided that the item on my list “Write blog post” could not be completed because anything I contributed to the world would simply add to someone else’s misery. I thought more about my own suffering, collapsed on my bed and wailed into my pillow. This deeper, more hysterical crying lasted for five minutes or so.
And then I stopped.
I felt lighter, as if I’d cried my way to a kind of catharsis. I needed to do something, but I didn’t know what. I tried to read some articles on line about alleviating depression. I read something about gratitude. I read something about exercise. I read something about Buddhism that revealed that I shouldn’t even try to make my suffering go away. I’d never achieve that. I The Buddha says, I learned, “Life is suffering.” I don’t know enough about Buddhism — yet— to understand the connotation of the word in this context. I do know that this concept consoled me. I made a decision: I needed to change the way my life unfolds on any given Sunday. I did some research, and I found a Buddhism class that meets next Sunday morning. I registered. I also found a volunteer project for New York Cares that’s happening next Sunday afternoon. I registered for that as well.
There was a band with a one hit wonder, I think, called Taking Back Sunday. Who knows what they meant by this phrase. For me, it means something simple: I will not continue to wallow in old patterns. I will get up next Sunday and I will do everything differently than I did today. If I feel terrible, I will accept that feeling. Sometimes we arrive at change through suffering. We crawl into the depths of who we are to find that we have no answers ourselves. We understand that we need to reach out towards the unknown—a new class, a new experience, a new friend—to make it through the day.