“There is also a natural and very, very strong empathy with the underdog, with people who have suffered, people who have been pushed around by foreigners in particular, but also by their own people.” ~ Lakhdar Brahimi
by Alison Sher
Listen chickadees. Life ain’t always pretty. Just close your eyes and sit still and watch it all unfold. It’s right there - all of it. You can relive the events that hold a piece of all your sadness. And, yes, then come the tears. Close your eyes and you will feel that you are a living, breathing human being.
Take a deep breath. It may be hard. It may be hard to breathe if you don’t really believe you have the right to be here, to live life and feel fully. Breathe into your heart. Breathe into the e-motion and be moved. Feel it and let it pass in time. Yes…it will pass...
You have a heart and it feels everything - every little nuance, every name you are called, every subtle assault, every rejection. Every action a person takes around you can remind you of a memory you have stored in a deep and shadowy place filled with all your recollections of situations long gone.
Yet the memory is there. The moment is gone. The memory remains. You feel even though you don’t want to, because this is the way the mind works. It's easy to think you are a victim of this world.
So you lock up the memory and you shut the door on it, because it was painful. Because it made you feel weird. Because if you were to look at it, you would have to look at yourself. You would see how vulnerable you - we - truly are. You would see how you create situations for yourself.
Society says we’re not supposed to be in pain. We are supposed to smile at everything, take orders and keep our heads down.
Because that’s not true. We are affected by this world.
We have hearts and they feel. And it can feel like a curse. And it can feel like chaos.
So write. Write about what happens to you. It’s not always appropriate to express how people make you feel in the moment. It’s not always the most effective. You’re still figuring it out. You're still sorting out the details.
You’re still in this mode:
Did I just hear that? Did they just do that? Oh my gosh that reminds me of my mother (or father), or that time… Oh my gosh they are so ignorant. Oh my gosh, how could they not know how that would make me feel? Am I making this up? Or am I…am I being attacked? Am I safe?
And you may want to attack. You may want to scream profanities like, “#)$(#@*#)” and so on. You may want to flee.
It’s understandable. Keep in mind, however, that the situation may not be as severe as it seems. And I bet after all you’ve been through, that reactive, violent behavior is not who you want to become. I bet you don't want to run away from every uncomfortable feeling. I bet you don't want to slaughter everyone who rubs you the wrong way.
And you are allowed to feel - anger, sadness, happiness and fear.
So write. Write instead. Get to a safe space and write down everything. Write until the tears come. Write until you can no longer hold up that pen, until the circle of your understanding finds closure. Write about what happened. Write about what it makes you remember. Write about the truths it makes you realize. Write about the beliefs you are ready to throw away.
I bet you write beautifully. I bet you’re full of wisdom.
And then, from that wise place, once all the pieces have settled and the feelings have calmed down, you may find it easier face the world again. From that wise place, it is far safer to respond with respect.