Living each day much muchier
The new Disney Pixar movie Inside Out is wonderful because it introduces a positive role for sadness. Sadness can be cleansing. It can bring wisdom. It can heal and help others to heal.
Sadness is like the cold you get when you’ve been doing too much. Your body says enough and makes you rest. Sadness slows you down and creates space for you to consider and resolve things.
It’s okay to let sadness define parts of your life. It adds colour and depth to your memories.
However, it should not be allowed to make decisions that direct your future.
It’s easy. We don’t even realise it. We romanticise our pain as a way of coping. Maybe you’re the outsider. Maybe no-one sees you or gets you. Maybe you have to be the strong one. Maybe you can only be yourself when you’re by yourself. Maybe everyone leaves you. Maybe you hurt the people you love.
Christian Mihai wrote recently that harmful habits die hard, because we sometimes are so in love with our pain. It resonated with me.
I love the idea of being independent and strong and not needing anybody. It’s not true of course. I need people all the time. My dear friends are part of my soul, but it wasn’t always the case. Large swathes of my past are coloured with loneliness. For a long while, it was easier to believe that I was better off self-contained and in the shadows than it was to change and reach out and need.
I’m grateful every day that I don’t feel like that anymore. Yet, that idea was so comfortable and familiar that I fell back into it without realising.
I am in love with the pain of being alone.
I think I got stuck in a moment, two years ago in Scotland on Tom a Ghrianain (knoll of the sun). I’d been single for six months, feeling lonely and untouched. No one had shown the slightest bit of interest. I’d walked there alone, braving the showers and the cold because it matched my mood at the time. I was wrestling with demons.
I failed twice to choose someone compatible and spent most my adult life miserable. Was it possible that after two cracks at love, I’d had more than my fair chance and now I was done?
I stood with my bare feet on the cold rock where druids had marked countless rising and setting suns and asked if I’d see another sunrise (metaphorically).
My heart answered in a resounding, powerful and wholly unexpected way.
There are no promises.
It wasn’t a no, but it wasn’t a yes. It forced me to realise that life isn’t a fairytale. True love is not an entitlement. We don’t all find love because we’re good people and the hero of our own story. There are no promises.
All the days since, I’ve made my life one that I’m thrilled to live without needing anybody to share it with.
I love my life. It’s brilliant. Except, instead of shacking up with another man, I think I shacked up with my pain. I let sadness go beyond purposeful wisdom to take control of my decisions, to define me. I let it close doors to what I really want in the belief that it doesn’t exist.
I don’t want to do that anymore. I won’t do it.
So what if there are no promises?
There are still possibilities.