So I tell people my fears. I write about my struggles and my burdens. I write about the pain I have wrestled with for so long, because this is a real thing. I have moved through so many dark spaces, sat in the middle of my shit and mourned my soul and tore at my skin until I could feel escape on the other side.
I have become so comfortable with my pain and my struggle that writing about it has become an almost poetic experience. I am actually able to write about my rage without sounding angry. I never thought I would get there. But I have.
The joy I feel on the other side of this darkness is another matter entirely.
I have had days where I just feel happy. I don't know why, I just do, and everything my eyes rest upon is lovely, and all the food I taste is delicious, and all of my friends are angels and my home is a palace I cannot believe I have the fortune to inhabit. I feel like I can do anything on these days, like I can change the world by smiling at it.
I protect these feelings. Being open about them feels like a risk. It feels like I could lose it all if I appear too happy or too satisfied or even too hopeful. I am the little girl who finally got the dress she wanted but never had the courage to put it on.
I am not yet comfortable enough with joy to write about it in any real way. I am so afraid it will come off as Disney or worse, Hannah Barbera, that I just keep it to myself. I am almost fifty years old and I am not comfortable feeling joy to the point where I can own it.
It's not like I haven't worked my ass of to get here. It's not like I haven't stripped away all the layers I gathered over the years to protect me. It's not like I haven't admitted to all my shitty behavior, all my tortured and tragic experience that had for so long kept me from feeling this joy.
I have, but I have also felt the wrath of the pained. The people who cannot stand to see someone happy, or confident, or satisfied, because it is an aching reminder of what they lack. It is a prod at the open wound that might never heal.
It is their proof that life is not fair and that they are as they suspected, damned.
Pain is easy, a universal experience, and often enough, pain begets pain. Joy is hard because I have been taught to believe it is a fairy tale. I have been conditioned to accept that happiness lies outside the boundaries of my body. That the reason I am not happy is because I am missing something that can only be filled by something outside of me. But joy is not as easy as swallowing a pill, or buying a new car. Joy is an ability to believe. Joy is an ability to hope, and happiness holds the belief that I am lovable, and that I am loved.
Even when I am told otherwise.
So I will continue to keep my hopes in the in-between. I will continue to work on being comfortable with joy, happiness and hope. I will work until I can write about it as easily as I write about pain.
I will work until writing about joy is also a poetic experience.