We get taught at a young age one of two things. It’s okay to cry. To feel. To express our pain and fears in a healthy, natural, shameless way. That sometimes we need to let everything out, to find our way back to where we were before it all went wrong. And crying, that’s just a symptom of being human. It’s OKAY. Or, we get told that it’s not. That it is not okay to expose yourself to vulnerability, or demonstrate weakness. That you should be tough and take whatever it is life throws at you, and since that’s going to be a lot, you might as well go ahead and get use to it now. But don’t you dare cry about it. Two scenarios. Two completely different routes that will in fact define a person forever. I’m a firm believer in expressing emotion and truth over the alternative, and so should everybody else. But, many if not most don’t. We live in a cold world, where compassion is perceived as a weakness and being heartless is glorified. When in reality, it’s precisely the opposite. I never thought much of how much I cared before. About my family, my friends, complete strangers… it was just a given. Even when I went through my first break up and was completely heartbroken, or lost one of my oldest friends to a horrible accident, it never occurred to me to shut it off: my humanity. And I always say it as more of a movie concept than something people actually do, which is blocking out how they feel. But it’s real, and apparently I’m not a majority. What I assumed was hearts similar to mine, only a little misguided, are a lot more screwed up than that. Not everybody lives with the strive to be better, or to even be a good person. I always thought that deep down people were actually good at heart, and that anything bad they’ve done or continue to do isn’t really them. Just a version of who they are, a version that hurts less. People put up walls and burn bridges and do whatever it is they think they have to do to avoid the inevitable. And that is, if you’re human… if you have a beating heart with blood running through your veins, you are going to be victim to pain at some point in your life. Some levels of pain higher than others, and there will always be something in your life that destroys you. Usually, it’s what you love most. People do what they can to avoid this mathematically certainty. They fight it. They kick and scream and run as fast as they can to get away from anything that could force them to be apart of this tragic life. And that’s the ultimate tragedy. If you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. But if you have something to lose, someone you care about, it’s almost too paralyzing to imagine what we’ll do once it’s gone. I cried to my capacity tonight. I’m sure I had more in me but right now, it felt like enough. It’s funny, how we fight it. The tears, the agonizing pain. We either push it aside fiercely, or if you’re more like me, you can’t help but watch yourself drown in it. I come up for air, sure. But that’s only because I continue to swim. I continuing moving my arms, kicking my legs, and push to stay above water while I continue searching for land. After years of this, I’ve grown really tired. But I would rather be exhausted than say I ever copped out of how I feel or who I am. I don’t run, and I wish less people would do the same. I think if they did they would find more happiness. I emptied my tears, and I feel slightly rejuvenated. At the same time, I suspect the pain will creep up on me again when I least expect it. And I hope when it does it doesn’t destroy me. Then again, I was told once before that “it wouldn’t be love if it didn’t.” We have to allow some things to destroy us. We have to allow ourselves to fall apart and lose ourselves for a bit to truly discover who we really are and find our way to something better. I believe that. Even in all the darkness I believe that. I have to.