Some time ago, I was cleaning my closet and found my diary when I was ten years old. I opened the notebook and this is the first thing I saw:
I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig. I’m a pig.
That’s just the short version. In reality, I have three pages filled with these three words, written over and over again in my ugly handwriting. On the pages after that are the words “I’m fat” and “I’m a balloon” also written a gazillion times. Those pages were also filled with obvious tear stains.
I wasn’t obese or anything but when you compare my bulging tummy to my siblings’ flat ones, you could consider me fat. My siblings definitely did. They teased me constantly and called me every fat name in the book. Hence, the self-deprecating entry.
To be honest, though, if it wasn’t for that notebook, I would never have fully understood how hurt I was by their taunts and ridicule. I mean, I do remember being the butt of all the fat jokes but I don’t remember writing these words. I never thought it affected and damaged me the way it did.
I’m still not as thin as my sisters are. When I eat a lot, I sometimes make a conscious effort to suck my tummy in. But I’m not fat. I am not a pig, nor a balloon.
Reading these old entries now, I realize how my life has a lot of moments like this. I would be in a bad place, I’d be hurt or angry or broken and I’d become so hopeless that the idea of things getting better would seem unimaginable, but then gradually, without even noticing it, everything would get better. And then one day, I’d come across something that would remind me of the bad place and I’d think to myself, “Huh, was it really that bad?”
I mean, when you’re in that moment of pain and suffering, it’s so easy to believe that it’s over, that you’ve hit rock bottom and there’s nothing to hold on to to pull yourself back up. When you find yourself at the bottom of a pit so deep that you could barely see the light, it would be so incredibly easy to just lie on the ground and sleep.
What my life has taught me and what my faith has helped me remember is that it does get better. Think about it: How many times have we felt like our lives are completely fucked? And how many times have we been wrong about it? I’m pretty sure the answer to both questions is exactly the same.
I’m not saying that, once things are better, we won’t ever find ourselves waist deep in crap again. On the contrary, I won’t be surprised if we find ourselves in that kind of situation more than we do in any other situation. What I’m saying is if you’re hurting, then be hurt. If you’re angry, then be angry. If you’re broken, then be broken. But make sure that you’re being all that with the hope that you won’t always be that way.
Feel everything you need to feel. Then let it out. And let it go.