abundance · adulthood · affirmations · change · community · isolation · self-esteem · self-support · spirituality


“Pain carves out a place in us that allows us to feel more
deeply and be more usefully whole.”
This is the kind of thing you tell someone who’s had to go
through shit and needs something to hold onto as a reason why. And I’m not
going to tell you it’s not true or that I don’t believe it to be true, because,
maddeningly, I do think it is.
But what about all the people who don’t have pain carve out a place in them? What about
those of us who haven’t have the razor of life cut into our quick? What about
those who have lived what some might call “normal” lives?
Are they not as valuable as human beings? Of course not. Are
they not as deep in thought or artistry? Well… that’s really hard to answer.
There is a pervasive ideal of the martyr in our society
(and, again, I’m not the first to write about this). There is also the
thick idolatry of those who are young, innocent, unscathed, “beautiful.”
So, we have for ourselves, as a society, a conundrum: We
both want desperately that kind of luxury and ease that calls to us from the
pages of Sunset or Dwell or GQ, but we disdain those whose lives
closely resemble them, condemning them for “having it easy.”
So, what do we really want? Do we want the life of ease, or
do we want to tear down those who actually have a life of ease? And if the
latter is true,… why, then, would we
ever want to be a person of ease, and be the object of disdain and
envy-laced judgment?
There is an affirmation in my repertoire: Life is easy for
How nice is that?
“Life is easy for
What would that be like?
Life is easy for me.
I just smiled. 
Ease. Flow. Calm. Centered. Guided. Held. Easy.
Why should it not be?
An affirmation is something you tell yourself until you live
and believe it, according to my own understanding. So this isn’t something that I
can tell you today with assurance is accurate. But I can tell you that it is something that I would like to believe and live with assurance.
“Life is easy for me.”
Pain may have carved out a place in me that enables me to
help other people who have been there. But there is a downside to identifying
with others on the commonality of pain: What happens when one of you doesn’t
want to identify with their own pain anymore?
A friend of mine inherited a sum of money
a few years ago, after the death of her mother. She, my friend, is one of the
pain-carved women. She is shorn and built and pyred from pain – she is one of
the strongest and most admired women I know.
And yet. After the inheritance, she, on her own, bought a
vacation home—she bought a second home, just because she could. She has a
husband, and two kids, and this was what she wanted to do, and could do with
that money.
It was only after the fact of the purchase, however, that we
began to hear about it. She had to “confess” to us that she had this boon, this
exciting news, this abundance. And she’d been avoiding telling people,
precisely because of that envy-laced judgment.
However, she realized that not talking about her success was just as dangerous to her well-being as
not talking about troubles, and that by isolating and hiding her good fortune,
she would certainly falter.
Not talking about success, about “what’s going on,” is just
as precarious as not talking about challenge. However, because we are a culture
that feeds off mutual exchange of stories of strife, because all of our
literature is based on triumph over adversity, or simply is an account of
adversity, we do not share about it.
We are ashamed of our success. We are ashamed of our good
fortune. We are ashamed to admit that life is easy for us—and so we couch it in
“humility”: Oh, it’s only because of the inheritance from a death; Oh, but I had to overcome such hardship to get
here; Oh, but it’s really only this one time that I’m getting a boon in my life
– I promise the rest of my life is a shit show!
SO WHAT if my life were easy? What does it impede on you?
(is a question I pose to myself as well.) What are the merits of slogging
through a desperate existence, to live to possibly be honored post-humously as
a great writer, as a Baudelaire (and the
list is endless)?
A while back, I wrote you about a poem of mine whose only line went,
who would eat the blackened one?
And I told you how I’ve come to see that the answer, which
had so long been, “No one, so I better eat it first so you won’t have to,” has
become, “No one. Period.” I’ve told you that I no longer feel as fated or
compelled to be a martyr.
It seems the other side of that action is to embrace what
our culture feels so aggressively conflicted about: Allowing my life to be easy.
Perhaps my “meta” affirmation, then, would be: It is easy to
allow my life to be easy. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s