Wow, it's Christmas Eve...
And if you're anything like me, you might be experiencing mixed emotions, heightened emotions, and/or raw emotions. The holidays can be the most intense time of year because so many pressures we face normally in smaller doses all seem to collide. And as loving, kind-hearted, sensitive humans, it's normal to feel a little overwhelmed in the face of those stresses.
Music and self-expression are powerful tools of acknowledgement. In essence we're like, "Hey, this is what I think, feel, believe, own, understand, don't understand, etc.." The first part is the one where we say whatever we need to say.
But what about the second part?
That's where it tends to make a difference whether your audience is drinking and hanging out half-listening in a bar.... Or, attentively sitting in front of you, soaking in your words and your facial expressions and your body language and emotions, and letting it resonate deep inside, honoring whatever meaning it has for the life of the one whose ears are open and receptively hearing what's being dished out.
A step beyond listening, it's actually something much deeper: validation. And the effect is that the person communicating feels that their experience is important, reasonable, and normal given the circumstances that created them.
It doesn't matter who you are. *Every* person on this planet needs to feel validated for their pain before they can let it go.
I wrote this the other night, processing through some of the hardships I've experienced in my life. I am endlessly grateful for how these pains have been heard by loved ones, therapists, coaches, growth partners, romantic partners, co-workers, and anyone else who I've opened up to about any of these sentiments.
As an artist and generally sensitive person, the holidays have always been especially challenging for me. I've learned to accept the challenge and reap the richness it offers, but damn.... Sometimes it just. gets. hard.
I share the following in hopes that it's helpful for someone around this time, when some challenging inside things might be rising to the surface <3
The Pains I Know:
I do not pretend to understand for a second, the kind of suffering a mother faces upon losing a child.
I don't know that pain.
And similarly, I have no knowledge of the wound created by a partner's infidelity.
It's just not in my experience.
But there are other pains I know well...
I know the pain of being bullied by people you admire.
I know the pain of being the odd one out.
I know the pain of the insanity one feels when they can't detach from their dinner plate, or any thought of food that came before, or that comes after it.
I know the pain of rejection.
I know the pain of loneliness too, the kind that feels confusing because you've analyzed your life from every possible angle, and it still doesn't add up that you did anything so wrong, that you deserve to feel this far removed from human love and affection.
I know the pain of having genuine happiness bubbling out of your being, but not feeling safe enough to share it.
I know the pain of feeling missed, passed by, or forgotten.
I know the pain of anxiety, and how it shows its innocent face at all the wrong times -- like when you're on the lieu, or trying to make epic love, or when you're supposed to be having the time of your life...
I know the pain of love -- the love that allows you to care so deeply for someone, but not quite enough to change the reality that you'll both be better people if you aren't together.
I know the pain of being sexually molested, and being unfairly disgusted with yourself for letting it happen.
I know the pain of being broke, and not knowing where your next meal is coming from, *and hiding it* because you "look" middle-class, and God-forbid anyone would find out you're barely over the poverty line.
I know the pain of delusion -- the kind that with 1 single reality break, creates the seed of doubt that says quietly, "but you're crazy, and you don't know what's really real..."
I know the pain of feeling orphaned, with your parents still living and a phone call away.
I know the pain of creative repression, and the stagnancy and boredom that encourage a life full of "What do you think I should do?" kinds of questions
I know the pain of waiting... for a person -- any person -- to decide what no one on the outside can ever decide for you...
I know the pain of living in an alcoholic family, without anyone ever talking about it.
I know the pain of wallowing, and not knowing how to stop.
I know the pain of numbness, and not seeing how to thaw.
I know the pain of showing the world how beautiful you are, and waking up the next morning feeling depleted, raw, and completely worthless.
I know the pain of domestic violence, and I knew it before I knew how to say those words.
I know the pain of being livid, boiling with anger, and behaving in the very same ways you've been most hurt by.
I know the daily demands of a nervous system that has learned trauma, and I know the pain buried under the resentment secretly held for everyone who gets to live "normally."
I know the pain of being angry and thinking the only acceptable expression of it is to grind your teeth until the dentist says that your sad attempts at self-containment are now your most pressing reason to save money.
I don't know the pain of genocide.
And I don't know the pain of being an African American male in a predominantly white, racist, elitist country.
I do know very well, what it's like to be victim to your pain.
I also know how to step out of that hell, and step into a creative, empowered life of freedom.
Merry Christmas & Solstice everyone, I hope this leaves you more connected to yourself, those you love, and your best Life!