Right, don’t worry lads, that’s the last exclusionary sports references of the article. It’s all plain sailing from here.
Except for the fact that it’s all about suffering and trying to power through stuff that no one should have to power through alone.
I know how life gets. Seriously, I do. I know the ups and the downs and the hills and the valleys better than most. It’s one of the pitfalls of being a chronic over-thinker and general ‘spiraller’. We don’t love that for me, frankly.
But if there is one thing I’ve noticed on all my multitudinous years on this earth, there is a golden rule to note.
Just as the pride comes before the fall, the breakdown comes right before the breakthrough.
I’ve found this in two occasions in the last month alone.
Heartbreak is one of those words that everyone knows about. We all know the ways that a heart can be torn apart or stretched to within an inch of it’s existence. The real kicker though? It’s not always just a case of relationships breaking up and then having to deal with that. That’s a fairly linear form of grief to deal with. In as far as it’s linear and you know you is hurting you and who is to blame. The heartbreak that I’m here to talk to you about is all about family and identity. Specifically about what we do and do not owe one another of ourselves. And the fallout that comes with people either asking for too much, or of people not feeling comfortable giving anything.
Coming out to your parents remains the gold standard of stressful, alienating and bewildering experiences. No matter what the media says or glittery sitcoms that resolve everything in 20-minute episodes, no coming out experience is ever perfect. Half the time it still feels like a question. Or like a performance. Only because everything before has been a performance, so it’s hard to separate the two. Indeed, the threat of becoming ‘who I truly am’ when I say a few words is very much too much pressure.
People forget that.
What I’m saying is, we’ve all been so enduringly taught to subscribe to the need to find flaws in ourselves. Basically, any deviation from what has been established as the norm (straight white, rich male) is painted unalterably as a flaw. Sometimes, the flaw can be fixed; solved with some capitalistic consumption and confidence. Other times, however, we absorb into our personality a defence mechanism whereby we can protect ourselves with self-deprecating humour and a tendency towards isolating ourselves when things get hard. As a result of all of this, many of us have been conditioned to view our flaws as things people can use against us. Weaknesses that make us unloveable or undesirable, or fundamentally unworthy.
Or in another example of experiencing problems that we didn’t anticipate – or indeed, those that we know we’ve been ignoring for weeks.
Because sometimes you need a breakdown – a large one or a small one to keep you ticking over – to shake things up. To clear the air and release the building tension that you probably didn’t realise you were holding in.
I had a proper spiral at around 3am a few weeks ago about money.
It was something and nothing, but a series of little things that had accumulated over the entire summer before I’d realised it had happened. All my friends by and large got impressive paid internships or jobs in retail over summer, and in reality, probably were just as stressed as I was about other things, but I didn’t clock that. Despite my relaxing summer of holidays and an unpaid internship that filled my time, I still found time to make myself anxious about the peer pressure of feeling like I was falling behind.
Like my friends were more grown up, independent or well-off than me. That they were happier, more secure, and more adult in general than I could hope to be. I found myself scrounging online ways to make money on the quick like I was some sort of junkie. In reality, I was a fairly comfortable 20 something who did not need to be panicking in at all the way that I did.
It was just the threat that I was behind, or somehow failing – losing.
But the thing with life is that it’s so up and down and no emotion is permanent. Therefore, just as we know better than to expect to be happy all the time, it stands to reason that we won’t always feel the same as we feel in a given moment. No matter how inescapable or bewildering or eternal it feels. Trust me on this. If you listen to nothing else from the article, then listen to that.
I’ll say it again.
It won’t always be like this.
You need to break an egg to make the omelette. The sun needs to set in order to rise again.