What it takes

Ever done the right thing and felt wrong?

Why do we feel weak when we show compassion. When we forgive. When we let go. When we tell people how much they mean to us. And to mess with us full circle, why do we feel strong when we are mean. When we point out mistakes. When we judge. When we pretend knowledge.

What does it mean to stay strong when things fall apart. When it feels like we are living inside a mystery novel with an omnipresent killer, his omnipotent weapon and everyone reading playing out their own ending?

But nothing better to damn you than a confused omniscience. Shattering calm is the new sophistication. It’s comforting to generalize your inner chaos and cast it out like a fishing net, leaving a wake of struggle and panic. Struggle and panic.

To be a voice has always been a thing of strength. It is. But amidst the cocksurity of dumb, collective fervor — this is faux strength. It’s participation not in the cause, but in the effect. This kind of strength won’t help us now. Ever.

It’s hard to stay strong when everything makes you feel weak; when you feel worn through by unknown unknowns. Dealing with this weakness takes strength. It’s a constant feeling in every decision of significance. In every relationship. In pain. Finding strength amidst this means allowing yourself to feel weak.

What it takes is to, first, admit you don’t know. To not intertwine attention and alarm. To not fall into the hysteria of feeling better by feeling righteous. It’s never been easier to march into angry outbursts, mass malarkey. Our epidemic is riding out fears by making everyone else afraid, too. 

There are times when you are going to feel immensely weak. Because you did the right thing. Because you didn’t play your part in the noise. Don’t let this weakness fool you. Don’t miss the stars for the dark. This takes inexhaustible energy. What everyone calls the spirit. To feel it, to go all the way with it is to find out how strong you are. 

Here’s a reminder from someone who went all the way,

The sea’s only gifts are harsh blows, and occasionally the chance to feel strong. Now I don’t know much about the sea, but I do know that that’s the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions. Facing the blind death stone alone, with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head. -Primo Levi.

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