On the first day of Spring I made a wish. I wished for this winter to be forever gone and to never return. I wished that with the last snow all the worst moments and memories of these past two months would melt away and sink into the ground. I wished for the new life to begin.
The truth is that I lost someone I loved so deeply that it hurts to write this. It hurts to even think about it, because as soon as my thoughts go there, I fall flat on the ground unable to rise up. They say time heals, and never in my life have I ever wanted for time to run faster than the wind on Lake Michigan in February. But time has its rules, and it doesn’t ask you what you want. When we fall, there are only two options: to keep staying down or collect all of your courage and strength and rise up.
A couple of months ago in my boxing class we did an exercise. We had to fall on our back as if after a big punch, and then rise up as fast as we could and punch back. Before this exercise I have never really thought about the importance of rising up. We all have our falls, big or small, the ones we deal with every day, and the ones that change our lives forever. But we never really give ourselves credit for overcoming them. In fact, we hide them far away and never mention the process of overcoming things. Our society doesn’t like talking about rising up. We don’t talk about pain and hardships. It is inappropriate to say out loud that you are hurting or that you are struggling with something.
The biggest lie I’ve told was when sitting at the bar the bartender asked me how I was doing. I said: “I am good, thank you”. Right after he left I realized that I am the complete opposite of okay. I have never felt worse. Of course, I didn’t have to tell what happened to the bartender, but that’s just how things are. We cry in our apartments, wipe the tears away, put on a big smile and tell everyone we are okay. When did it become shameful to not be okay? When did the process of rising up become a sign of weakness?
My good friend Mikey suggested I read a book by Brene Brown called Rising Strong. So far I have read a third of it, and I can’t say I am fully enjoying it, there are many things I agree with, but also there are chapters that don’t sit well with me. But the one thing the book helped me with is it made start figuring out what rising up means to me personally.
Rising up is not being afraid of what you feel. It means speaking up for yourself. It means staying true to your emotions. It means crying when you feel like crying. It means accepting help, not feeling like a failure for doing it, and welcoming people into your life who recognize your pain. It means understanding that you are the only person responsible for your own life, but you don’t have to carry the burden of the world on your shoulders. That it takes time to heal. And when the time is right, you need to collect all the strength you have, put one foot on the ground, then the second one, and then just rise up with all the strength you have. Even if your knees are shaking. You will remember how to stand up on your own. Because you have done it before.
Because if you don’t pick yourself up, nobody ever will.
I will love you forever.