“Why not believe, if you do, that innate in the “image and likeness of God” is everything we need to create and shape our destiny and world, to move mountains, heal ourselves and others.”
~ Katy Jon
I’m a little bit on the mad side today, you all.
Maybe it’s because I’m coming to you today from a standpoint, from a deep, dimly lit place of my life where I have been marinating a message that wasn’t exactly easy to get out. Please take things step by step with me as you read this. We have some heavy things to carry [and set down] this time around.
I want to rewind a bit, back to the sweltering summer of 2013, on a silent night in an apartment I no longer occupy. I had just found out that popularly known Glee star, Cory Monteith, at a tender age of 31, was no longer alive; and my heart ached not in a ‘Ooooooh-I-was-such-a-big-fan!’ way but more so in an empathic way, a way that I couldn’t shake as I involuntarily began sensing the emotional climate of the people who were closest to him, especially Lea Michele.
In that moment, knowing that one of my favorite television shows would no longer be the same, I was also battling the choked up, breathless sensation of loss that wasn’t even mine to take on. I then began reliving my own feelings of grief for loved ones of the past. Thinking about death of others makes us think of people we ourselves have seen leave us in that process. So if you have ever cried over a deceased person you never knew personally, relish in that for just a moment.
Fast forward back to the present day…
I can’t watch any scene of Glee with Lea Michele (Rachel) in it and not think about her personal bullshit. For her sake and for mine, I just try to appreciate her art and silently acknowledge the pain of hers that I am still sensitive to even now, but that pain, though…I have my own to deal with, my own bullshit.
You see, what I learned from these defining posthumous moments of pop culture, these moments of love and loss (if you will), is this: life’s not too short–it only seems that way because something in life caused some of us to grow up too quickly.
The world is ignorant of the abuse and those traumas and the horrific events witnessed and the tragedies and the nightmares of this prematurely aged community. Moreover, the world still has expectations of us no matter what our age is on a physical and embodied level, no matter whether any of these expectations are realistic or fair or sensitive or not.
I know there are some people out there who would look at a rising star like Michele and say she doesn’t have it that bad, that hers are the epitome of “first world problems.” Pain is pain, my friend. There’s no invalidating that. I am not a pop culture buff whatsoever, but I had several wake up calls when the news of Cory Monteith’s death hit me on that dewy summer night back in July of 2013.
Her pains, although very real and valid, may not be anything of comparison to yours and your other prematurely aged counterparts…like myself. What sets us people apart from the people around us, walking in and out of the grocery store, meandering in and out of our lanes in anonymous vehicles, standing in front of us in line? What makes our pain any different from their seemingly minuscule morsel of pain?
You know why? Because everyone has pain, and some people also inherited an unwarranted set of BIG shoes to fill and clop around awkwardly in, fumbling through a season or several seasons of one’s life in an effort to cope with many growing pains.
These same people had to learn too many lessons the hard way. They had to struggle instead of strive. They had to survive instead of thrive. I have seen people like this strive to manifest their dreams, sit in a hole, get back up and try all over again with a glimmer of willpower to live and be a passable human being. Who are they?
They are the young teen parents, the neglected children, the rape victims, the too-soon widows, the orphans, the abused and battered, and some of these people, sadly for us, aren’t alive to tell us that they even made it through and how.
I knew a girl like that once upon a time. To this very day, I will never know what bothered her so much to end her life. She was hardly 20 years old.
I feel for Lea Michele, most definitely. In fact, I wouldn’t want to be her with all her fame and fortune even so. So many eyes are on her, adding even more pressure and ‘shoulds/shouldn’ts’ to her to-do list. If there is one factual thing I can say assuredly about having an old soul, it’s that people will gladly make your own damn decisions for you if you don’t make them yourself.
There are going to be so many voices infiltrating our lives regardless, but when we’re even more impressionable and vulnerable as we are when life brought us to a situation that grew us up overnight, those voices will grow louder and (even if they bear good intentions) will threaten to shroud ours out completely.
With that said, I’m not going to be one more self-righteous voice telling you all of the solutions that (in reality) are just solutions in my own mind for your problems; and if it has ever seemed that I talk that way, well I’m shifting things. I will say this much and it’s that I’m still alive and still growing, filling out my own shoes and doing my best to stuff the tissue paper down firmly into the cavities that don’t hold my feet in just yet.
At the end of this story and even in this present moment, I claim that I’m a survivor of my own grievances. There is redemption for my years, notwithstanding how many years it seems that I have lost to painful living.
My hope is that you will find your own realization to assist your own growth and development as a living, breathing, soulful, talented, creative person.
P.S. If you have a story that you would like to share, or if you want to express some of your thoughts and reflections after reading this, please! I invite you to leave a comment below or email me via my contact form.