6.4
April 11, 2024

It’s Time we Normalize Grief.

{*Did you know you can write on Elephant? Here’s how—big changes: How to Write & Make Money or at least Be of Benefit on Elephant. ~ Waylon}
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I share with you vulnerably in the hope that if (read: when) you find yourself on “the struggle bus,” like I am right now, you stay put and don’t get off until you’ve ridden for the full fare you’ve paid.

And when you do step off, that your bags remain in the under carriage.

About four years ago, I posted the picture on the left saying there weren’t enough social media posts of women delighting in stuffing their face with a fast food cheeseburger. I may have even said, “Let’s normalize the indulgence” or something similarly silly.

Unbelievably, it was that same night that set my life on a course to where I am today in the picture on the right, clearly not in any state of delight.

So now, I want to normalize grief.

I woke up this morning with dried tears on my face—like I have for nearly a month now. I don’t have the same spring in my step to get out of bed, which right now is a mattress on the floor of an otherwise vacated bedroom, so I’ve been relying on loving texts from a few close souls who help me get started with my day. As such, I reach for my phone before anything else.

Today, I saw a well-meaning meme that someone posted saying, “Get out of your head and back on your feet. Remember who the hell you are.” As I read that, it sent a jolt through me. “Get up! You’ve been sad long enough.” But then, my still small voice said, “No. F*ck that.”

For as long as I can remember, that’s what I’ve done. Something hurts? Too bad, so sad.

“Soldier the hell on, b*tch.

Put that crown back on and get on with your day.

If you’re really that sad, give yourself seven minutes to cry.

Set the timer….and…go!”

This mentality landed me precisely where I am right now. Shattered—all at once.

You know what’s strong? Staying in it. Hearing your own sobs echo through the rooms of an empty house where you sit alone surrounded by half packed, half unpacked boxes while you prepare for yet another move. And by prepare, I mean wander around aimlessly from room to room trying to figure out what to do next, or excusing yourself from new utility service setup calls because you can’t choke out the answers to the questions they’re asking.

Know what else is strong? Calling lifelines to ask for help when it’s the last thing you want to do. Reaching out to the people who know you best to say, “Help me. Please. Tell me what to do next. This next hour, this next day. Because I am utterly lost.” And when you hear your best friend’s call to attention, “Stacey, now you listen to me…” you do exactly that. Listen. When your sister says, “Congratulations. You’re finally feeling it,” you try to believe it is a gift of release, and then keep crying.

And most of all, what’s strong AF is staying out of blame—of self and of others. It’s so nauseatingly easy to blame yourself, situations, and other people. But taking ownership, that takes strength, especially when so many people just want “the fight,” as though somehow someone ends up winning and feeling better. It takes guts to hold another’s hands in your own and ask how you contributed to the situation, and then take that perspective right the hell to your next therapy appointment and delve deep.

This isn’t about “letting the other person off.” This is about letting yourself off. Using this information as a pathway to eventual peace because as someone once said to me in the most vulnerable of moments, “I am so tired of carrying around this heavy load. I just want to put it down.” I get it now. I’m so over moving I could vomit. Moving boxes, moving suitcases, moving furniture, and most of all moving my own baggage.

It doesn’t take strength to move all this sh*t—it takes strength to put it down.

So yeah, I will remember who I am. I’m sad. I’m afraid. I’m staying in it until it passes. And that means I’m strong, right here, from this reclined position.

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