pain cannot be measured

you don’t have to explain to people that you’re in a place where you are diligently being conscience of your existence, it’s importance, and the impact you make on others. why you matter. that you matter. accepting it and believing it. or that you've just begun, or never given it any thought. or simply just need to express you are in a vulnerable state and need those around you to be sensitive and gentle. not everyone struggles with this burden of not believing we matter, that people care about us. not everyone can give us what we need, understand what we need, or care to listen, learn, help, or be fucking real for one second, and stop thinking about their programmed instant gratification; its forms have seeped into every privileged human’s grasp at ease intentionally. to distract. to water down the mind so subtly, like a frog in room temperature water that eventually starts boiling and does not jump out. some people float like dead sea weed. not many people have the strength, courage, and discipline within themselves to reflect for a significant amount of time on a regular basis about anything at all. their dreams, their thoughts, their actions, all coming from other people thoughtlessly.

like eating every single thing ever put in front of you saying “yummy,” never thinking to yourself, “is this actually good or is this good because I have been conditioned to believe it is?” all of the clichés are true which is why they leave a bad taste in your mouth. most of what we experience is bullshit, fabricated content meant to lead us from one thought to another. we accept what we have been deceived to believe we deserve, and no one but us is responsible for putting in the work to unlearn this. learning what healthiness and purity is, how people that have the privilege of being in our presence in any way for any amount of time should treat us actually looks like takes much time and much effort. it takes even more effort to give a fuck enough to accept that that is true. genuinely feeling comfortable in healthy situations and relations with a sense of gratitude, while acknowledging you genuinely deserve it always, without question, guilt or doubt, comes with diligent practice. not only that but patience from people with equally beautiful hearts, who all can grow and heal together in endless ways. we deserve the help we receive from others spiritually and we deserve the pleasure we get from improving the spiritual experience of this life for others. learning that we do not deserve what we were forced to learn to survive through and was our past “normal” is equally as heartbreaking for our past self as it is liberating for our current and future selves. by “normal” I mean what we adapted to expecting to survive til the next day. whether we did this consciously or subconsciously depends on an endless list of factors, one of them being the presence, type and level of abuse we were exposed to, and how often, by whom, and at what age. we all grow up in environments that are flawed and uniquely damaging. they are never exactly quite the same, but sometimes so horrifyingly close the pain is understood among sufferers, or as I like to refer to them, and myself, survivors. I have shifted what used to cause me the deepest shame, confusion, anger... sadness, self-pity, and hardship into pride, acceptance, acknowledgement and power. almost like an invisible badge of honor I use to protect myself from inevitable things like judgement, misunderstanding, projection, abuse, and all injustice I, and every single one of us, experiences on a day to day basis. understanding that you do not deserve the things that happen to you is such a difficult and personal triumph. it would take eons to accurately articulate what that means to me and what it looks like. it is a mountain for another night. tonight I am focusing on taking pride in the fact that some people, most people, considering the fact that there are seven billion of us and counting, will not know the real you. the justified representation of what you really have to offer to this world at its most raw, vulnerable core. your heart will not be appreciated by every single person who has the privilege of it being exposed to them. some people do not recognize pure beauty, love, and grace because it is so foreign to them. some people simply don’t have good taste. some people are surviving with a mask. some people are so out of tune with who the hell they are they have absolutely no leg to stand on when it comes to criticism and backlash that you should give no value and energy to them. there is an eternal list of reasons why people do the things that they do. one thing that will save you a lot of pain is realizing none of these actions are your fault, represent you in any way, and it is your choice how deeply you allow rejection, misrepresentation, misunderstanding, apathy, manipulation, and not being heard, discourage you, and make you shut down, and lose your train of thought, and not feel like it’s worth it anymore to be you. to say what you were going to say. to take command of everyone’s attention in the room without feeling guilty for who you are, the fact that you have an opinion, and are taking up space and time. you only are on this earth for so long. you have the power to improve the existence of other people’s time here as well as your own. it is all in your hands, your heart, your mind, and your spirit. just like it took years and years to create these catastrophic, destructive, hindering, sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle, sometimes completely invisible to others, repetitive choices or reactions to things beyond our control, that have become habits deeply engrained, it takes years and years to decode it. to process it accurately, in healthy ways that really do your past justice. it is worth it. it is easy for me to say that because I am 24 years old now and have chosen, for the rest of my life, to dedicate time to listening to the quietest voices in my heart and soul that were silenced for the majority of my childhood and entirety of my adolescence. accepting all of my truths. healing and shifting. no longer thoughtlessly identifying as a victim who deserves to be one. thank you for allowing me to share a piece of my mind with you. we are currently not only exchanging meaningful thought that matters and is unique, but it is an absolute fucking miracle that we both have made that choice. I, to take the time to type it, and you, to take the time to read it, process it, and believe you matter enough for what I say to apply to you. or not apply to you. or make no sense. or some applies and some doesn’t and some could have been written better and in less words. to have an opinion that is yours. that you own with just the right amount of certainty, pride, courage to share it, wisdom to be open to new information that can lead you closer to the truth of the meaning of existence, and the true, selfless desire, to get to know just who the fuck you are. what you what to give. what you want us to remember.

-written by Sarah Maria

Sarah Maria photographed by Joseph Boyle

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