Every Sunrise Is Worth It
I woke up at the crack of dawn, unable to sleep because my mind was in a haze, partly from illness, and partly because I’m stirring. The last few months I’ve been proactive in trying to understand aspects of myself that fall short to my ambitions. I’ve gone to great lengths to uncover those things, which has been a rather painful experience. It’s like shedding a thousand pounds that you can’t even see. You feel raw, exposed, disproportionate.
I’ve done some wonderful things this past year, as well as made many mistakes. And I’m grateful for all of it. But, pain has a way of punching you in the gut as soon as you quit clenching. It all comes rushing back—the heartache, the empty pit, the mundane nuisance of having to go to the damn store, groom yourself. As I watch the sun rise above my neighborhood, I think: Every sunrise is worth it.
One of my best friends died many years ago, and I remember her on days like these. She was a tree-hugger, a green-eyed hippie, a gardener of hearts. She took her life, we were told, though there’s a part of me that never believed it. Sometimes I breathe for her a little. Although there’s a tightness in my chest, there is also fresh air.
In recent months, so many friends have unwittingly said the most magical things to me. Their words built me up, gave me power, gave me enough strength to keep depleting, keep pushing. Then there are the laughs, fun drunken nights, a felt embrace, the scent of Sebastian’s skin. Love is such a potent force. It’s stronger than the dirtiest words, than physical pain, than loss. I look around at people, all brothers and sisters on this crooked family tree, suffering in our own language. The way we deal with pain defines us, influences our choices. Our choices compose our lives.
It’s easy to feel angry when people treat us unfairly, but the option to love them back is so rewarding, so empowering. We sabotage progress by wallowing in hurt egos or fixating on what’s already occurred. Or worse, we pretend. We insulate ourselves under layers and layers, to the point that we no longer feel, because we think not feeling is better than hurting, denying one of life’s most precious gifts. Pain is a frame of reference. If you’ve had the privilege of suffering great loss, it means you’ve also enjoyed the privilege of having something to lose.
Each day we live a little more, which means we die a little more. We can’t have one without the other. Making the choice to fearlessly coddle that thin line is probably the closest thing to living.