I'm Done Romanticizing my Sorrow


My dad texts us at midnight panicking about his spiraling life. He can't find housing, he is going to jail again, he can't survive on his own. In the mistiness of his panic, I sensitively soak in his sadness. I want to take all the anxiety from his bones and so I respond, and I respond, and I respond, and I respond, and I disappear a little. When I explain that the responsibility to repair, to bridge, to de-escalate, to perform damage control with my family continuously falls on my shoulders my therapist firmly tells me, "no one falls on your shoulders, you catch them." I ask, "Is it love that motivates me and if so how can you tell someone to not martyr themselves for those they love?" and as our time runs out, I am more lost than found I recede back into myself.

I am alone, most days I'm alone. It's a painfully indulgent habit I've picked up over the years and have held onto as defense against all people. Often I've stated this to only be as a favor to them. I am able to access my thoughts much better in this space, but also I am left alone with my thoughts which is sometimes, the worst. In this arena, all sorrow is welcomed, and as a familiar, I really dig my heels in and let it all, all of it wash over me. As conceptually counterproductive it sounds to do this I do it, for sorrow is someone I have always known to be consistent. Someone I run to when I disappear myself in others worry or problems. I am able and willing to be there for others (I think). Most people who I've still held close suffer from just surviving their personal pasts riddled with emotional trauma and who process language, information, emotions, and social situations differently. Most times they don't know what they do to hurt and this I understand. When you are drowning, you often run the risk of flooding your rescuer as you pull them into your panic.

The sorrow, the inevitable pain is something that I have rewired or attempted to rewire many times over. In the beginning moments its hard to discern between what's scarier, the trip or the destination. Once you are there, you will have to look back at all you've let go, all that you knew to be yourself. Now, I might not ever reach a vista of actualization where I am able to allow things to fall where they may, but I'd like to think I can always be around to sweep up a little, ya know? A friend wrote today, mind you this is out of context, but my metaphorical brain took it as a mighty wind, “How many bones would we break if we fell." It reminded me that sometimes we fall. It is inevitable, we glue into it this Impact bias where we overestimate the length or the intensity of the impact on how our future will be. We are much stronger than we think. I must allow people to realize this on their own, sometimes. I want to reach a place where I can acknowledge sorrow for what it is and not romanticize it in a way that traps me or freezes me. It's easy in the world of super isolation, that is our modern society to romanticize sorrow. We see it every day, people feel that some things are not valid unless they are drenched in pain, it is a currency. It is the starting point, It is the conversation starter, it is a selling point. I am done recognizing it as a romantic feeling that promotes a mysterious or profound attractive trait. This is a thing or things that have made me, but I will re-frame them, as they are things to acknowledge and rework how they effect me. It is important to have #goals.

Richard Gutierrez