Recently, I’ve realized that even though I want to be an advocate for change, I’m not. I think I like the idea of “change” and want to embrace it with open arms, but I just can’t. And– although many will say I’m being juvenile or anxiety-ridden… [pause] Well, I’m not. The thing is, it’s really all about nostalgia. It’s hard to let go of old wounds, even if we know it’s best for us. It feels good to put hurtful past experiences behind us, and it’s nice to look back on our childhoods and reminisce about the “good old days,” so what’s the problem with change?
I’ll tell you my problem with change. It’s simple. My problem is (1) accepting loss and having to mourn because of it and (2) being forgotten because I’m forced to move forward. I know, I know. “That’s life, Lauren.” But I think, to get even more specific, the “loss” we deal with becomes almost unbearable when it’s entwined with even the slightest hint of cruelty. And this my friends, is the case more often than not. How many of us have been let down? (heads nod) Heartbroken? (heads nod) Treated unfairly? (heads nod) Felt left out? (heads nod) You’re seeing and recognizing the abominable trend. When awful things like the above listed occur, normally change ensues. It’s like our bodies are being forced to do something we’re not ready for, like our fathers are pushing us down a steep tar hill without training wheels. Sometimes, there just aren’t any rules. But, once again, I’ve learned that one of the most beautiful things about being human is that we don’t give up.
This brings me back to late May of this year. I had my students write a poem about a news article in The Bay Citizen (check it out: https://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/change-agents/survivor-bridge-jump-advocates-mental/). One of my students rose her hand and said, “Miss Fedorko, people don’t really want to commit suicide, even if they say they do.” She went into the article a bit further and then read her poem about four friends who chose to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge, and as they were falling had gut-wrentching regrets. The article’s subject who tried to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge but survived, Kevin Hines, states, “The very second I let go, I knew I had made a big mistake.” Think about that for a moment. Wow. Just, wow. The desire to be alive that lives within a human is really admirable, beautiful even.
And then it hit me, in the middle of my creative writing class at 9:16 in the morning at the age of twenty-five– The desire to live despite all the bullshit is what makes change so extraordinary. Sometimes, still, when I’m being sad-nostalgic (there is a such thing as happy-nostalgic too), I think that my life is not worth living. This lasts for thirty seconds (tops) before I am reminded of how I still have more poems to write, more people to love, more knowledge bombs to drop, and more gratitude to give. I need more time!
So, today (And I can assure you, it’s a sad one for me. I have to leave the school I love teaching at, I miss my old loves and feel empty inside because of them, I am living alone, I’ve been feeling insecure at times… the list goes on) I want to thank the girl who wrote the poem based off of that article, for she has reminded me, months later yet again, that my desire is what makes me beautiful and what allows me to keep going.
There is bliss in life, and there is pain. But, I can assure you, both have their ways of being beautiful, so be grateful for them.