Photo: Carly Mountain
I used to be very afraid of sadness.
I feel like I never let myself experience true sadness until nursing school, which was about six years ago.
I was compromised and because of my actions, I was faced with what I had considered the most intense emotional state. All of a sudden, and without appropriate resources to really handle what I was being confronted with, I melted internally and became scared of these waves of emotion. But more than anything, what I do remember from that entire experience was completely rejecting any real conscious admittance of negatively charged emotions, primarily loneliness and sadness.
It took me three months to even be able to write down the words, “I am lonely.” Things would circle in my head, thoughts such as, “I don’t get lonely, I am never sad so I can’t be now,” and I would acknowledge them as true. I would believe my superficiality and fear regarding what embracing those emotions meant, and I was scared of the energy required in having them as part of me. Additionally, and honestly, I didn’t want people to see me sad for fear of what it meant about me.
So as life progressed forward, I was able to admit to myself that I was sad and lonely and that I needed support. I felt though that no emotions could challenge those that I felt in nursing school. Until this year.
This year provided me a level of sadness that I didn’t know possible. It is a void that eats to my core, and is something that I fully embrace as part of my life. I feel like the more sadness I can contain, the more joy I can hold. And so as of right now, I use sadness as a guide.
The sadness that I feel helps me understand and care for my soul. It allows me to understand what my needs are and helps me understand my inner workings. And if I listen to that sadness, and pay attention to the exact needs that are truest to my nature, I discover more about what Greer is and not what Greer should be.
Such a different space to be living compared to where I am now, but am so grateful for those years for they brought me to where I am now. There have been tragedies and triumphs and everything in between since nursing school, but I wouldn’t trade any of it.
A beautiful exercise is to embrace those challenging periods as they are happening, for in retrospect, we can see that they are nothing short of beautiful.
Sadness is a guide, it is not something to be feared or turned against; it is something to be embraced. So I embrace it in order to become better friends with me.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel