A few days ago, I became very touched by a movie about Michelle Obama and her journey as the First Lady.
There was one book signing scene in particular that brought me to tears.
Michelle was sitting at her desk as people stood in line to greet her one by one. One woman touched Michelle’s hand and started telling her about her personal life journey, hardly keeping tears inside. It was as if she took her pain inside from her heart, and set it down in front of a complete stranger, on the desk.
Watching this exchange made me start thinking about great emotional pain. Pain so big, it can no longer fit inside the body. Are we all carrying it, looking for strangers that can help us with our burdens? We can spend years and years in therapy, we can read all kinds of self-help books, but in my opinion, it seems as though the pain never leaves us.
I love poetry, and as a poet I go through life with my pockets full of metaphors. Pain is bigger than it seems. Dealing with it is like sweeping your house–you keep it clean, but dust always comes back. You have to learn to coexist with the dust. Sometimes I like to compare my pain to a clogged pipe: in order to clean a pipe, you have to go deeper into the pipeline, asking yourself, what caused this pain?
When thinking about this, my mind sometimes goes to Frida Kahlo. She is the symbol of art in my eyes, full of pain. With every painting she created, she turned both her emotional and physical pain into beautiful art. Her pain also did not fit into her small body. I love this quote by her:
“Painting completed my life. I lost three children and a series of other things that would have fulfilled my horrible life. My painting took the place of all of this. I think work is the best.”
It is easy to love the cheerful side of yourself, but your emotional pain is also lovable, and it needs love even more.
My message is this: be aware of your pain. Dive deep into its core. Don’t hide it.
Get to know your emotional pipeline and, ultimately turn your pain into beauty.