FORGOTTEN SOUND OF LAUGHTER
At the beginning of every new month, I have a habit of setting my monthly goals in my planner. Being the extreme organizer that I am who only functions on order and structure (yes, I cannot have so much as a meal unless it’s scheduled down on my to-do list), I would have broken down my goals into daily tasks for every single day. For the past couple of months, I would have all these creative, inspirational blog content ideas. I assigned certain days during my weeks when I would sit to write and escape. But for some reason, when the time came, I couldn’t do it. At times I would write, but it wasn’t what was on schedule. My thoughts have been dark and gloomy, and well, if it wasn’t on the schedule to post something bleak, it just wasn’t happening. More importantly, the world already has enough of the “doom and gloom” going around that I did not want to add to it.
But again, this is a safe place that I created where I try to be as authentic as possible and not portray some fantasy of a perfect life. I struggle a lot. And recently, I found myself struggling more than usual. It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I realized that I actually have forgotten the sound of laughter. I was on the phone with my uncle and his wife, and they were just being goofballs cracking away with jokes. I genuinely laughed talking with them on the phone. Minutes after we bid farewell and I hung up the phone, I noticed an odd feeling within me. Odd in the sense that it felt familiar, yet, foreign. It is very true what they say; emotions/feelings manifest in the cells of our bodies. Don’t ask me how. I couldn’t explain it in words, but I promise you I could feel the cells of my body vibrating to a different beat after that good laugh.
There’s been a lot of pain, hurt, suffering and anxiety around me lately that had consumed me to a degree of numbness. The sad part is, physically, where I am, it is pretty good. I mean, things could always be better, but it is good good. However, where my family is is troubling and concerning, and everyone in the country is functioning on high anxiety. The empath that I am consumes every emotion around me – anxiety, depression, fear, loneliness, the pain! Because I know I am an empath, I am usually very strict with my boundaries otherwise, I would never function in life taking in everyone’s emotions. However, this time around, I was having difficulty creating those boundaries because they felt selfish. More than feeling selfish, I was afraid of letting pain and suffering become normal. I was afraid that this would mean accepting that this is just our new world. A world where you are losing people every day; A world where people are losing jobs and security every day; A world where every morning you’re being greeted by the voice of hopelessness.
I wish I was bringing you a bit more content with this post. But like I said before, I am here to be authentic. And authentically speaking, I do not have the words of hope or encouragement for this new world. I can just wake up every day and do what is left for me to do. Every morning I practise my meditation and gratitude journaling. I try to carry gratitude with me through my days. I am grateful for the safe environment I am living in. I am grateful for the health of my parents. I am grateful for the lives of my brothers and cousins. I am grateful for the access to communicate with my friends and check in on them. I am grateful for a means of finance. I am grateful for the courage today to publish this blog post (well, I hope I do make it to the end to publish this, and it doesn’t wind up as one of my many unpublished drafts).
Because I am so “solution-based”, I feel out of comfort to merely speak on issues without solutions. But maybe this is the time to just talk. No “feel good” remedy, No “overcoming” antidotes, No “self-care” therapies. Simply a time to talk and listen to each other. I know it’s not easy for most people to talk. Recently a friend told me that they find me strong because I can openly talk about my mental health. But I don’t want to be strong. Especially with the events of 2020, strength is the last thing I want to associate myself with. I want to rest and be NORMAL. I have come to make an observation about this topic of mental health. On one spectrum, some will ridicule you and shame you for daring to speak on such “taboo” issues. While I am happy to see the narrative gradually shifting and people opening up a little more about mental health, I am not particularly enthusiastic that the needle seems to be shifting at the extreme end. Especially with this climate, I do not want to endorse speaking on one’s mental state to be reserved only for the “strong”. This is not some social movement that only a selected few are gifted with the courage and power to stand up for. This is something that collectively, as a being, we all experience. I want the conversations to be normalized. I want the taboo out of the window, together with the strong. I want to talk and not have glaring eyes of admiration sharing about dealing with anxiety, experiencing depression, or share that I am considering getting back on my meds. There is nothing admirable about any of these. But, they are absolutely normal and humane to deal with. If you are hurting, I am too; your parents are hurting too; your friends are hurting too; your colleagues are hurting too. You are not alone in this. Let’s normalize the conversation. It is absolutely fine if we don’t have the solutions right now. Maybe through our conversations, solutions may emerge. And more importantly, perhaps laughter will make a more frequent appearance to most of us who have lost it.
To many who have lost loved ones, I am sending you warm virtual hugs and love; my prayers are with you. To many who are sick or dealing with sick loved ones, I wish you a speedy recovery and will hold you in my prayers. To many dealing with anxiety and depression, my hope is that you find something to wake up for every day. It’s Ok to set aside those “big goals” and put a pause on “productivity” right now and just concentrate on today alone. If making a mean bomb meal is all you could do today, take joy in that and celebrate that. I am proud of you!
Until the next time, sending you some of that good-good mental health stuff!