LANGUAGE AS SELF- PRESERVATION

Grief is not language I use to describe how I feel.

Between the long instagram captions and countless podcast episodes reminding us that it is okay to grieve the plans we had and the ‘normal’ we knew, I’ve encountered this word more frequently lately than ever before. Even when I’m not reading about grief, I can almost feel it lingering in the air, tainting other emotions, other feelings.

When this year began, I knew a lot was going to be shifting and changing in my life. I knew that there’d be a lot of endings, they had already started to unfold in the smallest ways. I had started having little adulting realisations for a while before this reality that the transition was here hit. Then there was loss. Crippling loss- the kind you can feel occupying the length of your phalanges slowly then all at once. Then came the global pandemic.

My inner child only validated grief when it was coupled with loss, loss with some semblance of permanence. It is for this reason that I’ve found it difficult to allow grief to describe my losses thus far. Even if love, relationship, versions of self or experiences lost may be quantified as grief, my experiences felt less than. Always a little too small to fit into the box I had given grief. Now I think maybe it’s easier to label things this way because it makes them seem more figureoutable. So maybe a good number of my aches and pains have been grief but it was easier to process them as more familiar feelings- ‘outgrowing each other’, ‘heartbreak’, the like.

Images c/o @mylittleminiverse

For a number of my more recent experiences however, I have became more aware of my lack of labels for especially conflicting feelings. I could describe how I felt almost to a tee but in many words, too many in my opinion. Overwhelm was the single word that came close to making me feel seen. Not to anyone else, just me. Lately, with everything going on around the world, all factors considered, I am allowing and recognising that a lot of my feelings are taking up the shape of and occupying room in that box, the grief one.

@tweetmoraa described the current state of the world as ‘a crisis of care’. As we go further into containment measures and different parts of ourselves change, grow and adapt, this statement feels even more apt. As I continue to navigate my 20s in these strange uncertain, often unnerving times, recognising my grief, even just little facets of it, has given me room to center caring for myself. To be patient as I learn new ways to self soothe and tend to my heart. To try and remember to hold myself in softness especially when I start to feel heavy or weary or both.

For grieving humans like me.

wrap yourself in softness,

understanding, self- forgiveness and

compassion.

always adding heavy doses of comfort.

everything has some sort of beginning and end.

breathe.

even the sadness you are drowning in now, will soon depart.

– Nwabisa M.

Have Courage and Be Kind,

Michelle.

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