‘… that there is something on the other side of endurance.’ I read this as part of Aleya Kassam’s meditations on grief earlier last year. I’ve re- read that blog post over and over since. When I was back at what I like to call the ‘core of my grief’ and reaching out for her soothing words felt difficult, this sentence stuck. It resurfaced several times and I would whisper it to myself when I desperately needed to believe it. I still do, especially in the last couple of months where my grief has been all consuming and yet there is so much to celebrate, to be proud of myself for. How painful joy can be when it is a stark reminder of the weight of your losses.
My return to writing is less than exciting. I struggled to come back to this space that once felt easier to exist in. I find that when I am going through a difficult time, to be seen, heard, or perceived even in the least feels significantly more demanding. But, I want to allow myself to share myself, whole or partly, even while I’m hurting and maybe with time, especially then.
“If I were to write honestly
I would tell you how
I stopped writing or opening
because it was me,
on the other side,
wanting to be let in.“– Kei Miller
Endurance has felt like the terms and conditions of my existence for longer than I wanted, than I expected. I have also experienced immense joy, calm, love and wander. I’ve believed for a long time now that seeking out these feelings with intention is the only way to make the endurance bearable, livable. ‘That there is something on the other side of endurance’, is hopeful. My mind wanders and honestly, fixates on this ‘other side’ often. It sounds to me like the ‘after’ everyone especially spoke of when we were just at the start of the pandemic, when we thought there was an ‘after’, a ‘return to normalcy’. I wonder whether ‘the other side’ is ‘after’ in terms of time and if so, if everything we endure has an ‘after’. I think about what it means to freeze myself in now, in surviving, in hope, waiting for the ‘something’. What if the ‘something’ is endurance by another name, on different terms?
I am deciding that ‘the other side’ is not bound by time, that I am not waiting for it indefinitely. The other side exists enmeshed in the endurance. Here, in the days and fleeting moments when I feel lighter and possible, where love and ease hold and surround me. Where my childlike self is immersed in all my quirky curiosities and I am beyond survival. I get to be on the other side, here in the midst of it. I am wholly allowing myself to exist, even when it hurts and sometimes overwhelms to feel all these things simultaneously.
“I exist not only for resistance; I exist also for joy, I exist also for wholeness, I exist also for love.
I exist especially for joy, I exist especially for wholeness, I exist especially for love.”– OluTimehin Adegbeye