By Emily Williams, Assistant Features Editor
Pain is a funny thing. It comes in many forms and can be expressed in several different ways, but I think we can all agree on this particular aspect regarding pain: it seems endless.
Your nights are spent tossing and turning and it seems like no matter how hard you try, nothing can bring you the satisfaction or the peace of mind that you so desperately crave. You are stuck. You are caught up in a web of your own heartache, anxiety and regrets. The words you left unsaid when you knew you needed to speak up on behalf of someone being slandered and bullied and the words you wish you could reel back in after fighting with a loved one, the opportunities you threw away and the memories you wish you could erase, that is the company you carry into the early hours of the morning.
I have been there and I am sure you have been, too. In some form or fashion, we have all experienced moments when we feel utterly defenseless against our own minds. We feel defeated, helpless, unwanted and discouraged. No one is immune.
But let me tell you what I have learned to be true of pain: it fades.
We know all of the usual phrases. “It can’t rain forever,” or “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” or “The sun will come out tomorrow.” You’ve heard it all and it’s usually in the form of an overly-upbeat, Disney pop song. But casting aside clichés and thinking in more realistic terms, we have to be willing to look pain dead in the face and call it what it is: an obstacle to be conquered. A hurdle to be jumped. A mountain to be climbed. An opportunity for growth.
In my own life, I have come to find that heartache, while a real pain at the time, has always led to personal growth and ultimately left me better than it found me. I would not be who I am or where I am today if it were not for gut-wrenching, heartbreaking pain. Losing someone you believed you could never live without teaches you that you are complete and whole all on your own. Failing at something you really wanted to succeed in can point you in the direct of a true and fulfilling passion you never knew you had.
But I get it. In the moment, in those dark days of your life when it seems like there will be no light at the end of the tunnel and your pain is chronic, it’s easy to get bitter, to get defeated and to give up. But I encourage you to look up, to look out.
It hurts until it doesn’t. As little orphan Annie once said, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” Having experienced both the dark days and the days filled to the brim with sunshine, I agree with little Annie. Pain is necessary and it will come. And it will leave you better than it found you, too, if you let it. There is beauty in that. But the pain will fade, it will end and it will not be what defines the rest of your life. There is beauty in that, too.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason (another cliché, but hang with me here) and that every detail of our lives is woven and spun into a beautiful, intricate tapestry that will ultimately turn out to be a better design than we could ever dream up ourselves. We aren’t going to understand everything that happens to us in this life, but I truly believe in the end, it’s all going to make sense. Whatever pain you are going through today and whatever heartache has left you in pieces on the ground, beauty will come from those ashes and you will soar forward into better days.
The key is to remember that you can’t do this on your own. It may seem from our Facebook and Instagram feeds the lives of those around us are polished perfect and leave no room for mistakes or hiccups. It may seem that we are completely isolated in our pain and that no one around us is going through the same thing we are. It’s just not true and no matter how great we are at hiding it, the pain is there. So unmask it, address it and encourage each other through it. We weren’t meant to go at it alone.