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Where I Found The Courage To Stay Soft

Jessie MaComment

Isn't it incredible how, with all the knowledge modern science has gathered about the world.. the concept of Time & Space remains exactly that – a concept?

I've always been intrigued by how such abstract ideas had the power to shape the universe, and our conceptual reality, in such definite ways. 

Years, mili-seconds, being "late" or "early" – aren't these all just words? 

I came to realize that "time" was more flexible in nature than I gave it credit for. My heart, when it missed someone, would ache for an eternity within 1 week. Years after "time" was up for my friends and family who passed, my mind still remembers their voices and scents like they just left the room. Lingering, refusing to say goodbye.

I embraced Love's ability to transcend Time.

But Space was another idea to be explored. 

Each of us, at our core, (or in my case, worn on my sleeve), has an undeniable, inescapable, insatiable human craving that fights to be fulfilled. And that is simply: for each other. To connect, to be touched, grazed, moved, and transported into those around us in a way that could take us out of our own minds and bodies and overlap onto another. This is what gives our lives any meaning beyond having simply existed. The love, the legacy, the courage to be soft enough to feel. 

Yet, so much of our experience will suggest that it's safer to act otherwise. We're surrounded by messages that celebrate selfishness and separation, masked as empowerment or individualism. 

"Not caring" became cool. Bluntness bled into rudeness, and being better than people took the place of being good to them. 

I'm an advocate for self-sufficiency. In fact, becoming more independent and less needy has become one of the main motifs in my life as of late. But I also believe that the point of this independence, is to be able to cultivate enough love for yourself, so that you can then give it to others without feeling stingy. 

It's the equivalent of, during an in-flight emergency, putting your oxygen mask on, watching the child next to you struggle, and doing nothing to help. You saved yourself. That's enough, right?

And that's just a mild case. That's just neglect.

We actively hurt each other. It's atrocious, really, the things we subject each other to, knowing full well just how delicate the human psyche is. You'd think that a mistake made unto you would motivate you not to hurt another in the same way, but we do. We hurt people because we've been hurt. Because we don't care. Because we try too hard to protect ourselves. We put other people at risk, because.. Apathy is trending, I guess. 

My heart's been cracked and bruised in several places – an unsurprising fact, seeing as how I place it into hands that aren't exactly careful. Although I've come to be wiser and more patient, I never let the fear of more wounding deter me from using it.

I continued to love and long and lust for the pleasures in life. Dance, music, food, words, sex, sleep, every single way there is to experience the people around you. To me, all the pain and suffering in the world couldn't compare to the potential rewards I could have. This faith allowed me to want. And I wanted. I wanted so many things, so much.

"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."

 – Kurt Vonnegut

Obviously, I've always been soft. Even in times it would've been more self-preserving to to be more cold, I refused to change my fundamental nature because of a few cuts and bruises. 

Call this foolish or idealistic, but that's what made me me. And those who put up walls after having been hurt, are denying themselves the very thing that makes it so divine to be alive. What makes us human. What makes us. 

Stay Soft. 

You see, 

not caring is not a sign of wisdom.

Wisdom is knowledge + compassion, and without compassion, we just have another damaged, cynical soul.

With all the hurt and hope you've collected, I hope you rise above, and develop the ability to control and manage your love. That's the essence of strength and integrity.

Because the reality of it is,

we are all deeply flawed and we are all deeply fearful.

But there is an abundance of suffering in the world already. If you harden, who will make it soft again?

I have a friend. Who is absolutely crazy. And I love it.

Hyper-intelligent, scarily witty, with a big ego (eh), but an exponentially bigger heart (ah), he goes a mile a minute, and I relish the challenge of keeping up.

A few weeks ago, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. 

Now, it is possible it's not terminal. He could very well have a full recovery and live the rest of his life in all his fast-paced glory. 

But the medication he's taking is essentially robbing him of any capacity to feel. Pleasure or pain. Lust or disgust. He's just floating through the days.

"You can get naked in front of me right now, and I wouldn't get a boner. I just can't!" 

He jokes, but it hurts.

It's a medical and extreme case, but I have a feeling several of us can relate to that numbness. 

Depression is not defined so much by negative emotions, but rather, the inability to feel any emotions. 

It is not happiness, that recovering depressives search for, but the ability to feel happiness (or unhappiness, for that matter.)

For someone who wanted so much, and felt the highs of experiencing them, or the dejection of not, I used to hop from Cloud 9 to the darkest pits of heartache, daily.. So naturally, nothing scared me more than my own apathy. The numbness, the static, the white noise. 

"I want to want something." I would say. "Anything."

I had no appetite. Didn't enjoy dancing. Couldn't write. Felt suffocated by my friends. It took all the willpower in the world just to get up and take my dog outside to pee, then I'd return to bed resentful and even more drained. 


Back to Time & Space.

I discovered my softness again, in a place that's not a place, but an in between.

I wanted to want something, badly. And while my past habits would've led me into another person, this time, I found it in my own curiosity.

He is eerily so much like me, and dissimilar in a way teaches me more about myself. He laughs at my jokes and makes me laugh harder. He takes my ideal scenario and makes it better. We have conversations that branch off topics and tangents that turn into epiphanies. He isn't afraid to give me tough love, which is perhaps the thing that impresses and inspires me the most.

He pushes me to discover myself. In the quiet act of being curious about someone, I was blessed with the unintentional side effect of renewing my love and interest for the world around me.

Technically thousands of miles away, but our connection reduces Distance to an afterthought. As much as I crave more concrete, physical interactions, the purity of our exchange in a space that's neither here nor there – that's what makes our communion so special. 

When two people act out their relationship, even with good intent, many of the practices become a routine or a charade. Love turns into dependence and attachment grows through conditioning. 

And my personal restoration is proof enough that the intangible trumps the tangible. Proof that Space, like Time, is no match for a thing like Love.