I often wonder how many times I’ve started a sentence with “I feel like”. It always seems to be about how I feel, and at the same time I feel like I ignore my feelings. I think about how many times I have felt like I was going to break, crack up, or go crazy. It’s why I didn’t want to do drugs. I felt like it would get me there faster, and I would never come back. I like the idea sometimes of never coming back, never coming back to the part of me that holds on to normal. I don’t imagine I’ll start dropping acid anytime soon, but I don’t want to be afraid to lose it anymore. Maybe I’m not.
I stood in a room last night, a room of relative strangers, but not so strange that I couldn’t break down in front of them. I started to speak. Then I started to cry, and then I couldn’t breathe, or more accurately I was trying to breathe through the crying to calm myself down, I was holding on to my belly. Holding my stomach as if that was where all the tears were sitting, pressing down to keep them from reaching my eyes, my throat. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the suffering in the world. By all the pain we cause each other. By all the ways I try to shut down my pain, or flog myself with it, as if the feelings I have are weak and stupid. That my breaking down last night, or having natural human emotions, made me look unstable. In reality, what happened after I finished talking and crying was alot of people coming up to me, hugging me and thanking me. I sat down and a friend of mine asked me how I survived in the Downtown Eastside for so long. I guess he didn’t know how I could maintain the connection if I cry so easily. I came to the community, and I became a part of it in some ways. I had many kinds of experiences; from the traumatic, to the incredibly joyful, and heartbreaking. I learned how to get angry there, and that my crying was a good sign. It means I still feel. It means my heart hasn’t hardened to what I’ve seen. It means I will not accept the circumstances that cause unnessecary suffering. It means I am not complacent.