I like to read the back page essays in the Boston Globe Magazine. I read for the stories: the man who thought he loved his wife until he cheated on her; the child who thought they loved their parent, until the parent developed dementia and starting hurling the plate of scrambled eggs every morning; the woman who thought it wasn’t possible to fall in love, until she met the hulking, shy man who helped move boxes into her small studio apartment; the kid who couldn’t succeed until they wrote a poem that got published in a national magazine. I read those stories because they help me accept the messy process by which I live– trying, failing, sometimes succeeding, trying again. The back page stories always get knotted into a tidy bow of insight or advice. Most of the time the bow is unsatisfying. Some version of, “life is complicated.” But I don’t mind, because I have the story. The painful, lovely struggle to be human. A reminder: I’m not the only person who has no idea what they’re doing, who has hopes, and disappointments, and keeps going. The story is the message: don’t worry, dear. Nobody really understands. The trying is all that matters. Keep trying.
Yesterday was hard. I almost gave up. I hung on.
Why does that truth feel so dangerous to reveal? Shouldn’t we know that about each other? That some days are hard? How can we step into the world, knowing that we have uttered those words?