bookbinding my heart

I bound this journal together, and it kind of felt like I was binding myself together too.

In these past 10 months, I have uttered: “I just want to be happy!!” so many times, it’s become quite ridiculous. If you’re wondering, it didn’t work – I’m still sad. Apparently, you can’t just flip a switch and not be sad anymore.

Life just doesn’t work that way.

As Eleanor Shellstrop pointed out on a recent episode of The Good Place, “We’re all a little sad… all the time. That’s just the deal. And if you try to ignore your sadness, it just ends up leaking out of you anyway.”

I am fascinated by sadness – how it’s something we can feel very deeply but not something we can put into words. A couple weeks ago, I had a very hard day at work and I found myself sitting on the edge of my bed tears running down my cheeks, barely breathing, telling my cousin over and over again, “I can’t do this again, I can’t be this sad again. I can’t–”

I wonder if the reason we fear sadness is due to not understanding it. Not knowing how to truly feel the things we feel – the hurt, the pain, the loss – and move forward from it.

Maybe we just see sadness as a weakness and not something that makes us human.

But, we all get sad and the thing is, the best stories come out of sadness, heartbreak, loss.

Don’t they?

There is something so deep and true about a sad story. Perhaps, because sad stories aren’t completely sad, they actually have moments of joy that shine through and show the reality of life.

We live in a world where bad things happen all the time and people are cruel. Sometimes, it’s easy for me to feel defeated and think this is all the world will ever be: heartless.

But tonight, I bound this journal together, and it kind of felt like I was binding myself together too. I pulled the thread through the holes, one by one. At first, I was hasty – thinking I could get through each hole quickly without any complications. But, soon enough I discovered, I had to go slower to make sure the pages remained still. At times, the thread would get all knotted up and I had to pause to undo the knot – some were easier than others.

Eventually, I got into the swing of things and the process became super easy. Yet, even then, there were times the thread got all jumbled together and I had to pause to fix it.

When I finished, I felt like I had this “Aha!” moment.

Helping your heart heal takes time. I hate that I say that but it’s true. You can’t force the feelings away or make yourself feel better. Sometimes, it takes the diligence of daily moving one step forward and pausing to fix the knots.

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iain s. thomas and why you should be reading his book

I have a new favorite author! His name is Iain S. Thomas. Well, he’s been a new favorite of mine since early March… which is around the time I shared a quote on this blog from his book I Wrote This For You.

Goodness. I really like him because he writes stories, prose, and poetry.

All things I obviously I love.

Wow, I am using very intense language right now: really like, love…

ANYWAYS. Iain (cause obvi he and I are pals and we’re on a first-name basis!) published a book in 2015 (almost exactly two years ago!) (wow, lots of parathesis going on here…) titled: How to be Happy: Not a Self-Help Book. Seriously.

A book I am currently reading for the second time… Yes, it’s that good.

Let me explain:

Back in March, I was sad… a lot. And often. It was kind of a problem because I really didn’t want to be sad. I would actually get really mad at times that I was sad but being mad only made me sadder. Mostly because it was the kind of sad you can’t really tell yourself not to feel, right? You just feel it every day, until there comes a day when it for some reason decides to leave you.

That’s just how it goes. I think.

All to say, my sadness and desire not to be sad led me to Iain. Well, to his book.

At the time, I was stuck in an airport terminal with six hours to kill and iBooks only gives you limited pages of a book to sample before it hooks you in for the purchase. Needless to say, it’s safe for you to assume that I most definitely bought Iain’s book on my laptop and finished it in one sitting!

I bring this up because Iain writes this book with great self-awareness. Honestly, I think I could quote his whole damn book because it’s amazing and you should go read it right now… Even if you aren’t struggling with sadness.

But, if you are sad right now… Consider this, as Iain so beautifully poses:

“I think sadness is there to make us avoid the things that are bad for us.

Sadness is a way for the person deep down inside you to take care of you, the person desperately trying to keep you alive despite everything. They reach out from the dark inside you and pinch your heart between their fingers so that you’ll stop whatever you’re doing and look around you, and wonder why your heart feels so very, very sore.”

I mean, how beautiful is that?

Your own self, looking out for your own self… Yes, perhaps this process hurts, but (as Iain shares earlier in his book) we wouldn’t really know what being happy means… if we didn’t know sadness.

(Wow, kind of sounding like the movie Inside Out, now.)

Ok, but really… Perhaps, if you are feeling sad… its actually there to help you and somehow, pave the way back to joy.

Idk, just think about it.