March 29, 2012
Dandelions in the Wind
[Author’s note: The following post is about an Andrea Gibson poem, which can be seen/heard here.]
To anyone who has ever wanted to die: I have been told sometimes the most healing thing we can do is remind ourselves over and over and over other people feel this too // The tomorrow that has come and gone, and it has not gotten better // When you’re half finished writing that letter to your mother that says I swear to God I tried.
Andrea Gibson performed at UNC last week, and it was fantastic. I’ve been a big fan of her spoken word for a while now, but hearing her speak in person was an entirely different experience. As I’ve said before, Andrea’s words usually make so much more sense than the ones in my own head—feeling the energy of those words echo in a room full of people was one of the coolest experiences of my life thus far. One of the best parts of Andrea’s work is that she truly speaks from the heart and addresses issues that most people feel more comfortable just ignoring. This is one of Andrea’s newest poems, and she performed it last week at UNC. Out of the 10-15 poems that she performed, this one moved my heart the most.
You are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy // I have never met a heavy heart that wasn’t a phone booth with a red cape inside // Some people will never understand the kind of super power it takes for some people to just face the day.
These words. There’s something really beautiful about a heavy heart—it’s a testament to love and pain and living. I don’t really know how to express how much admiration I have for people who have the strength to face the day.
What I know about living is that pain is never just ours.
I think it’s easier for us to believe that pain is a solitary experience. We can hide away in our own troubles and ignore everyone around us. Because letting other people in, that’s the scary part. That’s the part that takes strength and bravery when we feel as though we have nothing else to give.
Here we are, together at the window, aching for it to all get better // But knowing there is a chance, our hearts may have only just skinned their knees // Knowing there is a chance, the worst thing might still be coming // Let me say right now for the record, I’m still gonna be here—asking this world to dance.
As great as the “It Get’s Better” campaign was in terms of opening up dialogue, I don’t think it necessarily sent the right message. Yes, one day your life will be better. But, one day, it might be worse too. And that’s okay, because that’s life. What we need to be saying is that we are here, wearing our red capes, making it through it all together. We, taking in this life together, will make it better.
The only thing we have to gain in staying is each other // My god, that is plenty // My god, that is enough // My god, that is so so much.