By Brianna Wiest

There are mothers in Taiwan worried about getting their kids enough food for dinner. There are 20- and 30- and 40-somethings around the world and probably next door to you worried about rent and overspending and whether they’ll ‘have the money’ if anything were to arise. The love of your life is sitting in their apartment right now wondering if anybody will ever find them worthy.

Everyone thinks their body isn’t good enough. Everyone wants to change. Everyone has anxiety. Everyone worries. Everyone thinks they’re stupid and thinks about what other people could possibly think.

In fact, most people aren’t even judging you in the way you’re judging you because they’re too busy judging themselves.

Every single person suffers in the same way you do and are. In the same crumble-on-the-couch-count-your-pennies-worry-about-rent-drown-with-liquor-avoid-with-sex-suppress-suppress-suppress way.

You don’t hear these stories though. You assume that everybody else is financially stable because they manage, so on the surface, it appears as if they’re okay. You think everybody has love because you see pictures of them with friends or know that they’re in a relationship, and you assume that means they truly feel accepted and wanted and desired.

It’s the people who have risen on the other end of their shit that have the gall to tell their stories. The only stories you hear and read are the ones that are like “I was this way.” “I used to be unsure and unstable… but I’m not now, so you won’t be either eventually!” But almost nobody has the balls to write when they’re in the heat of it, to say that we’re all in the heat of something all the time.

You are not experiencing anything that thousands and millions of people before you haven’t. But what you are experiencing, like never before, is a running stream of constructed pixels that convince you that everybody has it together but you.

That you are in-between and everybody else is reaping the benefits of the after-math.

Your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents worried about paying the rent and keeping kids alive during depressions and wartimes and worse battlefields in their living rooms. But they didn’t know that their friends from college had it better or worse.

That’s our cross to bear. Our ancestors had different ones.

But the uncertainty transpires no matter the context. If you accept it as a part of being human, you’ll be better for it.

We fear for survival, even if it’s social or emotional or relational. We’ve developed a society that’s progressed far enough so the privileged among us don’t wonder how our daily needs are going to be met.

That’s why we are the people who suffer so mercilessly at the hands of lifestyle and success and whether or not we’ve had a “good life,” a beautiful life, a worthwhile life. We’ve rendered our instincts and survivalist drives obsolete, but we haven’t dismantled them.

And we’re not going to.

It’s not that we’re flawed or damned or burdened or inherently made to suffer. We are made to grow. However that growth is facilitated is a matter of culture and location and privilege and DNA and evolution and a whole bunch of other existential crap that we may never be able to fully understand the purpose or intention of, but it’s no matter. The real work gets done on the ground level.

We are made to look around and realize that the rent somehow always gets paid. That’s abundance. We are made to hold someone else’s fat and scarred and unbeautiful body and devote our lives to the sacred union we’ve chosen that ultimately encompasses doing the dishes and sharing money and getting the laundry done before Monday morning. That’s love. Getting through the worst emotional trauma of your life and because you bear no physical symptom suffering silently and still getting up and functioning anyway without anybody knowing? That’s survival too.

A belief is something you accept as truth; something that your experience has proven to you. Your soul is the encompassment of every thought and belief and experience you’ve ever had. Healing is dismantling fear. It’s having new experiences that disprove what you once proved to yourself. It’s reaching and reading and opening.

It’s hard to be broke. It’s hard to be miserable. It’s hard to succeed. It’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s hard to hide. It’s hard to be with the wrong person. It’s hard to be with the right one. It’s hard to know you’ll die when you want to live. It’s hard to know you have to keep living when you want to die.

The unlearning of fear reaps far more in wisdom and love and awareness than never having learned it in the first place would. The baseline is: most things are hard. Choose the battles you’ll win just by having fought them.

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