By Maggie Rey
Some days it’s easy to see how great everything is and how lucky you are to be alive. Your hair is on point, your crush promptly texted you back, and since you budgeted stringently the week before, you now have enough to Treat Yo’self this week. Ah, the good days – generally Thursdays, for some reason – make it all so clear: life really is a beautiful, wonderful gift to cherish and you are a magical being made of love and light and possibilities. This day is the best thing that could have ever happened! These are the days we were made for.
Other days, not so much.
Some days, it’s a struggle to get from 2pm to 3pm, maybe even 2pm to 2:15pm. Every cringe-worthy moment exists to taunt you, sneering that you ought to still be in bed, because there you could hide from whatever monster this day – probably a Wednesday – seems to be. You’re miserable, hunched over a rickety desk like Ebeneezer Scrooge’s third new intern of the month and it’s all you can do to blink the tears away and suddenly something reminds you that there was a time when you believed you were magic and that the world was wonderful and there was something bigger out there that was rooting for you. It’s a small moment, lightning fast, in and out of your subconscious so suddenly that you almost miss it. But instead of dismissing it like an inapplicable fortune cookie, you hold onto it, like your last ticket at the carnival, in line for your favorite ride. Like a life raft. Like hope.
Ellen Bass’ poem, “The Thing Is” explains that this hope is exactly what we need on our worst days. Her poem is a reminder that it is a choice to love life, even when it doesn’t make it easy on us. Here, for the dark days and hard moments, is her advice on how to handle the really bad days. Even the Wednesdays.
“To love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”