February 27, 2021 by Molly Patrick
The dull ache
Sometimes at night, I feel a little sad for no obvious reason.
It usually hits me after dinner when everything is wrapped up for the day and it’s time to relax.
It’s not overpowering. It’s just quietly there, tenderly reminding me of mortality. Delicately bringing the mystery of life to my attention. Harmlessly providing evidence of how vast the universe is in comparison to my body. Softly making space for the suffering of humanity.
I’ve come to know this as the dull ache of being human.
During the day, I’m busy with life stuff—work, chores, errands, feeding the cat, moving my body, eating, following my schedule, family stuff, all the things. That dull ache might be there, but I wouldn’t know it because it is pushed aside by my focus on other things. When I used to drink, that dull ache was pushed aside by alcohol.
When there is no distraction to push it away, the dull ache easily makes its way to the surface and shows itself. I used to react to the ache and make it go away. I would question why it was there so I could fix it. I thought about going to therapy to help me feel better. I would watch TV to make it stop for a while.
I had this idea that the dull ache was a mistake. A character flaw. A problem that needed a solution.
I have come to understand that this dull ache is part of my human experience. Nothing is wrong with me. Nothing needs fixing. It doesn’t last forever. And there is nothing anyone else, not even the best therapist, can do to make it go away.
It is my birthright.
It is the down to my up.
The struggle to my joy.
The winter to my summer.
The bad news to my good news.
The lull to my acceleration.
I have the privilege of experiencing the dull ache of being human, and my life is so much sweeter because of it. It might be uncomfortable to sit with, but I value its presence, so I no longer run away.
I honor it.
I notice it.
I feel it.
And then it gently slips away as easily as it arrived.
Today over on the blog, I’m talking about something a little less existential. I’m talking about salad and I break down the components that make an insanely delicious and crave-worthy salad.
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