“At Christmas I’ll stay at home, many friends asked me to have lunch with their families, but I declined all the invitations. This year was too hard on me, too many losses in my life, I want to have some time to overcome the pain, I can’t celebrate pretending that nothing happened”.
My friend is a wise woman and I do agree with her. I also decided to stay at home on New Year’s Eve 2007: I had just divorced and going to a party to numb my pain seemed totally unnatural to me.
On the contrary, I put Martina to bed and spent the night drinking wine by myself and riding my emotions like a roller coaster: I went from anger to self-pity to despair and back again. This process did not take me out of the depression, but it was surely a good starting point to begin working through the grief.
This attitude is neither common nor well-regarded in our society, where all problematic situations are addressed with military terms: you have to fight depression, you have to react to adversity, you’re a warrior who kills the enemy (when talking about how to face an illness). However, I’m neither a warrior nor a Marvel superhero, I’m a human being and if I’m going through a difficult moment or I’m ill or I lose someone I love I need to be able to break down and cry, spend time with myself to grieve at my own pace, not at the pace dictated by a community that considers emotional pain as a shame that has to be hidden.
“This is my pain and, in order to be able to overcome it, I have to embrace it, because there’s a reason why things happen in our lives, they normally come to teach us something!” You’re right, my dear, mourning is your sacred right.
It would be very nice if all the people who are tired of feeling forced to fight could get together and create the “no-fight club”. Members of the club would be all those who think that the meaning of life is to be aligned with our own feelings, in harmony with nature, those who believe that living is a bit like surfing the waves instead of grabbing a weapon and shooting.
It would be nice to enter a club where we can feel welcomed, loved and respected when we are seriously ill and we only want to accept our illness and leave in peace, when we do not want to prove anything in our workplace and we do not want to compare ourselves with anyone richer and more powerful than us.
It would be nice to be part of a group that finally wants to change our way of living life and create a world where ranks and notes are not important, where time and moral support are given to allow people to work through their pain, where we all respect their loss by simply standing still in silence.
Cover picture by Ilaria Donato