When you are at your weakest, read this.
A few years ago, there was a popular young adult show called Pretty Little Liars on Freeform. Modeled after books of the same titular name, the story focuses on four high school girls being terrorized for the secrets they kept during the time their deceased friend, Alison, was alive.
By this point, you’re wondering why on Earth I brought up this long-gone television show and especially what this has to do with the title of this article. My answer is that there is one quote that I cannot get out of my head. Spencer Hastings, the intelligent, quick-witted member of the group, once stated that “[hope] breeds eternal misery.”
Now when I was younger, I believed that there could be no truth to this statement, that there could be no way something as light and beautiful as hope could simultaneously bring one of the worst human emotions. That being said, I’m much older now, and to a certain extent, I have to agree with her.
My 2021 has been anything but smooth sailing. I am still experiencing the full range of sophomore slump. I find myself having fleeting moments of joy at best, yet too often consumed with genuine sadness. I am not content, and I am not secure. There have been few times in my life where I have felt the way I do now; it feels like an incessant pressure on my chest, like the worst kind of weighted blanket.
So maybe I came into this year too hopeful. Maybe I foolishly looked to 2021 to make up for what 2020 was, what it did to our world and the people within it. Perhaps my naïve desperation for an escape is what got me. Or maybe it was something else.
See, I don’t fault myself for being hopeful. I don’t think that you (especially our lovely readers) should either. You should never have to apologize for holding natural human perspectives and emotions. You should never have to apologize for not operating in a way where your guard is constantly up. Quotes like the one Spencer gave are used to shield us from pain and the influx of discomfort that comes with it.
There is something beautiful about maintaining love, joy and hope. There is something to be said about the strength it takes to keep going, even when it seems like the darkness is more daunting than the light. There is something to be said about those who do not allow the world to harden them.
I know that I am not at my best right now. The joy is fleeting, and the sadness seems incessant. Although everything considered, I know there will be a time when the sun will shine brighter. I know that I will come out of this stronger than before. I know that I will appreciate myself and the woman I am growing to be.
Go back to the very first sentence of this article. I know that I have mainly talked about myself and what I am personally feeling right now, but I feel like this is a message anyone can speak on. I know I talked about how there is strength in rejecting the natural hardening that comes from life’s tribulations. I even mentioned how it is beautiful to still see the lighter parts of life, even throughout the darkness. While this may be true, this doesn’t detract from the fact that it is more than okay to be weary. It is more than okay to feel emotions deeply and fully, regardless of whether or not they are of the good kind.
I am not saying that you shouldn’t feel weak or that you shouldn’t feel small right now. Your feelings, perspectives and emotions are all valid. This is a part of the human experience.
If there is any comfort to take from this, I want you to know that you are never alone. Like I said before, there have been close to no times in my life where I have felt the way I do right now. I’m going through a tough time right now, and I’m learning that that is just fine. You need to know that too.
The last thing I’ll leave you with is this: You have gotten through 100% of your worst days. You will get through the rest. There is always light within the darkness, and I cannot wait for the day you get to bathe in it once again. Better days are coming.
And I am committed to hoping for them.