Excavating my emotion from beneath a harmful haze of chemical concoctions Rediscovering what it means to feel the world around me No more sedation no more shaded sensation happiness and sorrow held equal remembering the beauty of both a genuine smile cutting through pain Grateful tears spilling over delicious, warm, salty quenching my once parched heart soaking cheeks and shirtsleeves releasing years of stagnant suffering Shedding the grey scales that have gathered on my skin sealing me inside a hollow human form I am finally free
If you haven’t watched Bo Burnham’s new Netflix special, Inside, you need to go watch it. It is truly a work of art. I haven’t been able to stop singing/listening to his songs for days now. It is surprisingly profound and meaningful while also highlighting the hilarious absurdity of it all. It’s beautifully put together visually and musically. It is the perfect representation of the collective experience of humanity throughout the pandemic. It touches on so many important aspects from mental health to the unsettling advancements of technology to climate change to awareness of social issues.
The best part of the special in my opinion is that just when you start to feel weighed down by some of the heavier topics, he bursts into these little Jeff Bezos songs that absolutely kill me. It’s like, yes, the world is falling apart, your mental health is crumbling, life is full of stress and uncertainty and injustice and death, but hey, Jeffrey Bezos! He’s killing it. He’s doing great. Good for him. It’s too perfect. It’s a reminder that no matter how bad things get, we can still find so much to laugh about. We can still find amusement in the strangest places. We can step back and enjoy the delicious ridiculousness of it all.
Never lose sight of that sense of humor. I’m the first to admit that I have the tendency to take life far too seriously. I struggle to make even the most benign decisions because I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect. I’ve spent years stewing in anger and anxiety about things that I, ultimately, have no control over. While political and social issues are, of course, important, it’s not worth agonizing over every second. Planning and doing the work to improve your life and take good care of yourself matters, but not if you never actually take a moment to find joy in the simple things.
Above all, most of us want to be happy. We have a lot of ideas about what we need to do to ensure that we are and that we don’t “waste” this gift of life. But unfortunately at some point, we all lose sight of the reason we are doing all the things we do. We forget that while we may start with the best intentions, in the end, we don’t have to do anything to be happy, besides allow ourselves to be. We end up making ourselves miserable with the very things we began with the intention of making ourselves happy.
Despite all the pain and suffering in the world and all of my own personal issues, I still truly believe that joy and happiness are the true essence of life. We are all here to explore, learn, and enjoy. Laughter is one of the greatest gifts that we’ve been given. It would be a shame if we didn’t let ourselves have some every day. So make sure that you find time to laugh today! There are so many reasons to be depressed and anxious and angry, but despite it all, there are just as many reasons to be happy and grateful. It’s up to us where to place our focus. I, for one, want to make an effort to enjoy as many moments here as I can.
As someone who has a hard time loving their body, I have always really appreciated the comparison between humans and flowers. It is sometimes hard for me to accept that even though I don’t look like the women I aspire to, I can still be beautiful. The idea that different looking humans can be equally attractive in their own ways just as all flowers are stunning even though they have extremely different colors and types of blossoms. For some reason this is the only thing that was really able to reach me and allow me to look at myself in a new light. And I am so grateful for the new perspective it has given me since I first heard it.
While meditating on this idea, I began to realize that humans are a lot like flowers in many others ways as well. Not only should we not criticize ourselves for not looking like others, we also shouldn’t worry about our differences in motivation, energy, talent, productivity, etc. Just like the flowers, we follow different schedules so to speak. Some flowers have many blooms, some just a few. Some bloom multiple times a year, some just once. Some come back again and again, others fade after just one season. Some flowers come more easily than others, some for longer periods of time. Some flowers even bloom at night instead of in the day.
It is important for us to also honor these differences within ourselves. Maybe we can’t wake up at 5AM and workout like our neighbor does. Maybe we don’t have the energy to work full-time and be a mother. Maybe we don’t have as many “productive” days as those around us seem to. Maybe we still haven’t found our passion after 40 years, while we read articles about a child who already excels in theirs. We don’t have to feel bad about these differences. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others in this way. It can never be a fair comparison.
You and I are two completely different types of flower. We can admire one another without thinking less of ourselves for not “measuring up”. It’s okay to be different. It’s wonderful in fact. Who would want to live in a world with only one type of flower? We need all different kinds to allow our ecosystem to thrive. So never stop reminding yourself that you are an important part of this world. Just as you are. Because you are like no one else, not in spite of it. Biodiversity is a beautiful thing. Don’t you forget it, you incredible flower, you.