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The Sweet In The Sour

The real tragedy is not that we experience things that are less than savoury – this is life, it involves loss, pain, sadness, surprisingly hard circumstances and things beyond our control. The real tragedy is when in the face of the darker side of encounters with life we stop hoping, stop voicing, stop expressing and stop encouraging. Life almost stole my voice but I’m taking my silent battle to my audible platform and saying a clear – NO.
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Somewhere between the loss of loved ones to death under 30, watching others’ hearts break in ways that cannot be helped, questioning worth/purpose/confidence and progression, experiencing all kinds of emotional/financial/professional and personal losses, etc., I began to feel like the hope and positivity I was sharing via multiple platforms was bandaids on bullet holes. It no longer resonated deeply enough with me and therefore it began to feel like I was dispensing cotton candy when a balanced diet was desperately needed, Coca Cola to one in desperate need of real rehydration and all other similar analogies and so I stopped sharing. I felt it was inauthentic to say “smile, hope, dig deeper, enjoy the sunshine and ignore the shadows” and other lighter rhetoric that could fit on a bumper sticker or a fridge magnet. And in light of being one who always searched for and saw the silver lining this new realisation left me at a loss on how to chart a word journey towards hope and hold ourselves up to the light. The light that would drive away darkness, illuminate confusion, scatter rain clouds and provide true warmth could no longer be found in my words and so I kept silent.
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As I crashed to a halt I realised, mostly in retrospect, that refusing to articulate HOPE was hope itself seeping away and that is unacceptable. So while in transition – while my voice is still faltering, my dreams are still forming and solid ground is not quite yet under my feet – I am back to say as long as there is life there truly is hope. There is purpose, even while there is pain. There are memories to be made – even while sadness prevails and other memories evoke tears and torment. There is love to be had, even in the midst of heartbreak. There are dreams worth pursuing, even when life feels like a nightmare. There is hope even amidst despair.
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Life truly is to be lived in the midst of the tension. Where there is sorrow there is also a new dawn in the next tomorrow. Where there is pain there is also the opportunity for peace and pleasure. Our lives are shades of grey and when we stop anticipating clear monochromatic existences we begin to see the methods in the madness, the possibility for joy in the sadness and the grace and strength to grow through it all.
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Looking back over recent struggles I see the light no longer just elongated shadows. There was also growth, resilience, experience, the opportunity to talk another off ledges that are now familiar to me and to bandage wounds for which I have similar scars. Even the opportunity to go through something hard allows us to connect with those who do not yet know there is a way out. So on that note I am here to toast to more sweetness than sour, to more endurance, to the power in pushing on, to the perspective found in looking back and looking beyond and to ‘positivity regardless.’ Looking forward to more celebrations than silences and committing to speaking up and finding one word of encouragement regardless. Looking towards a decade where we raise our voices regardless, show up in spite of, share our talents anyway, experience joy in addition to anything else and never stop creating and initiating platforms/conversations and paths where we can express our authentic selves.
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Here’s to Heels & High Standards for me and to your own variation of showing up, creating, celebrating, demonstrating and determining to find the sweet in the sour even in your darkest hour.

Zeni St. John

  • Ruth

    Cheers!

    February 3, 2020 at 10:36 pm Reply

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