The saying is as clique as they come- “no pain, no gain.”
And usually when I hear this, I think of bulky bball players insisting on the necessity of sheer force in obtaining mental and physical strength.
But is that the same as growing from pain that one does not willingly choose for oneself? Does this pain do the same work on our psych as pain we have elected to put ourselves through?
I attend weekly meditation sits with a group, (because it’s too damn hard sometimes to find the self-determination to sit solo.)
At the end of our session, someone shared words that brought me to this train of thought;
“Our greatest pains bring us our greatest gains. We may not ever wish these pains on another, or wish to ever experience them again- but the strengths they have fostered in us are our greatest gains.”
As I said, this is not a new message for hardly anyone- but it really hit me when he said this.
How much I take my pain for granted, just because I have grown used to it. Shit, I even react with total indifference now and then. Don’t even give it a second thought. But it’s from past painful experiences that I’ve been able to afford the stamina to stomp through the bullshit.
I’ve found it hard to get up for split seconds before clamping down on the hesitancy and fear, launching myself out of bed with an aggressive intention to set the day on fire…
And I owe my former pain the credit for that ability.
Sure, I’ll also credit my intensive personality type for these moral-boosting and movement-forcing abilities. But I have to wonder if I would have been able to reach the caliber I am at today if it wasn’t for the unsolicited experiences that tested my mental flexibility and stability….
Just a long-winded thought to chew on….
On a macro level, and as International Women’s Day, I think about women’s incessant ability to adapt and perform under societal pressures that our “counterparts” do not experience. Our slow yet steady progression to wider inclusion, and our rising awareness to the necessity of representation and acceptance.
I add the complex pain of the intersectional woman of color, and the long-worn war within many of us to choose between fighting for our blood OR our genitals. And how lucky we are to be at a point in time where we have gained the ability to speak and insist on recognition of all our our parts, and not solely one physical or visible determinant of our true, whole selves.
May we continue to fight through the pains and injustices of our lives- specifically, the ones we do not choose for ourselves. The pains that are forced upon us, inside us, on top of us, and around us. May we continue to gain the strength to seek community and care with one another, and may we continue to foster the openness to these new levels of visibility and vulnerability with one another.
We have nothing left to lose, and everything to gain.