The Poignancy of Pain: For All the Things Words Cannot Convey.
Sunset leaked pinks across the horizon, mixed with bright orange hues.
It was a brilliant mix of joy. Or, were those the colors of saris the women were wearing who were sashaying by earlier today? Magic and dream states meld in an intangible charm in India. I have found a new love for this version of chaos. It’s spicy and sweet. And there is always incense and meaning layered in between.
I’m looking for that same depth of affection in indigo dyes and inky skies in West Africa. But the fact is, there are pockmarked buildings, from the wounds of a former civil war. The bullet holes hide out in staircases of buildings. And the security of barbed wire curls the tops of walls, almost like a New Age iron haircut. Then, there is mold. It has made fun of cement’s durability.
The fabric of life unfolds here with street sellers and rusted cars.
In the road less traveled, which made all the difference, how can one be open to good things and scenic views when the heart is tethered to the past? The enormous void of close friendships needs to be refilled; the ache feels unbearable, like it will never pass. How does one release a sexy heart shared in love when there will never be a good time to let go?
There are no words to convey the pain of transition. I think of forced migration, of refugees. I think of all the varied and diverse pains we cannot fully hold because we need to be partially carried along the way. In the allure of inspiration, there is the correlating side of discomfort. The torture a soul willingly and unwillingly undertakes to readjust, take hold, root in, and flourish.
This battering is like no other — maybe similar to a monsoon that can sweep you away, or the pelting of the West African coastline, remolding the terrain.
The dictionary does not have an accurate description for change because it’s missing the gradation of how it can be devastating. We live in a corporate culture where change is all the rage. There is an unrelenting anguish that overwhelms clarity — sometimes dull and sometimes sharp and sometimes every way in between. This is the poignancy of pain. There is so much collectivity in pain and so much isolation.
But, I wonder if adults can break down like two-year-olds and throw a temper tantrum at the injustice of it all — because it is not fair, this constantly changing life thing. The well of overwhelm depletes itself in a tear-stained face. And into whose arms exactly can one collapse other than one’s own?
In times like these, I often seek comfort in tea. Aren’t there hidden magical notes in chai, beyond the ginger and cardamom collaboration? There’s a melody of ease that words cannot convey — just the sound of ahhhh from the steam and an initial sip. It’s the warmth in shared meals and sunshine on sandy beaches where new connections paint fresh horizons of hope. It’s never easy — this choice towards growth.
It’s in this place between what is and what was, that there emerges a vast expanse of vulnerability. It’s a raw space filled with every range and raging emotion that connects the heart in sounds. It’s the questioning of choices and the potential shame of uncertainty. And in this space is the heart’s inability to articulate its needs. How does one ask for the right compass when the direction is undefined?
How can one say I need compassion today or to just be carried along the way? How does one ask for any of this when it is one’s chosen path? And every time the transition is new and just as hard as the last.
To all of you in this space of transition, may you honor your path of uncertainty, the intrepid space of questioning — the one filled with doubt and fear. We feel you. We are you. May we offer compassion for all the asks that go unsaid, all the ones we are unable to share or even articulate.
Jolie Marie Carey is an East Coast native who has spent much of her life traveling, living and working outside of the U.S. Her favorite travel stories include hiking in Nepal, hiding from the law in Timbuktu, Mali, and living in a tent in South Sudan. She derives inspiration from magic in the everyday, words, conversations with random people and close friends. She believes laughter is the key to transcending all differences. She has been fortunate to teach Yoga in Haiti. As a Gemini, she is pulled between living simply, dancing under the stars, and trying to impact the world through bureaucratic means where she benefits from high-end parties.