Tag Archives: advice

The rules of hurting

We’re all going to hurt each other.

I’m not saying you should feel comfortable with that, nor should the notion grant you permission to hurt people left and right, but it’s true. You will hurt every single person you love – and every single person you love will hurt you.

The degrees will vary, of course. Not every pain is a death sentence. Sometimes it’s something simple, unintentional, like an ill-timed joke about your hair or forgetting someone’s anniversary when they were counting on you to make the cake. There are different levels of hurt.

Here are the rules of hurting:

  1. It is your job to tell people when something aches – even if you think they should know. Our thresholds for pain are so wildly unique that at times we must guide each other to the wounds that have been poked through our skin – even when you still see blood on their fingers.
    1. Rule one can be disregarded in two circumstances.
      1. If the person has committed bodily harm against you, there is no need to tell them about it. For example, if a man punches you in the face, do not return to him – even if he was drunk and claims he can’t remember his fist colliding with your jaw.
      2. If you have told the person before that their actions hurt you and they’ve made no move to fix it, you are under no obligation to tell them again. You can. It’s your life. But repeating oneself is tedious and hope can be most dangerous here.
  2. To paraphrase the brilliant Louis C.K., when someone tells you that you’ve hurt them, you don’t get to say you didn’t. If you have a strong bond, it hurts to find out you’ve hurt someone you love. But to trample over them and fill the air with excuses or reasons why their pain isn’t your fault is cowardly at best. We’re all going to hurt each other. That doesn’t mean we should allow our friends to hurt by our hand.
    1. Make amends, not excuses. If you can’t stop hurting someone you claim to love, please let them go.
  3. Just because you’re hurting doesn’t make you right. Those thresholds I talked about earlier? Those levels of sensitivity that guide us throughout life? They do not give you room to be cruel or vindictive. Your response to being hurt should not be to hurt someone else. And let’s be clear – having that drive doesn’t make you a monster, but acting on it does.

There are aspects of life in which you do not get a say. You don’t get to choose whether you’re chronically ill or disabled. You don’t get to choose where you come from. But it is my fondest hope that you get to choose who hurts you. It doesn’t have to be the family in which you grew up. It doesn’t have to be anyone who proved themselves unable to care for you in healthy, constructive ways.  I can’t wish you a pain-free life. But I hope you find yourself in the position to surround yourself people who will balk when they’ve hurt you, who will throw up their hands and hold you and make strides to never injure you the same way again.


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The Art of Asking

I struggle to ask for what I need. Often, all I need is clarity, but I always feel an instant of guilt for the space and the resources my existence requires – as if somehow, I have yet to be worthy of either. Sometimes that feeling is gone in a breath, but other times it lingers under my tongue, flavoring every word before it leaves my mouth.

I don’t know, man. I just want to be a force of good and lately all I’ve felt is… halved. Confused. Lonely.

Sometimes I wonder how that could be. I think I accidentally stepped out of time years and years ago, and it’s dragged on without me in it. Maybe this is mental illness. Or maybe, even more terrifying – this is how everyone feels all the time.

Here’s a list of questions I have right now, in no particular order. Please help.

  • Can someone who has lived abroad/traveled for longer than a month at a time help me with my trip to Europe? I don’t know where to begin.
  • Does anyone have any trusted friends/family in Europe with whom I could connect while I’m over there next year? I’d prefer to know people, so I’m casting my net.
  • Is there anyone willing to be platonic cuddle buddies? My heart is too occupied for anything else, but I want to feel cared for.
  • Does anyone have any good book recommendations? I need to get lost somewhere.
  • How do you make your commute more entertaining? The time I spend alone in my car is getting absurd.
  • Chronically ill people, how do you make changes in your life without wiping yourself out? I still don’t know how to operate a sick body.
  • What can I do differently to be seen and understood? I love this blog space, but I have had people use my words like weapons against me and it makes me so tired.
  • What’s the best moment in your routine? I need some more goodness in my day.
  • What makes you feel the most whole?


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