I wrote this because life is hard. Because suffering is normal. Because anxiety is never easily coped with. Because depression isn’t something we can just pray ourselves over. Because love doesn’t always work out the way we intended it to. Because death is inevitable.
I wrote this because no matter how often we are reminded about the difficulty of life, no matter how many self-help books we read, no matter how many episodes of “care television” we watch, nothing can ameliorate the arduous nature of life. I wrote this because even though suffering is normal, suffering can never be prepared for. There is no training for suffering. There is no end to it. Suffering exist until life does not. I wrote this because anxiety does not have a perfect prescription. Medicine cannot make sense of the feeling of fear and trembling, of the never-ending sense of dread, of an incessant angst. I wrote this because our prayers could never dispose us of our depression. Our prayers cannot save us from the overwhelming sense of sadness – the sadness that is sad even in success, the sadness that is sad even though this hard life appears to “be going well,” the sadness that is sad for no reason other than our depression. I wrote this because love is a power struggle. It is a war between two lovers. Two lovers armed with emotional weapons of mass destruction; two lovers caught in a matrix, a web, of interconnected structural-power relations; two lovers’ inseparable from that matrix, inseparable from those weapons, inseparable from each other. I wrote this because death is no longer romantic, because death is always tragedy, because death is never singular. It is always plural, because death is always a death to the body gone, and the bodies that must continue to live with that absence, because death is never a “you are gone” but a “we are gone.”
I wrote this because we should not believe in self-help books or in “care television.” Because no one knows the particular ways of our experience, and no one knows our past in full, and no one knows how to heal a hurt that never ends, no one knows us. I wrote this because we should not see a never-ending suffering as a need to be trained in coping, because coping is surviving and we were born to do more than just survive. We were born to thrive. Suffering isn’t thriving. I wrote this because prayer should never be our only antidote to our depression. Even if prayer comforts, prayer is never enough since depression is never a sin. Depression is a sickness. And health is us-care. I wrote this because love’s war should not frighten us, because love’s war should not make us detach from each other, because love’s war should make us warriors. I wrote this because death’s plurality is a reason to come close, is a reason for us to understand how relational we are, how interdependent we are, how life is not lived solo, but always in connection to others, others who will die inevitably.
I wrote this because life is hard, but our lives are not our own. Our lives are shared. I wrote this because suffering is normal, but our suffering is not our own. Our suffering is shared. I wrote this because anxiety is not easily coped with, but our anxiety is not our own. Our anxiety is shared. I wrote this because depression is not something we can pray ourselves over, but our depression is not our own. Our depression is shared. I wrote this because love doesn’t always work out the way we intended it to, but our love is not our own. Our love is shared. I wrote this because death is inevitable, but our deaths are not our own. Our deaths are shared.
I wrote this because I want to never be an “I” in this life. Because “I” cannot bear the brunt of being an “I.” Because “I” cannot bear existing in this world without moving beyond self-care as something “I” do alone, because “I” can never care for “me” in this violent world. I wrote this because self-care is never self-care; self-care is always us-care. Because this life is hard, but “we” make this life worth enduring. I wrote this because the normality of suffering is not durable in a solo, because suffering is only durable in a chorus, in a band of singers. Singers who know the songs of sorrow, who thrive through songs of sorrow, who know how to improvise the intensity of the sound when they need to be held longer, cared for stronger. I wrote this because the only time “I” pray about my depression is when “I” pray that you all will never leave “me.” “I” pray that you will stay, and create circles of communal care that always reminds “me” of the importance of us-care, of always having us-care. I wrote this because “I” love you. “I” love you even though it hurts so much to love, even though there is nothing more painful than loving the way “I” love you, even though love is war and “I” am weak and so unwarrior-like. I wrote this because “I” love you in a way that makes not loving you impossible, and “I” only hope that you all love “me” the same. I wrote this because one day “I” will die, and one day you will die. And though it is inevitable, “I” would rather die in your arms, with your love, fighting our depression, our anxiety, our suffering, and this hard life, than die any other way.
“I” wrote this for you, to all of you.