The Rules Don't Apply (For Once in Your Life)

Rediscovering Life’s Magic, Lying Face Down on a Futon and Everything in Between

 

artist mari andrew beautifully illustrates the nuances of life. hop over to her instagram  (bymariandrew)  to soak in all the genius.

artist mari andrew beautifully illustrates the nuances of life. hop over to her instagram (bymariandrew) to soak in all the genius.

Ok guys, we're doing it. We're gonna talk about grief. The first of many many conversations to come. Grief is weird. There is no wrong wrong way to experience it. Let me say that again: There. Is. No Wrong. Way. To. Do. It. It is different for every single person yet it unifies those who have felt it.

Grief changes you. It doesn’t matter how strong or tough or “together” you have it. How successful, positive, compassionate you are. Grief marks us with scars and wounds that are beyond words. It turns our world completely upside down and all of the sudden nothing is for certain.

Although it feels isolating and terrifying, there are others who walk with us. It’s the club nobody wants to be a part of, but at some point, we all must join. Some when we are forty and lose a parent, some when we are ninety-five and lose our best friend, and sometimes it’s when you’re nineteen and lose a soul mate. You will not come out the other side the same. There is a before and an after, but do not let that transition scare you. It is the most important transition you will overcome. Partake in the journey, do not wish it away. Feel it all, the ebbs and flows, the highs the lows. If you don’t allow yourself to feel pain, you’re not going to be able to feel anything else either.

And trust me, you will feel pain. Heart-wrenching pain. But all that means is that you have experienced immense love. Every tear is nothing but a reflection of how hard you loved.

"Even on my weakest days,

I get a little bit stronger."

-Sarah Evans

The whole “it gets easier” thing is true, however annoying to hear over and over again from others. Yes, it gets easier to manage. SO much easier. But at the same time it’s been a year and a half since I lost my boyfriend and the other day I still sobbed heavily in the shower and wasted a lot of conditioner which I now have to pay for because I am an adult.

mari nailing the relatable illustration once again!

mari nailing the relatable illustration once again!

It does get easier, but that doesn’t mean it hurts less. It just means instead of using two hands, both arms, and one hip to balance a huge, ripped cardboard box full of cassette tapes named Staring Out the Car Window When It’s Raining ("Fix You" by Coldplay is on all of them), you can now sport a stylish crossbody purse with a built-in wallet to cash in your grief at the earliest convenience.

It means when I see a couple walking down the street with their matching striped t-shirts and golden retriever puppy named Waffle, I no longer lose my balance and fall to the ground sobbing because I don’t have their perfect romance. Instead, I compose myself, say hello to the dog (obviously) and continue with my day until I am safe at home to ugly cry in peace.

Of course I miss my boyfriend, Nick every day. And everything reminds me of him. But not every reminder is negative anymore.

People always tell me they admire me for my outlook on life. They wonder how I got on this level, how I do it. The answer is simple, but not always fun to discuss. But here it is.

When you hold the person you love most in this world as they take their last breath, it simply changes your perspective.

That was the moment things changed for me. So here’s my advice. Don’t wait for that moment. Start now. Be brave, be bold, be fiercely kind, and love with all the creative passion in your heart. Learn what matters to you, and follow that.