We are friends
- "Sigh No More" Mumford and Sons
* * *
Like the formulation of the word unfucked, I, too, like the word unbruised. It sits in my ear and suggests that the battering we take in this life is all self-inflicted. It is a choice we make. You could live unbruised, unlost, unlonely, unfucked by making the decision to do so, by living with benevolent disregard for the welts, contusions and lacerations that you'll acquire simply by waking. If you pay your wounds and losses no mind, then they don't exist for you.
I'm not suggesting denial or self-delusion. No. Quite the opposite. I am saying that to live unbruised is to focus on what matters. The realm of nursing wounds and pointing out scars keeps you trapped, locked onto those wounds and scars and your life comes to a halt. To live unbruised is to be beyond caring about wounds and scars, is to be awake, is to lean into your life and meet it as it emerges.
Clinging to the inevitable bruising we all take will fuck you good and tight. There is nothing special about being hurt. It is our baseline, our foundational experience. And most stay right there. There's nothing special about being hurt, but there is something liberating about living unbruised. You are free of petty grievances, free of your vicitimhood, free, at last, to breathe, to realize the potential that has been thwarted by your love of your wounds.
* * *
A hundred years ago I slept through a marriage and divorce to a remarkable woman. Afterward I saw the pounding I had taken - not from her, but from myself. I limped for several years - always keeping the wounds fresh, always hoping someone would notice my nobility in bearing up under the strain of a love lost. See, I used the cover of the divorce to hide from myself, my family, my friends the fact that it was good and right for my young bride to leave. I did not love her at all, but instead loved being a wounded man, a misunderstood man, a man bearing up under his copious burdens at the burdensome age of 26.
It is easier to hide than to live, easier to lie to yourself than accept the responsibility of living out the fullness of your name. It is easier to quit than to try.
We drift toward protecting ourselves from the wounds and losses that stagger us. We build walls, don protective gear and hole up while life whizzes right by. There is danger in living. You could get killed out there, but living behind walls, living bruised, affronted by the stream of circumstance is to live an awful half-life.
That's not living. That's fucked.
We all get hurt. If you breathe you will be hurt, but if that is what you use to define your life you miss the rest of the equation: if you breathe you have the chance to know love, to know how to love.
All it takes is to live unbruised.