28 Feb 2021

Sustained grief

@_Zeets on Twitter posted this bell hooks quote earlier:

Sustained grief is particularly disturbing in culture that offers a quick fix for any pain. Sometimes it amazes me to know intuitively that the grieving are all around us yet we do not see any overt signs about grief that lingers. Like a stain on our clothes, it marks us as flawed, imperfect. To cling to grief, to desire its expression, is to be out of sync with modern life, where the hip do not get bogged down in mourning.

It reminded me—amongst all the reminders I’ve had since March 2020—that I’ve been in some state of grief every year for at least a decade. Before I used to think they were small and insignificant. Break ups are a natural part of life if you choose to love. Interview rejections are part and parcel of being a member of a capitalist society. Your idols die because everybody will some day. But if you don’t deal with things, they accumulate and I am the product of that accumulation.

I’ve never felt like I’ve had the “luxury” of grieving when I’ve had to carry on. Some days, you just want to curl in a ball and not leave that spot for days. I guess I have done that before. But the fear of being asked about it by loved ones often pulls me out. Maybe it wasn’t that bad then. But it becomes grief deferred or sustained grief as bell hooks described it. And because of how society works, the solution is always a book or a chat or a change in diet or a walk. But you’ll read with that grief, chat with that grief, eat with that grief, walk with that grief, and sleep with that grief. And you learn to live with it; to function somehow. I’m still here so I’ve not done too badly but I know I could do so much better.