Alright, guys, I’m back. Let’s do this.
So, I went back home to Grand Rapids a few weeks back to visit my family and the like, and I’ve been a tad off ever since. Not as off as, say, a 2-4 Notre Dame football team (it’s fine, I’m fine, shoot me, I’m begging you), but pretty off nonetheless. It sucks leaving your people. It sucks loving your people.
Sometimes it’s hard to love people because they’re shitty people—and sometimes it’s hard because they’re not. Sometimes they’re the bees’ fricken knees. They’re your humans. Your home. They carry a piece of you with them. And that’s not easy. It sucks being away from them—missing them, loving them. It takes a toll on you. As whole and stable as you may be, you can’t deny the fact that parts of you are scattered among the people you love. My mom holds a piece of me. My dad, my brother. Pieces that I’ll never get back. And I’m okay with that. Well, I’m learning to be.
I cry. Every time I talk to my parents. It could be a two-hour phone call about what my mom had for breakfast or a 30-second reminder from Tim to get my oil changed. I hang up the phone and I cry. Because I miss them. I want them here. Because I love them so damn much.
I knew it would suck coming back from seeing them. Even before I went out there, I gave myself a plane pep talk (I also watched Me Before You and sobbed hysterically in the middle seat between two middle-aged men who probably have PTSD now, whoops) on the voyage there. I prepared myself. Don’t get too attached. Do not get too attached.
But that’s the thing—I’ve learned that I can’t do that. Or, really, that I won’t. I could go home and see my family. Give 80%. Engage 80%. Be 80% present. But, Jesus, what’s the point? To hurt less when you leave? To ease the pain? Is that really worth it?
When I first got back, I tried to ignore my emotions. And that was the problem. We’ve been told so much of our lives to suppress our feelings, suppress ourselves. And why? For what?
In the grand scheme of things, I haven’t been around that long, but I’ve still picked up a few things. I’ve learned that you have to let yourself feel. You have to let yourself hurt. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to let yourself hurt. It hurts because it matters. It hurts because it should.
You’re allowed to cry because you miss your dog. You’re allowed to slam your head against the wall after that NC State loss (or Duke. Or MSU. Texas. It’s fine. I’m fine). You’re allowed to let those emotions out—let those bad boys fly.
You’re allowed to love. You’re allowed to live. We’ve all seen those “Live, Laugh, Love” signs. For the love of The Golden Girls, please don’t buy one. But listen to them.
Live. Laugh. Love. But, you know, try not to fall on a sword every Saturday watching your team implode before your eyes. Go Irish.