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Things we cannot escape

There are many examples of suffering in the world. Always. But, especially, it seems, right now.

I don’t have the credentials to speak to most of it.

But I have suffered. And I can’t gauge how much, exactly – there is no adequate metric. But I’ve suffered enough that I thought it might end me. Enough that I knew it would end me, if I didn’t escape in time.

And I had to pull off all kinds of tricks to make that escape. I wasn’t sure I could do it. Even now, sometimes, I’m not sure that I ever really did. Maybe I’m still there, dying. Maybe I’m already dead.

But, of course, I’m not. That’s merely the illusion of suffering. That’s the choice we have to make, at a certain point: In or out.

But that choice is not always available to us. Some pains, some torments, we truly cannot escape. Some external forces, and some internal ones, are simply much too powerful to overcome. Often they conspire to hold us in an agonising stasis.

Trapped within our pain, we cannot be the people we would be outside of it. We cannot uphold standards, moral or functional, that we would otherwise embody. We may need to hate, we may need to rage, just to go on living at all. We may need to hide, obsess over the inconsequential, or give ourselves to fantasy, just to make it to the end of the day.

Trapped within our suffering, we are diminished. Anything we can do to fight against the stricture, to keep the walls from closing in on us, should be applauded. But it cannot be expected. If we succumb, it’s not because we weren’t good. We just couldn’t find the way.

There are many ways to fight. Some messier than others. Some more expeditious. Sometimes we can’t afford to be picky. Most of the time, if we do get out, we come out covered in our own shit, with plenty to repent.

It’s only if we make it to the outside, that we have the freedom to make real choices. To be who we can be. To help how we can help. To bring ourselves to the world in our entirety. So many people will never accomplish this, and it’s not their fault. The odds are stacked against them. Only a handful can possibly win that game.

But the ones that do; the ones that live through suffering and make it out, despite their bleak prognosis: I think they change the odds for future statistics. I hope that means we’re inching our way toward a better, less tragedy-filled world.

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