These slips of pink papers, and the words contained in them are evidence of two powerful truths:
1. Everybody hurts.
2. We are not alone.
They are papers that people (acquaintances, friends, and strangers) used to write confessions of loss during my art exhibit honoring my late brother Jinil back in February. They talk about loss related to alcoholism, divorce, accidencts, suicides, beloved family pets who have passed, virginity lost to first loves, a laptop lost after putting it on top of a car and driving off, photos and memories lost, and on and on and on.
It blows my mind, these confessions.
This profound first truth points to the second truth about the fact that we are not alone. And for me, the key to moving past the hurt to the the light is to spend authentic time recognizing what I've lost, and to allow myself to grieve properly. Miraculously, by letting this happen, rather than strong-arming myself to always "choose happy" I start seeing and feeling the light and love and before I know it, I find happy. It happens to me when I don't force it. I can't sustain happy 24/7 but it's there. And when it's authentically there, it is because I am authentically respecting the other feelings that I allow myself to feel.
Sorrow is not a bad feeling. It's a feeling. Just like happy. And it ought to be respected and allowed to run its course without shaming, harrassing, or bullying it away.
Are you hurting?
If you want to, consider letting it out. Consider grieving it. And when the light starts to shine, consider letting it in. It's ok. The person or thing that you've lost will not feel badly that you are finding the light again.
PS: It is my intent to do a large art project with these pink slips of paper where the confessions can be shared in an anonymous and artistic manner. If you'd like to participate by sharing an anonymous confession of loss, you are invited to do so by emailing your confession to firstname.lastname@example.org or snailmailing your confession to PO Box 11726, Santa Ana, CA 92711