If I confessed my struggles would you believe me?

Since the advent of social media, we are conditioned to believe the happy tributes, the joyous white-toothed smiles and all the sparkle as our fingers scroll across our phones and view various statuses through our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feed. It’s becoming hard to identify whether anyone is struggling based on the highlight reel and it’s easier to hide among the vacation photos, the snapshot at a birthday party or a night out with friends.

It’s hard, isn’t it? To admit we are struggling. How many times do we say those words, “This isn’t working. I need help. I messed up. I don’t know how I am going to make it through this.” I’ll ask a different way – how many times have we felt this way? It’s hard to quantify, but here’s the truth and it bears repeating – every single person is struggling with one thing or many things, but just because they aren’t saying it out loud or announcing it on their social media feed, it doesn’t mean the shadows are invisible. They do exist.

I felt compelled to talk about the struggle after capturing this particular sunset last week. The grey pulls at the colors of the sunset. There isn’t an identifiable space between them; the shadow and light seem to coexist. This is what I’ve found as an acceptable truth in my life. I’ve experienced joy, belly laughing happiness and the feeling of how I wish this moment could last forever. Most of these seconds aren’t glamorous –  it’s usually the everyday occurrences that resonate with me, from the giggles that come from my husband’s corny jokes or a shared memory that my mom conveys or looking at the sky, catching a glorious sunrise or sunset. I’ve also encountered grief that changed the trajectory of my life and I’ve endured unexpected and unfortunate events that pushed me to question all my beliefs. I’ve cried muffled tears in the small corner of my bedroom, I’ve worried, while smiling through an evening with friends and had countless nights of insomnia navigating the question, “Whether I am enough?” in every single role of my life.

But I think we succumb to believing that everyone has it together. Even I need a reminder that the perspective I might harbor about a person,event or circumstance always has a back story. The truth isn’t necessarily what I interpret, but could easily fall into speculation. It’s dangerous road to trek because it leads to wrong ideas about happiness.

When I saw this sunset, it served as a wake-up call that our time is spent reconciling joy and sadness, anger or melancholy. It magnified the struggle between acknowledging joy and finding a place for our sorrows. I’ve never believed one can coexist without the other and experiencing both emotions heightens my respect for both happiness and sadness.

 “Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.” – Khalil Gibran