Updated: Jul 22
In 2011, I caught fire. Yes, I mean, I was going up in flames, while doing a rather typical everyday task. One that I had done at least a thousand times before. Simply cooking dinner. Maybe I'll tell you guys all the gory details some other time. But for now, more than the fire itself, I want to delve into the aftermath. As my bandages were being changed every couple of days, three things about that routine stood out to me. Firstly, the process was embarrassing. Secondly, it was painful. And lastly, the wound had a god-awful smell. The whole ordeal just got to me to thinking differently about healing. I soon concluded that it's near impossible for recovery, of any kind, to be peaches and creme. Healing is messy, its painful, and proper healing doesn't happen overnight. As uncomfortable as it was, I didn't miss a day of work. But there was no way I could be shouting YOLO either.
YOLO - Your objective lacks openness
Naturally, you already know I have some questions. I'd like to say, I'm asking for a friend, but no, I'm asking for me. Pray-tell, if your heart was just broken to smithereens, how on earth in .5 seconds is your life already Gucci? How is it humanly possible that you look unbothered and virtually unscathed? In one week, how does your life go from perfectly intertwined with someone, to a now perfectly flat-lay-photo of you and your girlfriends, livin' your best life? Let's be real, if you were intimate, there literally is a tearing away of your soul from the other person. You can't tell me that doesn't hurt. In Selena Gomez's hit breakup anthem, I don't miss you at all, one line has me a little confused, "don't be fooled by all my tears, because I'm fine." Really? Really? Really?
While you are in the quiet of your own space, I want you to ask yourself a serious question: "Are you truly okay? Are you as good as you are leading others to believe you are?" Sorry, my bad, that's coming off a little passive-aggressive. I suppose a better question might be, "Have you healed from the things that hurt you?" From my little tuffet, these single streets are fast becoming a revolving door of hurt people masking and ignoring the pain. Or maybe that's just me in my little go-of-the-grid-protection-bubble. I'm telling you, we are not dealing with stuff. We cover them up in hopes that no one notices the wound. Before you know it, we've already roped in the next victim before they truly know how damaged we are. I'll tell you one thing, you won't be able to hide that stench for long.
YOLO - You obviously lack observation
If you've ever required medical attention, you may have heard a doctor say that a patient needs to be kept in for observation. In actuality, what he means is, a medical professional will monitor that patient to determine if they need to be admitted for more extensive care. While my burns did not require hospital admission, I began to read up on what I could expect during my healing process. Healing, in the physical, has four-stages according to, www.shieldhealthcare.com. As I researched the path of wellness for my body, I couldn't help but see the similarities to healing for my emotional benefit.
Phase 1: Hemostasis Phase Hemostasis is the first phase of healing. It begins at the onset of an injury, and the objective is to stop the bleeding. In this phase, the body activates its emergency repair system, the blood clotting system, and forms a dam to block the drainage. TRANSLATION: Make a decision. Decide to walk away, especially if you feel that your time in your current situation has expired. Consider this your life's national state of emergency, and you must evacuate now for your safety.
Phase 2: Defensive|Inflammatory Phase This phase focuses on destroying the bacteria and removing debris—essentially, preparing the wound-bed for the growth of new tissue. TRANSLATION: Pack your bags and get out of dodge. If you keep a drawer at his house, you need to clear it out. If you can, start to separate your co-mingled assets or interests. Remember, you can't begin to feel better in the same stuffy room that made you sick.
Phase 3: Proliferative Phase Once the wound is cleaned out, the focus is now to fill and cover the injury. TRANSLATION: You need to now pack the hole, or in other words, you need to fill the void. I'll tell you, the word of God serves as some good insulation. However, don't forget to add prayer. This is where you begin to tell God where it hurts, and He'll start to medicate those areas with His special balm. There is honestly no better band-aid that the 'Jesus' brand. It has all the necessary nutrients built-in.
Phase 4: Maturation Phase During the Maturation phase, the new tissue slowly gains strength and flexibility. This is where collagen fibers reorganize, the tissue remodels and matures, and there is an overall increase in flexibility. TRANSLATION: I liken this stage to Physical Therapy. Look, you have to walk this out. You have to test your strength and endurance. It's the only way to check if you have regained your function, range of motion, and to ensure you have correct posture (i.e., the condition of your heart) Meaning, did you forgive?
YOLO- Your optimistic list overrated
Sis put the list down. Your life is not a trip to the grocery store nor a standing order request to Santa. I mean, the truth of the matter is, our list is so unrealistic, it's comical. Most of 'us' with the 'list' can't even match what's on it. Calm down, don't be offended. I'm probably not 'list' worthy either. This is me saying, "Hello Pot, my name is Kettle!" I remember back in the day, older women would encourage, 'the list.' They would say, "Girl, tell God what ya want." While this may have worked for many, I've learned that what I want will never be as beneficial as what I need. You play around and buy a $500 bag and don't pay your rent, then tell me how that works out for you.
Yes, I know. All the pictures on the gram scream, "YOLO!" But don't let any of that make you feel inferior. While images can paint 1,000 words, there are 10,000 more that they never tell. The happy couple photo doesn't tell you that they argued on the way to the shoot. The photo won't say that for the past three months, that couple was in counseling or that they were barely speaking. The picture doesn't tell you that as fine as that man may be, his equally adoring partner is secretly suffering from depression. Ironically, the photo also doesn't speak of all the sacrifices the couple makes to have what you see. The picture will never show you the countless hours of working double shifts for them to take that family vacation or the meager meals they ate for six months to save towards the new house. Pictures never tell the whole story, and smiles hide scars you'll never see.
YOLO- You overcome life's obstacles
I've had my fair share of breakups, and while everyone won't take it as me, I often wonder who it is that people are trying to impress when they post a caption, "Living my BEST life!" I remember seeing a story about Bow Wow (the rapper), who posted a photo of a private jet and luxury cars, which he captioned, "Flying to NYC today." The undefeated internet clapped back within seconds and posted a photo of him sitting on a plane in coach. Many of us laughed and judged the young man. But we do that every day. How? When we pretend that something meant to utterly destroy us, doesn't affect us at all. All I'm wondering is, when are we going to be done with the filter? Don't get me wrong, I love a good bunny ears filter, too. But how long are we prepared to hide behind costumes, before we face the truth? A filter, by definition, is a device used to remove impurities. How about we stop camouflaging behind catchy slangs, and cutesy apps and honestly start unmasking what lies beneath?
YOLO (you only live once) actually means that life is short and you won't always get a second chance. So with this one life, maximize the time you have and live with purpose. However, people have twisted its Meaning to say, I only have one chance to do whatever I want, when I want, and no one can tell me nothing. If that's your emo, all I can say is go with God! But while you're out here writing the story of your life, make sure you're not letting society hold the pen. There are too many people in these streets hurt and reeling from past traumas. Don't be one of them, merely overcompensating to mask how you really feel. Healing is not bubble baths, with candles and soft music. It's difficult. It's messy. And it can be awkward. Before you caption your next photo YOLO, ensure you're being honest with you and not lying for the likes. Don't overlook or shortchange your life's most significant obligation, you!