Living and Existing This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

February 6, 2012
The difference between existing and living is pain. But it’s so much more complicated than that, isn’t it? To exist is easy. It is passive, mandatory pain. It is pain in solidarity because everyone else is going through what you’re going through just by virtue of being alive. It is the pain of each breath entering your lungs, the pain of the blood pumping through your body, the pain of muscles and joints and ligaments dragging you through the day. To live, however, is a whole different kind of pain. To live is unique and extraordinary. It is an inspired act of rebellion. It is fierce, terrible emotional pain. It is the pain of failure, the sting of rejection, the feeling of insignificance and inadequacy. Living is the most courageous thing a person can do because it means inevitable pain. It means that you will never be whole again. It means that you are opening up yourself to the world. You are bearing your hopes your fears your doubts, your dreams, the very blood that runs through your veins, and you are saying ‘come and get me.’ You are asking people to hurt you, because there is no way they can’t. There is no way to live without being beaten down until you can barely stand, until the poetry of your body and mind is so garbled and disfigured that you know you will never be whole again, until each breath is agony and each word is a merciful lie. And yet, you still stand. That is living, the ultimate act of rebellion.

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