Olivia Arnold

Bad Things Happening to Other People

Bad things use to be the things that happened to other people. I watched from a distance and thought that it is so unfortunate and poor them. I felt bad for them but I didn’t feel them. I had a sense of pity but I wasn’t empathetic. I wasn’t trying to be cold and I didn’t even think I was doing anything wrong. I just had a distance. It wasn’t happening to me. Other people had serious problems but they weren’t mine. I couldn’t relate.

Fast forward to today and I’m the opposite. I feel everything. I can’t stop myself from feeling. I remember a child crying for their mother the first week of kindergarten last year and instead of wishing they’d stop and enjoy all the fun that was in-front of them I felt a bit of their pain. I didn’t ask them to stop; I just acknowledged that I know that they miss their parents. That is a small example but it was my wake-up to the fact that I couldn’t separate myself from others’ pain anymore. It seemed to become a bit of my own even though I know I am not doing anything or relieving them in any way.

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Doing things a late twenty-something woman does...as a widow. Re-creating my life and identity, being outdoors, adventurous and active, teaching, laughing and crying, and living my new life a little less seriously.
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