Sometimes I think to myself, “This is unbearable.” I usually have this thought when I am smoking out of my boyfriend’s window in the evening or at an ungodly hour when the rest of the street is asleep.

The “this” is either grief, pain, sadness or life. Sometimes it’s just one. When I suddenly realise that my father is actually dead and I miss him so fucking much, I think, “This grief is unbearable.” Sometimes I say it aloud, quietly. This grief is unbearable.

If I’m in a lot of physical pain I go to smoke in the back room so that my boyfriend doesn’t see me cry or bite down hard on my knuckles or silently scream or collapse on the floor. I think, “This pain is fucking unbearable.” I will it to stop but it never does, it only moves to another part of my body.

Other times “this” refers to pain and sadness, when my heart feels so broken I can’t stand to feel its pathetic blip in my chest, when I don’t believe I can stand another minute of feeling this sad, another second of feeling this devastated. This pain, this sadness: it’s unbearable.

I am most frank with myself when I say, “This life is unbearable.” I cannot bear this life, this half-life, this non-life, this anti-life anymore. I can’t stand it, this life I’ve been given, this life I never wanted, never asked for. This existence. It’s unbearable. I don’t want to endure another moment of it, I can’t stand it any longer, I don’t want it, I can’t do it. This life is unbearable, I think, I believe, I whisper aloud, I shout into the sleeping suburban gardens. And then I realise, just as my existence is a non-life, “unbearable” is a non-word.

I cannot describe anything related to myself as unbearable because all the while I’m thinking about it being unbearable, I am bearing it. Through the very action of thinking or describing or reflecting on it as unbearable, I am or have endured it.

One cannot render any thing relating to one’s self as unbearable because if it was truly unbearable, you would no longer have the ability to render it as such. I can say that my father died because the pain, the fight, the struggle became unbearable to him. You could say that she took her own life because life was unbearable to her. I can use “unbearable” only in relation to somebody else if they couldn’t and no longer bear it. But I can’t describe my own life as unbearable because I’m fucking bearing it, still enduring it, even though I feel like I can’t or don’t want to.

Nothing is unbearable if you’re living it, if you survived it, if you’re able to say, “This is unbearable.” Life cannot technically be unbearable if you are still bearing it. This grief, pain, sadness is not unbearable if I’ve borne it and managed to write about it. This life cannot be unbearable if I’m able to blog about it. As long as I am alive, nothing is actually unbearable. I am a pedant. I am very particular about using the correct words. I will never use the word “unbearable” in relation to myself ever again for it cannot be true and is therefore not the correct word. And all we have is the truth, so it’s important that I keep my truth truly true. It can’t be unbearable if you’re bearing it. I am bearing it, somehow. I am bearing it.


  1. Very (seriously) glad you are still bearing it, still keeping on keeping on. You & your words mean a lot to me. I hope things become easier to bear for you.

  2. I needed this. Today was a shit day and reading what you wrote reminded me that there are others out there living through heavy stuff too. Thank you

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