At times, it can feel like the pain and disappointment just never seems to stop. If it is not one thing, it is another. We try so hard. We try to be so good and do right by people. We work and struggle and press forward day after day. We are told there is supposed to be some sort of reward out there, but where is it? There may be a reward, but for damn sure, there is also some pain; so much pain and aching. We see it on other people's faces, and we see it on our own. Body aches and heart aches; aching to be free of the hurt. But life keeps you running until your side is splitting, until you just want to stop and catch your breath for a moment. Sometimes the pain is a startling breach that hobbles your entire soul; dreadful losses that rupture your perceived reality. Pain so visceral and unrelenting that even death itself can begin to look like a welcomed and kind benefactor. Or, maybe it's not a sharp jolt of pain at all, but rather a steady, ambient field of uneasiness, loneliness, disappointment and ambivalence that just seems to go on forever. Low-grade pain can be so rooted in your being that the pain begins to look like you, and you begin to look like the pain — it becomes your identity. Unexpressed frustration. Unrequited loves. Unrecognized. Unappreciated. Unvalued. Unhappy. Unfulfilled. Un. The same numbness and disappointment every day sends some people looking for something tragic for proof of life. But most of us just try to stay calm and conform. We conform to pain until we don't notice it anymore; it's what you call — numb — and it tragically blots out our pleasure too. Conformity is a type of calm where you hover motionless on the edge of a scream that never comes. It's hard to scream when you can't breathe under all the pressures, like the pressure of waiting forever for a second chance that will never come, or a future you can never have, or some absolution for your deepest sins, regrets and failures.

— Bryant McGill

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