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Irrational Fears

Earlier this year, poet Gabrielle Bouliane passed away. The truth she spoke of before she died spelled out some of the most inspiring language every single person should hear, internalize, and act on. And that includes you.

At a poetry slam in Austin Gabrielle spoke out words full of meaning. She was angry and sad. She was brave and sensitive:

“One minute everything is normal. You’re worried about paying the bills, what your boss said at work that day, if you’ll ever lose that weight, take that class, get that job, toy, dress, man, whatever… and the next thing you know some stranger in a lab-coat is telling you your life expectancy is

less than a year. And nothing is the same ever again.”

This is a dreadful situation no one wants to experience, but the reality is we are all mortal and have a limited time to live. We complain, and pity ourselves. We carry the behavioral patterns of our childhood deep in our bodies. We set unrealistic goals and deny our true selves. The reality is we are so caught up in our daily lives, in our struggles, in our bullshit that we forget to live.

Gabrielle went on:“You heard it a thousand times: You only get one life. Let me rephrase it in a way that will make more sense: You’re gonna die, sometime, somehow… The only difference between me and you is that I may have an idea of when and how. And I’m lucky you know, I get to tell my parents I love them every day, I get to say goodbye to everyone, I’m in a hospice, I’ll never be in pain, I’ll just drift away like a feather in a dream some day, while you’re stuck in traffic, going to a job you never liked, cursing the people around you, dreaming your if-onlys.”

Gabrielle was right. She was lucky. Perhaps in that she saw the truth, perhaps in that she got to live a more authentic life that has shaken her out of the frenzied human existence on this planet. But why does it take a terminal disease, a life-threatening event, for so many of us to wake up from unreality? Or as Gabrielle asked:

“What are you waiting for? Why are you not being everything you can be right now?”