Just a spoonful of sugar

Aaaah, sugar. We love it. We crave it. It tastes great, right? Really great? Yes! Gimme more sugar!

For many of us, sugar is the reward, the solace: after all, a spoonful of sugar does help the medicine go down. And of course we crave it: in it’s natural state it’s necessary. It’s needed. It’s sweet and lovely. I’m actually referring to food here (but also beyond that).

Sugarcoating – in life – is sometimes necessary. It’s often good. It’s a survival tactic. We’ve all heard the saying ‘fake it till you make it’, which can be effective to an extent. Sometimes, sugarcoating can make life easier for everyone. Maybe you’re still mad at a colleague and you haven’t really let it go, but you pretend because it’s work, and you are required to be professional, civil. Even at home this applies: after all, every time we have a negative or judgemental thought, we can’t just express it. That’s unacceptable. Part of growing up is learning to control such impulses, right?

But what happens when we do this too much? The layers of ‘sweet’ build up into a really, sticky, hard coat. When we don’t have the tools or learn the strategies to stay clear of this, it can build up and harden.

When we do this for too long, and ignore the (sometimes messy) innards of ourselves, our relationships suffer. You know what I mean: that plastered on smile you wear all day at the office, even though your personal life seems in the toilet. It makes me sad, in fact, that much of (Western) society still perpetuates the plastered on smile, that perpetual ‘happiness’ is what to strive for, instead of (also) celebrating our messes.

So, we’re actually miserable, but all those messy parts are just stuck there, under the surface. For a long time. And the layers of sugar build into a hard coat that is difficult to dissolve (or is it?). Your real parts, the messy inner demons, the things that aren’t so sweet or pretty, simmer under the surface. So we look for more of own personal ‘sugar’ to coat things with: booze, fast cars, attention from cute boys, burying ourselves in work, distracting ourselves with (our own version of) ‘porn’.

Then one day we wake up and you wonder what the flatness is. We start to wonder – or realize – that something BIG is missing when on the surface we might be doing everything right.

So we go to the doctor in the hope of a quick fix. And what form does that come in? Pills. A pill that can take away this feeling of numbness, or anger, or the emotional rollercoaster that you try so hard to supress every day.

I think that what i’d like to suggest is: no matter how thick this coat is, real life WILL rear it’s ugly head. And it’s just freaking messy. It’s ugly. It does NOT taste good. It’s gross. It’s smelly. The quick fix that we seek does not exist.

It might take some work to break free of these sugary layers, but addressing – and embracing – the mess underneath is a crucial first step. And once we get to accept the less ‘pretty’ aspects of ourselves, once we stop judging and faking our way through our lives, we can start to let the natural sweetness of our souls shine through.

It’s a scary step, to reveal your messy insides: not everyone around you will appreciate it. But to really thrive, to love, we must not be scared of this. We must be able to find the natural sweetness in the messes that we are, for ourselves, with each other.

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