“I think you’re magicians because you’re unhappy. A magician is strong because he feels pain. He feels the difference between what the world is and what he would make of it. Or what did you think that stuff in your chest was? A magician is strong because he hurts more than others. His wound is his strength. Most people carry that pain around inside them their whole lives, until they kill the pain by other means, or until it kills them. But you, my friends, you found another way: a way to use the pain. To burn it as fuel, for light and warmth. You have learned to break the world that has tried to break you.”
– Lev Grossman, The Magicians
That’s it. That’s the blog post.
Yeah, okay I lied, but you’re going to wish that was the end, because I’m about to get emotional and deep and that’s not usually something I do in my blog posts. So, if you’re reading this… grab some tissues and your favorite pet and get ready for a storm.
I’m not usually one to get emotional for the entire whole wide inter-web to see (i said usually) but I’ve recently started reading this book, The Magicians by Lev Grossman, and I feel like I needed to share the realness of this book. Specifically, this quote.
I read this quote and I put my book down and I cried. I ugly cried, okay? Full on blubbering, half wheezing to get oxygen, and tears rushing down my face like a hurricane. Just think over-dramatic-kim-kardashian-crying-over-her-earring face. OKay, now that you’re imagining the ugly cry let me tell you why.
This is important. This is something that everyone should think about when they feel like the world has plotted against them. You’re the main character in the story and you’re at the lowest point in the plot and you want to give up. That’s how I’ve felt lately. And I know majority of people have been to that place too. Some might be there with me right now, and if you are this is the pick me up you’ve been looking for. Or, at least, the post to make you feel a little less alone.
Now, we may not all have magic like the characters in this book. We can’t wave our hands in the air and say some magic words in a far too complicated language and make everything better. But neither can they. The point of their magic is for show and the main character, Quinten Coldwater, struggles with that so hard. He can’t cure his father’s cancer with magic. He can’t make himself happy with a spell. He can’t take away the girl he love’s childhood pain with the wave of his hands or the blink of an eye. He can’t fix his pain any easier than we can, but he is better and stronger because of it.
I always grew up wishing I had magic for the same reasons. I wanted to be able to say “abracadabra” and pull a new pet out of my hat. I wanted to go to Narnia and save the world and be crowned a Queen and meet magical talking creatures who give me a purpose. I wanted to wish my homework away. I wanted to make my parents marriage work with a love potion. I wanted to say a spell find my own person to love me. I wanted magic, because I thought that if I had magic that the world might start to make sense for once.
That it’d be easier.
Nineteen years old and I can tell you the world still doesn’t make anymore sense than it did when I was ten or even sixteen. I don’t think it ever makes sense — it’s not supposed to. The sun rises and sets everyday and you just have to go with it. You have to give yourself sleep deprivation to get that good grade. You have to work a nine to five job just to barely survive paycheck to paycheck and hope to make a name of yourself eventually. You have to go through heartbreak and lose friends to learn the value of yourself. You have to lose yourself just to find yourself again.
You have to break so you can sit down and pick up the pieces of your shattered self and rebuild it stronger than it was before.
Magic or no magic, we go through hardships every single day. The world turns and with each day there’s another test and another trial and you either let it beat you until you’re on your knees begging for mercy or you push yourself off the ground and clean off the blood and try again. You try again and you learn. That’s the point.
The point is that your pain isn’t a bad thing. You don’t have to sit there and curse the world for hurting so bad. You can use this pain. You can overcome it. You can let it shape you into something bigger and better and stronger. And even if you don’t believe that yet, you can at least look at it this way: you’re unhappy, and that’s halfway to being a magician.
You can sit in your bed all day and ask yourself “why me”, but I think the better question is “how do I overcome this”. You may not have magic to focus all your pain into, but there are outlets. The best writers and musicians and artists, they know how to use their emotions to make something that means something to someone. They pour their heart and soul into something and that’s how they cope. That’s how they break the world that has broken them.
How will you break the world? How will you use your pain to make an impact? How will you rebuild yourself when the world has turned it’s back on you?
Write until there are no words left in your head. Play an instrument until your fingers bleed and your hand cramps up. Sing until your voice is nothing more than a croak. Find the highest building in your town and scream until the cops get called if that’s what helps.
Tell that pain thank you for making you who you are today.