There are times when things just are not as easy as we expect them to be. Times when it feels like literally the entire universe is just having its way with you, and you’re not even getting a courtesy spit out of it. Times when all limits are being tested repeatedly.
And that is where I have found myself for the better part of the last few months. It has been, in a word, awful. I have felt and watched all vestiges of my joy and perseverance just dissipate into thin air. The best way to describe the way that it has felt is like…. I am 5’2”, and I’m standing in the 5’ depth of a swimming pool on my tippy toes, while someone is making waves, and I’m just trying to keep my nose above water. Poor way of putting it, but it is so real that it kind of hurts.
When I was younger, I had a whole slew of outlets for those feelings. And to be perfectly candid, the vast majority of those outlets were not healthy by any means. But I needed to just get through it, and when you’re that desperate, you’ll do whatever it takes.
These days, I have spent a considerable amount of time searching for things that help and things that heal. I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read about this cool, new trendy thing called “self care” (cringe). I can’t tell you how much I’ve read on dealing with stress and anxiety and depression. But I can tell you exactly the number of times that I have reached out and said to someone (anyone) that I’m close to “I need help.”
The last several days have been a humbling exercise in being candid about how I am and have been doing. The last several days have given me the unexpected opportunity to trust and rely on the people in my life for compassion, empathy, and wisdom. And the best part about all of that is the way that I have been surprised in the most incredible ways.
I was asked to take a week off from work due to concern over my depression and general stress with my job. Ignoring (for now) the feelings surrounding that, I decided that what I needed was to be surrounded by the people that I know beyond doubt love me. So I booked a trip home for the next day— hella expensive— and made a couple of calls.
I think that it’s fair to say that most of us are used to be being disappointed by the people in our lives. Unfortunately, more often than not we are just going to be let down by the people that we trust. “Hope for the best, expect the worst” is a sad mantra that I live by, and I know that I am far from the only one.
So when my mom and my boyfriend dropped literally everything to love and support me…. Well. I am still coming to terms with the way that that feels and felt. Being asked what I needed right then, and having that need immediately being met was just inconceivable. Because while I might consider myself someone to do that without hesitation, life has taught me that that is just a rarity in other people.
Where is this all going?
I have spent my entire adult life stupidly proud of the fact that I am an island. I have spent ten plus years intentionally creating distance, because it’s better to be alone and know that you’re alone than it is to find out in your time of most dire need that you are truly alone.
Hence all of the coping mechanisms.
As much as I have wanted it to be so, we are not islands. As much as I value my privacy and isolation, we are meant to have a tribe. So right now, I’m feeling incredibly loved and fortunate. Right now, I am realizing that even though there’s a pretty large distance between us, I have this system of love and support waiting for me. Right now, I am just awe-struck at the love and compassion without hesitation that I have been on the receiving end of over the last week.
Find your tribe. Let the right ones in. Don’t hold back. And be amazed at the beautiful gift of love what we all deserve, even if we don’t believe in it. Because at the end of it all, that’s all that we have.