Hello dear friend,
If you must know, it’s your eyes that give you away.
You offer a bright smile but it’s the way you look away for a split second when I ask how you’ve been. “I’ve been okay,” you might have said. What you couldn’t say was last night you couldn’t breathe through the heaviness in your chest as you let the tears leak out. When nobody is looking, you tune out and resume carrying the weight of the world. It’s easy for us both to pretend that we aren’t hurting inside. We make small talk.
But what I should have said was how I read once that empathy is getting down on your knees, looking someone in the eye and realizing you could be them, and that all that separates you is luck. I should have told you that for better or worse, we’re in this crazy world together and as luck would have it, I won’t pretend with you that everything’s okay when it’s not.
Bear with me when I say that I will never understand exactly what you’re going through. I will never know what haunts you, and I will never know your whole story. I can’t possibly understand how much you are carrying in this moment, but please trust me when I say that I will fucking try.
It’s unfair that you can’t remember the last good day you had, but I will sit with you and talk about all the bad days in between until you do. Do you remember who you wanted to be when you were five? How you thought growing up and going on adventures was the bravest thing anybody could do? It’s not too late to be that kind of person. At your very core, you’re still that same five-year-old with the pure heart. Forgive all that has happened since then. Forgive the person you were and the person you are, and let each moment be at ease.
My dear friend, you’ve got to keep going. When you feel like giving up, please, ask for help. Tell me, or tell someone—anyone—how much you want to scream and cry and fight back. Crawl into your parents’ bed and talk to your mom till 3AM. Talk to your guidance counselor or a therapist you can trust. Go out and do what makes you feel alive with people who remind you that life is worth living. Do whatever it takes to remember the good underneath all the bad, and hold on to that.
But don’t you dare let go. You are loved, you are important, and you are worth so much more than you can imagine. Look around, there are people everywhere who love you: friends, family, and even strangers whose lives you’ve touched just by being you. Look up and know that He promised that whatever was meant for your harm, He will use to promote you. Think about the five-year-old you who still has dreams in her heart and birthdays to celebrate and so, so, so much left to give.
My friend, I’m sorry that we have all gotten so good at pretending. I’m sorry that life has tossed you into more storms than you can handle. The truth is, we are all weighed down by invisible waves which relentlessly crash onto us, but holding onto each other and to each passing moment is what gives us strength to see things through.
Please hold on to dear life, and I promise that one day the skies will clear and it will all make sense.