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I hate having to admit this—and that is why I must.
I am not okay.
I originally started writing this piece before the atrocity of George Floyd. I wanted to work through some emotions I was having a hard time defining and facing. I like to think of myself as a positive person, but I also recognize that I fight for positivity when (sometimes) I should allow myself to feel the negative—that is the brave and honest way to move through this life.
The other day I sat in the shower. I cradled my head in submission to the sadness, letting the warm water mix and wash over my tears, and I wondered: Why am I crying? I have a good life, I don’t need or deserve to be sad right now.
But, the truth is that things are not okay in our world. COVID-19 has been sitting heavily on the mouths of everyone across the globe. It f*cking sucks. There is conflict on how to move forward, how to feel about it, what to do, and isolation, which is crushing on a multitude of levels.
Now we are faced with a violently important topic—one that cannot be ignored: how to be good humans.
I realize now that my calling for this piece was much bigger than to write about my period of sadness because it brought another thought to light—we all hurt. Pain, suffering, insecurity, passive-aggressiveness, betrayal, lies, mistakes, heartbreak, profiling, judgments, labeling, bullying, and feeling alone.
I want to make a point of recognizing that this piece has no intention of diminishing the absolute horridness that has been happening to many. I want this piece to be unifying.
I have been feeling off-kilter lately, and as much as I don’t enjoy admitting it, I think I’ve been struggling with some depression. Again, this article is not a sob story about me, but I hope my experience will give some perspective—bear with me.
I was chatting with my mom over text a week ago, about our family. The hurt. The aching sadness for lost family members. The swelling pride I have to carry my name. Various things, really. And I was overcome with emotions.
I often resort to humor as a way to lighten the mood when things are heavy because I struggle with the idea of being a burden—I never want my negativity to become a toxic goop that sticks on others. So I make jokes about myself when I am emotional.
But I’ve been thinking about something else now.
I thought about how many other people—regardless of belief, color, location, and preference for coping mechanisms—have had the same conversation. How every single person on this planet lives and breathes and cries (and maybe tries to hide it or embraces it better than I do). That everyone comes from somewhere. Everyone has lost someone. Everyone.
And when we feel lost in the caverns of ourselves, all the intangible things that haunt us, someone else out there has experienced it too, in some form or another.
This simple yet profound fact should shout loud across the darkness that hangs over us. It should ground us in the fact that we must choose love. That we must speak up and remind each other we are on the same team. We are all floundering about this existence, trying to sort through pain, emotions, and everything being alive means.
Again, this is not taking away the struggles of others, and it does not discount the privilege of many, but I hope it can broaden our scope. I hope that by widening the lens we can again become connected. Become one.
drinking from the same cup
with eyes crushed,
blind to the moments
and milking misery;
from the river Styx to the Rolling Stones
until we choose Love.
My heart is heavy. It is heavy for a wide array of human things. I was going to touch on people of the past who have wronged me—those who made me feel small. But I see now that it is everywhere, felt in all of us. And that is my message.
When the trees throw up their arms in desperation, I understand. The way they curl their foliage fingers in distress, I understand. Being chopped up and thrown away because someone thinks seeing others burn is beautiful, I understand. Becoming desiccated over time from misuse, overuse, and underuse, I understand.
I do not claim that my pain is more than yours. I do not claim to know the intricacies of why you may sit in the shower to cry—but I am with you. I feel you. And I am sorry that we endure these things without knowing that.
I remember days when I sat in my own filth, like a beggar, hoping that the next time I dropped my soul into a jar, someone would tell me I was worth a single cent. And I recognize that same hunger in our world. I see how deprived we have become, and I hope that this article acts as a tender hand on the shoulders of the world. I am yearning for togetherness.
All the pieces of our humanity have begun to show themselves, like long lost travelers coming home. I hope we can pick up each one—I see how much we need them. I hope we can swallow all our jagged fragments and become whole again.