I’m not sure where to begin. So I’m just going to. Three weeks ago on a drive home we got a call. I knew who it was, he wouldn’t call at this time. This wasn’t normal. The minute I heard the name spoken… I knew. I just knew. Our friend, a mutual friend, and groomsmen in our wedding, the only person in the world who could get me to eat Long John Silver (and I never will again), ended his life. We all knew that he lived with inner turmoil. All I could ask when he hung up the phone was, “how?” The details didn’t matter, what matters is that it happened. Tears were stinging my eyes, and Jon was silent. Ever since we found out we have been filled with questions. Why didn’t we try to see him? Why didn’t we show up? (Don’t I always preach about showing up?) We are riddled with a bunch of guilt because we wanted to do more, could have done more, should have talked more. Regret is a terrible thing to have.
Nearly two weeks ago my highschool friends husband ended his life. They are parents to a beautiful two year old, wildly in love, and living their dreams out. My heart can’t process through her story right now because on top of it all she is going through breast cancer treatment. Heartbroken. I, along with so many others, want to mend these pieces for her.
WHY? WHY? WHY? My words will fall short, and I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but I think collectively we need to do better job at being open and honest. We need dialogue. We need to stop faking it. We need to get real with ourselves and with those in our lives. I feel like I shout this from the rooftops but we truly need to love better. Harder. More intentionally. Deeper. With purpose.
For years I’ve contemplated this notion of the Facebook Fairytale…we show the world what we want them to see on social media, or worse maybe who we want to be... but it’s NOT real. There’s a fine line between airing your dirty laundry and being honest about who you really are, but it’s one that needs to be figured out. What if we open up? Will we still be lovable? Are we going to be judged? Does anyone really care? I believe that the answer is….YES to each of these questions! BE YOU and BE REAL. We have to stop pretending. The sad reality is that not everyone is going to love us and relate to us, and yes human nature can be to judge, so maybe we will be. It’s worth it. We NEED to open our hearts and express ourselves, so that we can be relatable to the world around us. What if in your vulnerability you touch a life that is in great peril? One person, one life, is worth everything. EVERYTHING!
My life, if you look through my pictures, looks like I travel in this la la land with a happy, bubbly attitude all the time. I give a snapshot, but it’s not the whole picture. I can promise you that that glimpse is WAY MORE fantasy than reality. The truth is that I have struggled with anxiety for the past year and a half. I’ve often thought that people have such a different impression of my life than what really exists based on the copious amounts of pictures that I strategically take and post. Reality tells a different story. Ever since Jon got shot I’m scared to death. Anyone who is approaching me quickly, men with cargo shorts, people with their hand in their pockets, and occasionally someone who just looks at me, can trigger an involuntary response. It has even happened when someone opened their car door at a stoplight. My heart beats rapidly, my palms sweat, and I feel nauseous. When we are travelling we take cabs to restaurants we used to walk to, and I stay in and home more than I ever did. If we are in a new place I wait for other people instead of being by myself (which is opposite of who I have always been), and I’ve avoided situations that I know will make me nervous. I don’t talk much about it because I’ve felt like I just had to deal with it. I have challenged myself to go to things, like concerts, that make me uncomfortable. It has affected me, and the people that I do life with, because I’ve changed.
Depression, anxiety, mental illness are silent killers. We, the proverbial we, have a hard time recognizing the broken when we can’t see the pieces. A smile can hide internal pain in an instant (I’m a pro at this). A mask for the soul. Sweeping things under the carpet to keep up the facade of perfection is reckless at best and catastrophic at worst. It begins with me. It begins with you. Start the dialogue. Show up and love hard. Dig deep and invest in the people around you. Stop judging others for what you can and can’t see, instead bend down and help them pick up their pieces.