Being constantly strong, putting on a brave face and 'pulling it together' is a gift to those around you, never to yourself. We aim to make those around us as comfortable as possible, to inconvenience them as little as possible with our pain.
If you take one experience from this year, if you ask one more hurdle of your mind, ask yourself to live with the potential for love, rather than the expectation for hate. Perhaps this year has brought you to your knees and you laugh at the concept of having survived in one piece. If so, I want to take this opportunity to bow before you and acknowledge how hard it is to remain consistently strong in a world that demands an endless supply of giving. I hope you can progress and let down the heaviness of this year in time. For now, I will hold the pride for you, for your life until you can bring yourself to carry that torch for yourself because by God, you deserve it.
We were girls with loud voices, notoriously resented by the staff of our school for being outspoken and difficult to tame, as a year group. We were creative, wild and a bundle of loose canons set to explode into adulthood. Yet, these same girls, myself included, were unsure of ourselves, anxious and self-conscious in the extreme.
There are certain things that I will always find soothing. Having my hair stroked or a hug from my mom after a hard day, those are in my very DNA. In order to cultivate an environment that feels safe, I have included some of these childhood soothers back into my life.
Yet here is what I can do; I can remind them that they are magic to every life they touch. This is a shout of love into the void of pain, reminding you, my beloved friend, that to feel alone is but an illusion. You will never stand alone, you always have me. I will be your fortitude, your crutch and your cheerleader whenever the need arises. I cannot solve your problems, but I will ensure that you do not face them alone.
‘You are meaner than your demons, colder than your pain and braver than your last thought.’
If we accept that fact, that We Are All One, as true then another intrinsic truth arises that we cannot ignore. If we were to live as though no one, even those who wrong us in the worst ways, were a part of how soul in need of love rather than condemnation, then we would never lack. There would be Enough.
I understand something I didn’t as a teenager. We can be on anti-depressants or in therapy and still experience moments so sharply brilliant that we laugh until our chests hurt. We can fret over living with our parents until our thirties and still receive a hug from a friend that is filled with such love that life is, momentarily, fixed and whole once more.
As a child, I was always one to feel guilt quickly and regret often. My mother uttered; 'Just let it go, Jen' more times than I can remember. Now, with a somewhat genetic complex for guilt and anxiety, I have noticed the toll that 'cancel culture' and social media is having on my own mind.
I don't remember the first time I thought that I would die from this sickness. But I do remember the first time I hoped I would.