I’m not going to beat around the bush. Life hasn’t been easy this year. I keep telling myself it’s been a test. That I’ve been chosen to remind myself of the kind of woman I used to be. That I’ve been chosen because if it had to be somebody, it had to be me because other women in my position would have crumbled by now.
But I haven’t gone through this by my lonesome.
This isn’t some kind of epiphany. I don’t need to write a book explaining how to cope with depression and grief. Or how the people closest to you should react and behave. Because all of it matters. Every little effort matters. To everybody, I want you to know every minute you use to think of me matters. Again, I don’t say it’s an epiphany. But it is a surprise.
Human nature can do that sometimes.
First, I need to thank the strangers who take the time to flatter me (the majority of them men). Although I know I’m a pretty girl, my self-esteem has taken a hit. Being rejected by somebody you loved can do that. So when I hear, “Hey, beautiful.” or, “You’re eyes or gorgeous.” it lifts me up just a little more.
To the woman at the dog park I see a couple of times a week, I thank you for the time you take to listen to me when I’m drained and my headache is practically visible, like a storm cloud thundering around my ears. When your eyes flare with sympathetic fury, it extinguishes some of my own.
There are a few friends from high school who have taken the time to reach out to me. Two girls in particular periodically message me just to check to see how I’m feeling. There’s a man who I knew, briefly, before I moved away from California who’s reminded me of the snarkiness I once had. At times, it’s easiest to share all the shit I’m going through with him, simply because he’s the farthest. I feel terrible for forcing him to listen to all my insecurities and sadness. But I choose to be selfish because I know he’ll listen, set it aside for me, and remain unjudging.
As far as blood goes, I know some of them ask my parents how I’m doing. But there is one family member of mine, who probably won’t read this, but I think of him all the same. My grandfather is a quiet man but he’s sought me out, checking on me personally. He doesn’t pretend to worry about me or inquire my well being just to prove his dedication. Now that I’m an adult, frivolity is something I find irritating, and he’s a man who feels the same. It’s a kinship I didn’t know we had, and it’s something I’m starting to cherish.
My dog. She cuddles me the countless nights I cry myself to sleep. She’s not a human but she offers what most people can’t.
My best friend. She seeks my advice which is like a breath of fresh air. Trying to hold onto control is like trying to grasp water in my hands. I can get so lost and she gives me something to hold on to, even if it’s for minutes. She shares with me a bubbliness that’s so endearing you can’t help but smile with her. I’ll use the analogy once more, she’s like a breath of fresh air and I don’t get it as often as I like.
My Godparents. They’re on the other side of the country, but I know if they had the means and the ways, they would be here by my side. Because, after all, family is supposed to be with you through the good and the bad. It wouldn’t have even been a question. Of course, they would be here if they could.
I couldn’t begin to explain how much I love my siblings. How dear they are to me. They understand how difficult it is for me to share my feelings, and they don’t ask me to. But they continue to show me how fiercely they love me in return. They are ready to stand in front of me to protect me from the unknown. Have already stood between me and viciousness.
And lastly, of course, my parents. My sisters stand in front of me but my parents stand behind me. The shove me up when I start to fall back. They grab the back of my shirt when I trip to keep me from falling on my face. They push me left when they see I shouldn’t be going right. My mother and I discussed today how much I’m like my father. I bottle my feelings and avoid sharing them. She insists I discuss them, but most times I tell her I don’t have anything to say. And it’s usually true because I have people in my life who give and take a little.
Each and every one of them absorbs a little of my pain and offer their support and sympathy. Each of them, of you, allow me to stand tall.
So how can he look upon so much light? I can guarantee it’ll blind him. And how can somebody attempt to swallow all that love? Those before have choked on it. And it will still be true tomorrow, next year, for all of the eternity.
Human nature is surprising in its predictability. There will always somebody who wants to break you. But there is always somebody willing to put you back together. You don’t even have to ask for them. They’re already there with you.