I’m not sure who I’m writing to tonight, but I know where you’re at. I’ve been there. And I didn’t think I was going to make it out.
But I have. I’m here and my heart is still beating, and I feel more alive in this moment than I have in a really long time.
I want you to know you’re going to survive.
You’re going to make it.
Even if you don’t think you will.
You’re going to make it out of this, and you’re going to be okay. You’re going to be more than okay.
The days are going to get really dark, and the summer may be a long one, and you may have to wait until six months passes before you start seeing the brightside. But I promise you it’s there, and you’re going to see the light of day again.
Nothing stays dark forever. Not all is lost.
Because the thing about darkness is once you’ve been in it once, you become strong. It shapes you, shifts your perspective. And once you’re out of it, you will have hindsight and watch the pieces fall into place, how they’ve molded you and given you a story.
In this moment you feel like you’ve lost everything, and you have. I know that feeling. Losing everything. Friends. A sense of home. A sense of self. Your heart. Your mind. Your body. Your motivation.
And maybe you just feel like you’re wading through deep waters and the tides are pulling you in deeper and further out from the shore.
Please stay, just a little bit longer. Don’t give in to sinking underneath and forgetting your problems. It would be easy and it’d be quick.
But you’re a fighter.
You do not give up easily, and you know that. You’ve faced this darkness before, and you can face it again because you are a survivor. You are as tough as nails, and you always rise and rise again.
Things can break you but they will not kill you. Not if you don’t let it.
But you have to believe this isn’t going to break you. It starts in your mind – if you think you’re going to sink, you’re already fifty feet below. You won’t understand what it really feels like to fight the waves until you shift your mind to warrior mode, to actually deciding right now that you will not give in or up.
That’s when the fight starts. Because now your mind is growing stronger, and your body is directly correlated with your mind.
Something that’s said when exercising is “the mind gives up first, not the body.” Your body is stronger than your mind, which means if you give up in your mind, you’ve given up altogether.
Take it from someone who was borderline giving up. The darkness sucks. It’s a bitch and it should rot in hell. It tells you that you aren’t good enough, worthy enough, loved enough. It says that you are annoying, ugly, and untalented. It says you have no purpose, no talent, no friends, no experience. It tells you that you’re better off dead or lonely or broken because you deserve it, because you deserve to feel guilty or ashamed or broken.
We are all broken yes and we all carry guilt but that guilt is not who you are.
We like to believe what we do doesn’t define us, breaking someone’s heart or saying cruel things. And we shouldn’t be excused for hurting someone else. Never. But that doesn’t give us an excuse to deem ourselves unworthy of love because we still are. Even in our darkest moments. And I guess in these moments that’s what makes us human: trying and trying again, to not let things define us but resting in that we are loved period. We are worthy period. We are enough. And we are going to try our best. To be the best we can be, not to be perfect but because our best is the best. To love our hardest, to try to stay the longest, to fight with intensity and brave because that is who we are. We’ve only forgotten.
A blog post isn’t an easy fix, but I know where I was a year ago around this time, and I know what the summer was like. It was a dark summer; I think I cried more in that three month time frame than I have in my life. It was a collision of who I was, who I thought I should be, and what other people thought of me, and only now am I beginning to see how those things have created a story only I can carry.
That’s why this is worth it: not because everything happens for a reason or some other cliche (even though that’s a lovely thought we southerners like to overuse), but because you have a story that is going to impact somebody.
I’m speaking my truth right now because someone spoke her truth a year ago and posted it to the world. She wrote her words on a screen and sent them out to whoever would read them, and honestly I didn’t find her words. They found me, right where I was at, in the thick of depression and rejection and guilt and anger, and they wrapped me up in a hug, just like the hug she gave me the other night.
And you wanna know the crazier thing? I consider her my friend now – we’re getting coffee soon, and we’re going to share our stories. And I couldn’t be more excited.
That’s why this is worth it. For that coffee date. For meeting her and thanking her for her words and who she is and what she’s been through. For the key I’ve given away and the key I wear now. For the people I’ve met in coffee shops and street corners and work places and told bits of my story to.
They’re the ones that need to hear your words because they’re going through their own darkness too.
That’s why I’m writing, why I blog. Because I hope somewhere in the world you are reading, and you are nodding your head or tears are in your eyes because you feel like someone is there with you, hugging you too. And maybe we’ll meet, and you’ll give me a hug and start crying because something I wrote shifted your perspective and gave you hope again, just like how her words became one of the cornerstones in my foundation that I began standing on again. And then you will be that to someone else too. It’s a cycle, and it’s beautiful.
So if you’re feeling like you aren’t going to make it out tonight, please know that you are. You’re going to make it out, and one year from now you will not be where you are. It’s really hard to believe right now, honestly I didn’t think May would ever come again. But it has. And it’s May 1st, and I survived and I am in a much, much better place.
You will be too, love. You will be too.
These were the words she sent me when we exchanged numbers and I told her I felt like an absolute mess. Hear them tonight, and know you’re going to make it out alive.
For now, know you’re not alone.
The smoke clears, so wait for that– you’ll be a little dazed and confused when it all clears, but wait for that and be thankful for that hell because it’s better than where you came from, even though you still feel like a mess– you’re on your way out. // jb