Love Letters

The Empty

Part I: The Friends

Dear Aunties:

I have not forgotten you out there in the world, loving the littles, supporting each other, and being amazing, even given tough jobs, extreme heat, and disappointing news (personally and nationally/internationally.)  In writing this blog, you have become a part of me, and I had come to a place where, throughout the day, I think of so much we have to discuss, all the things I know you will understand.  But for the last month or so. . .I was empty.

Here’s the thing, I have experienced exhaustion, where I knew that I needed to just be still (okay, just lay around.)  And then there is the other kind of exhaustion, where your brain has said “too much! I can’t keep supporting your happy at this pace” (i.e. – Depression.)  And this last month, those demons came to visit.

I was in too many states, too many countries, I was trying to make too many people’s lives easier . . too many OTHER people’s lives easier, too many OTHER lives happy.  And I didn’t put enough care into making my own life easier.  And when we don’t choose to put enough care into that, our health, physical, or mental, will send us a big reminder.

Love, Love will come find you, just to remind you, of who you are.  – A. Keys

So in this moment, I bring you some of the things you have brought me during this time.  I open my arsenal and show you what you have given me to fight this battle back to my happy place, back to my smile, back to myself.

  1. Checking in: One of the things I think it is hard for people that have not experienced mental health issues is that it is not a one and done deal.  This isn’t a virus where there is steady improvement.  Instead each day, each moment is different.  To have a glimpse of stability, of hope, is a victory.  So “how are you today?” is the perfect way to reach out.  Mostly we just need someone to remind us to ask ourselves, so that we remember to celebrate those glimpses we see each day.
  2. Flexibility: Related to the mention above, each moment is different.  My dear friends showed up, dealt with my changing ability to venture from my house, gave me rides, ordered food.  And they did all this without making comments when I couldn’t eat or when my rideshare apps were working just fine.  In short, they took away every worry in making my own decisions moment to moment so that I could put all my energy on survival.
  3. Reassurance: This sounds so silly, but my friends had to reassure me through all this that it was okay to lean on them, to ask for favors, to recount my stories, to hold my hope.  Because you see, (reference words above) I am used to being the one to do these things, I want to care for my friends, but sometimes, we cannot.
  4. Tissues: Because thank you for not letting my tears (and tears, and tears) scare you away.  From bar napkins to tissues, to thumbs, thanks for reminding me to wipe them away.

So thank you support team, thanks for bringing me back to life (again.)  Thanks for never making me doubt that you will hold me.

Thanks for teaching me, again, how to be an aunt.