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Disappointing tea, afternoon tears, and the friends who save our lives.
Afternoon thought dump in my journal while sitting in my favorite coffee shop.
“I know you’re sick of answering this but, how are things?”
Today I feel… I’m not quite sure actually. I tried to wake up and have a “seize the day” attitude, but eventually, idle time and silence created a playground for my negative thoughts. I woke up before my alarm and before Ava, which gave me plenty of quiet time to not rush and get her ready for the day. I mentally checked off each task on the morning’s to-do list and schedule to get her day started and off to daycare. Once I returned home to start my own day, though, the idle time allowed for all of life’s current problems to cloud my thoughts and I was immediately bogged down by sadness, unable to find the strength or energy in that moment to proceed with the intended plans of my morning.
Then, I saw on my Informed Delivery email that I had a letter from one of my childhood best friends, Tiarra coming today. That instantly lifted my spirits before I could even read its contents because Tee and I have been exchanging letters since middle school. Of course back then they took the form of notes passed in the hallway and slipped in lockers between classes. Usually addressed “To: Tweety, From: Mickey 4 YO Eyez Only, Not Yo Name? NOT YO NOTE!” One of my biggest life regrets is purging the grocery bag of our notes throughout the years before I left for college. I’m sure they could’ve been the outlines for the storylines of the next big Young Adult High School trilogy.
I immediately put my phone down and power-walked to my mailbox. The morning mail woman was there stuffing boxes and I silently hoped she had already got to mine so I would not have to stand there and awkwardly wait as if I was rushing her. I grabbed the letter, opened it, and didn’t even make it back to my apartment before beginning to read the first page and bursting into tears.
“I am so sorry that things are not the best right now but I’m extremely proud of you for finding the strength to push daily and ask for help when needed… I can’t imagine the amount of energy it takes to carry on but I will say I’m glad that you push through.”
I’m sure Tee didn’t know that I would receive her letter at the exact moment I needed to, but she gave me the boost I needed to jumpstart my morning. I’ll yell to the sky every morning and every night that my tribe, near and far, carry me through the struggle and I am forever grateful. It felt good for someone to acknowledge that the struggle has been continuous and that each time I take the next hit to the chin gracefully (or not), fall, then eventually get back up before my ten seconds run out. I wrote in my phone notes yesterday that if I actually chronicled every breakdown I have during a given day or week, and the event, situation, or thought that triggered it, folks would wonder how I ever leave the house or my bed, even without cursing the sky. Moments where someone other than myself acknowledges how hard I fight, help me to continue doing so because I know my journey is helping others who feel they don’t have any fight left either.
With the energy boost I received from reading Tee’s letter, I was able to return home, have a good cry, shower, get cute, and head to my favorite coffee shop to get some writing done and fill out job applications. For a moment during my journaling session, I began feeling that familiar feeling of dread knowing that tears were forming. Tears that I would be unable to stop. “Ugh. I can’t do that right now. I mean I can, and it’s very on-brand for me to be crying in public, but not today. The tears won’t stop if I allow them to flow again.” I wondered how many people currently in the coffee shop felt similar to how I did. I looked around to distract the tears and wondered if the barista who made my disappointing blueberry hibiscus tea struggled to start her shift that morning. Or if either of the chatty duo sitting beside me was battling thoughts of ending their life while holding a conversation. This, of course, gave my tears permission to flow because the empath in me felt the weight of the possible community struggle in the space.
Here’s a business idea for someone other than me to take on: universal mental health status bracelets/indicators. You know, like those parties that give out color-coded cups or wristbands that indicate someone’s relationship status? How much better off would some of us be if we had a bracelet that indicated that even though we look put together and are seemingly functioning well, we struggled to get out of bed that morning and just need a smile and an assured whisper that “it’s going to be okay?”
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