I have not been 100% open about what has happened in my life in the past year… Mostly because I found myself feeling like asking for help was not okay, and doing anything that drew attention to what went down felt like asking for help. However, this morning was an emotional morning that elicited a response that I am very proud of. So here it goes:
This morning I worked the 8-10am shift at the Honors Office. It is the first 8am shift I have ever worked in all three + years at the office, and it was significantly quieter than my normal shifts. I was stuffing Honor Bound into envelopes, and looking through a copy I saw pictures of my old residents, floor dinners, and moments that I consider some of the most proud moments of my life. However, I could not help but be reminded of all the things that happened last year that I consider my biggest failures. I started thinking about just how low I got last year. To top it off, I found out that every time I work an 8am shift I will have to go over to Ken’s office in Larzelere to drop off paperwork…
Let me tell you, walking into a place that is no longer home is enough to break your heart more than any love interest ever could… I was able to keep my cool until I left the building. I chatted with Jade, an old resident, without a single tear coming to my eye. But when I left to go back to work, the tears came to my eyes in an instant. I then saw a good friend and old resident Holly, who hugged me without question. And as her and I were walking together, I realized something: I was here.
I am here. I am alive. I am still living, breathing, working, getting an education, loving… I am so very alive.
And to be honest with you, a couple months ago something like this would have killed me… Not metaphorically. In fact, losing my job (something that was one of the most important things in my life) and this unrealistic goal of perfection were so important to me that it almost did kill me. I was a couple notes away from ending my life. I was less than a couple hours away from ending my life. My saving grace is one individual in particular who did not let me leave, and for that I am eternally grateful.
The point is, I was close. I was so done with the constant heartache life was handing me year after year. I was so ashamed and embarrassed of my downfall. I was done, and for those of you just finding out about this, I’m sorry. I wanted to keep it hidden. I didn’t want everyone knowing how low my low got.
But let me just tell you, after today I don’t want to keep it hidden anymore. I want the whole world to know. Why? Because less than five months later, I face a situation that is emotional and painful and hurts like hell, and all I can do is think about how thankful I am to be alive. Do I still miss my residents who were like a family? Do I still miss my staff who was even more of a family? Do I miss my home? Absolutely.
But I am here. I have chances to redeem myself. I have opportunities to make a stronger and better person of myself. I still have the ability to do some amazing things with my life. And I can be a voice for people like me, who felt like they lost theirs.
I know the saying “it gets better” has become a bit of a cliche, but I will tell you first hand that it does. There are always going to be things that hurt you in this life. There are always going to be painful things from our past that will occasionally haunt us no matter how hard we try to stop them. But things will get better. You will love again. You will have opportunities to make up for past mistakes.
So the point of this is simple: please stay alive. I know things seem bleak sometimes, and I know that when day after day are shrouded in darkness it is hard to remember that light exists, but it does. It exists in the people that love you, and the people you love, and the breaths you take. It is there, and I know it is so hard to see sometimes, but I promise you it is there. I will help you find it if you need. I will be your flashlight until you can find the light switch or the sun. But I know from first hand experience that no matter how dark it gets, you can find the light again. So please, I will say it a million times, stay alive. If you don’t feel as though no one else cares, know I do. If we’ve talked once, if we’ve talked a million times… I don’t care. You matter to me. You have made a difference to me, even if it was just a single smile one day. You matter so much more than you know.
The world will break us all. But life is about building and breaking and rebuilding again. It is okay to break. It is okay to ask for help when you do.
So no matter how the world has broke you, please stay and rebuild with us. The world needs your story so much more than you may ever realize.