We all talk about being “real,” we encourage each other to show our true selves, show the grit, the pain, the heartache. That’s a bunch of bullshit. We say it like we are going to open up our shell. But, in reality we want to see it from others, so we can feel better about ourselves, make our shit that we hold close to the lapel seem not so shitty.
Within the past year or so, I’ve shown some real stuff. If you are close to me, you have seen some of it first hand. I feel as a woman, as a mother, as a runner, as a coach, as a friend, as a human. I owe that to myself and to anyone who may be watching; looking for some sort of common denominator, to feel less alone. I am not a bullshitter, I am not a sugar coater, I am a straighter shooter. I have walls that can’t be repelled. I have a lifetime of compartmentalizing practice, and my name is a synonym for the word strong.
In that same time period I experienced some pretty fucking amazing firsts. I set goals for myself to travel solo, say yes, buy ridiculously expensive plane tickets on a whim. Surrounding myself with some of the best people I know, being uplifted by pure kindness and empathy.
With the recent attention on people in the limelight with suicide, a friend recently posted something that really hit me in the feels. It simply said: “Check on your strong friend.”
For about 6 weeks prior I felt as though I had been hit by almost everything I think I could have taken. All at once. Right in the face. No warning. I was having a hard time dealing. I was then mad at myself for not sucking it up and moving on. This isn’t me to wallow, or to cry, or to sleep all day and not run. Who the fuck was I? It wasn’t me.
I had a friend recently tell me that she knew I needed help, but didn’t know how or what, so she avoided. I do not blame her in the slightest, I was a fucking wreck. I would have backed off too. We talked about this in some depth. I thanked her for her honesty and courage. I explained to her that I thought I was strobe-lighting to everyone asking for help and I felt abandoned, not just by her, but by everyone. At one point I drove to her house unannounced for a simple hug and lost it. I was lacking physical touch in the sense of comfort, someone to hold me and tell me it would all be ok. See, people don’t know what to do when the person they count on, the strong one, loses their shit. It is foreign and uncomfortable to everyone. It’s easier to do nothing.
So my strobe-lighting that I thought was so obvious, was overlooked because I’m strong, and I’ll be fine. Which I truly understand as that is my motto. “I’m fine, it’s fine.” For the first time in my life, I didn’t know if I was going to be fine and I felt as though I had no one to turn to.
At some point in the year, I wrote down some words, some words that I remember almost threw themselves on the page: