“Mrs. Rubink,” he said as he sat in his seat, “What’s wrong with you?”
“Oh honey, you ain’t got time for that.”
“I mean, I know you got issues. Like my dad has schizophrenia and he’s bipolar. My mom’s super poor and got high blood pressure. My auntie’s a drunk…” my sweet student pauses and says, “Are you autistic?”
“Nah. Not autistic. Not that I know of anyway. But you know I deal with other things.” I’ve been honest with my students before. I can’t expect them to work on themselves if I’m not willing to better myself.
“The way I think is that everybody’s got some shit.”
And my super intellectual kiddo is so right.
I sat down at my computer to write my friend a letter. I’ve been thinking about this friend a lot lately. Sometimes I stay up too late thinking about how I can help (ie overanalyzing what I would do in that situation ::helloooo, anxiety::). And as I’m thinking about the one friend, my brain shifts to another who’s struggling. And then another, and another. Before I know it, I’ve sweat through my sheets, my legs are super stiff, and it’s 4am.
I wanted to write you a letter. But this letter could be for her, too.
I see you. I am sorry that you’re going through a hard time. This is not your everyday-generic-sorry. I see your pain and I feel the sludge that you’re stuck in. This is hard stuff. You deserve so much more than this shit you’re going through. Because you’re so brave, bright, and splendid, you’ve created a community of humans who love you and support you. But I need you to know that I am also here to keep you afloat. I’m here to help you find air.
You’re busy. Busy as ever. You feel lost and confused. You feel frustrated that your world is often hanging. You’re giving too much of yourself to others. You offer advice. You cheer me up. You laugh with me, listen to me, and you’ve stuck with me through some of the worst times of my life. I wish that you could see yourself the way that I see you. Beautiful, compassionate, loved.
I pray that you find peace. But I know she’s been hard to find lately. I’ll hold onto you while we look together.
To the friend who’s losing a family.
To the friend who’s feeling lost.
To the friend who’s lost a child.
To the friend who’s desperate for a child.
To the friend who’s lonely.
To the friend who hates going to work.
To the friend who’s parenting alone.
To the friend whose child’s health is declining.
To the friend who’s lost a job.
We all got shit. And I don’t want to minimize it. I don’t want to downplay it like a common cold. You deserve so much more than hard stuff. I am proud of you for doing hard things. And I feel like if we can carry hard baggage together, we’ll continue to grow stronger.
Here’s a picture of a dog friends. It helps.