Let me start by saying that GOLOVELife is a movement that I am intensely passionate about. Love instead of hate. Love that inspires. Love that transcends the murky and scary gray areas of society. I truly think it’s an untapped representation of the joy of life that can change the entire world. I fell so deeply in love with this idea that I pestered and basically stalked its founder, Jessica Kessler, to let me help out and become a part of it (I wish I wasn’t so proud of this, but it’s kind of a badass way to get a job). GOLOVELife – The concept is so beautiful, and so easily forgotten nowadays.
LIFE IS A GIFT
I eventually got tasked with writing the literature for the suicide prevention branch of GOLOVELife. I was initially thrilled with the thought; there was finally something that I could actually help out with, something that I had experience with, something that I would be great at. The very next day I sat down at my computer to write…. Nothing came of it. The day after that, I figured I would do some brainstorming and research for inspiration, easy peasy. Gathering data was simple and made me feel productive, but I somehow never managed to write anything useful or compelling. For MONTHS. Months I pretended to work on this project, while really just rereading the same depressing statistics and then distracting myself with something else when I started to get too emotional.
This week Jessica wrote a short article for GOLOVELife about suicide awareness, it was beautifully written and it made me realize how much power our words can have in people’s lives. I went into a tailspin of realization about why it was so hard for me to write. Why can’t I write about suicide? Because writing about suicide makes me remember that my Uncle Steve died last year from it and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from that tremendous and avoidable loss. Writing about suicide makes me feel hypocritical. There have been times in my life when I didn’t care about whether I lived or died, so telling somebody else that they shouldn’t feel that way makes me feel guilty. Writing about suicide makes me uncomfortable. More than anything, writing about suicide makes me sad.
AND I DON’T LIKE TO BE SAD
I thought about that. My avoidance of doing something important because I didn’t want to feel. I didn’t want to be vulnerable, and I like to make myself numb to bad emotions. I regularly talk to people about their problems and counsel them as best as I can, but I rarely open up about my own deeper issues. As I thought more about it I realized that I am the problem. Apathy is poisonous to a society as fragile as ours.
- We need to talk.
- We need to let people know that we care about them.
- We need to love.
- We need to feel our pain to be able to work through our pain.
- We need to be honest.
- We need to care about others.
- We need to care about ourselves.
I was once in unimaginable physical and emotional pain, it led to anxiety and addiction and depression. When I was in that hole I was sure that things would never get better. I was wrong. Doctors were wrong about the quality of life I was going to have. My life is spectacular and incredible and I’ve never been more full of joy. I understand that things can be miserable, that mental illness isn’t easily remedied, and that depression is not a choice. I also know that there’s a good chance that nothing I write will ever change anybody’s heart, but neither will binge-watching 30 Rock on Netflix or doodling in my notebook. If there is a one in a million chance that you or I could help somebody then that is immensely important. You are my priority. You are OUR priority. You are loved. You are special. You are wanted. You are unique and amazing.
Let’s be a generation that cares enough to lift each other up, instead of put them down. Let’s be kind and emotionally supportive, instead of surface-level. Let’s stop pretending to be too busy to do something important. Let’s be genuine. Let’s share our lives. Let’s stop being too cool to feel.
Nobody wants to end their story during the worst chapter. Redemption comes from turning the page and writing on.
Be life, enjoy life, live life, play in life, speak life into others, and especially GOLOVELife :]