Tuesday, February 21, 2017

You Are Not Alone: A Manifesto For Misfit Toys

On the way home for February Break, I found myself listening to soundtrack of Dear Evan Hansen for the first time, and as I listened to two songs in particular, Disappear and You Will Be Found, I finally was able to put into words how I have been feeling for the past couple of weeks.  There are two messages that I took away from these songs--"You are not alone" and "You will be found".

Many people come to me with their problems--I'm not complaining. Helping people is exactly what I do. But so many of those people are afraid that their problems make them seem crazy or that people will run away if they know the truth that is hidden under the mask. But none of us, as unique and scary as our problems are alone. There will always be a friend or someone to remind you that you matter as much as you feel like the darkness is descending upon you.

And so these things I promise to you, and I hope you will promise these thing to one another as well as we bring ourselves together on an island of misfit toys (in no particular order):

1. I promise to not run away if you tell me something. I know you won't believe me the first time I say this, but I will say it over and over for years and years until you begin to get it through your head, that you can't shake me. I will stay no matter how bad it is, even if I don't know how to support you. You can't scare me away.

2. I will answer my phone in the middle of the night because let's be honest, I'm probably not asleep either.

3. I will reassure you that you are not alone as many times that you need and at all hours of the day.

4. I will love you no matter what. We are all broken in different ways. This is not said to minimize your problems because each person's problems are real to them. This is said to remind you that you can't shake me.

5. I will cut you some slack on the bad days. I will tell you that it's okay if you ate two pints of ice cream or skipped class. I will let you use me as a punching bag if it is too much.

6. I will never tell you to calm down or that your feelings are not valid. Those things aren't helpful, and I know how difficult it is to hear them. Sometimes we just think the same things over and over again because our brains aren't rational.

7. I will do my best to make you laugh in the hard moments. After all, laughter is the best way to kill the boggart.

8. I will take care of you if you need me to. In any way. All you have to do is ask, and if I know that you are struggling I will send you a text to check in. I will help to support you or find someone to support you when you cannot stand on your own.

9. I will hold you when you are scared of uncertainty or just to be alive. You can always count on me for a hug even if you don't want to tell me what is going on.

10. I promise that you are safe here. Your vulnerability will not be taken advantage of. I will sit with you through panic attacks or anything else that you are struggling with. I will hold your hand at the doctor's office. I will proofread your emails to your professors.I know the world is a scary place, full of judgement and triggers, but here, on our metaphorical island, you are safe with me and with all of our misfit toys.

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