Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dear You

For the last guest post of Shattering Stigmas (omg this makes me sad to even be typing), I've got Michelle Smith on the blog! Michelle is the author of one of my all-time FAVORITES. I love Play On something fierce, and Game On (which came out on the 16th) is just as good and wonderful. So of course I wanted to ask her if she'd like to participate again this year, as the mental health aspect of PO is still one of the best portrayals I've read in a book. Aaaaand maybe I should stop now lest you all get tired of me talking about this book yet. :p I'm gonna hand this over to Michelle!

This is a letter I wrote to myself a few months ago, right before the 4-year anniversary of when depression almost won. Hopefully it resonates with anyone else who may be struggling.<3

*****

Open When: You Need to Remember That You’ve Made It

Dear You,
It’s been four years. Four years since you sat on a cold bathroom floor, alone. Four years since you cried out for help that never seemed to come. Four years since you felt more abandoned than ever. Until a small voice, as clear as someone sitting right beside you, told you to “stop.” In that moment of clarity, you were utterly confused, but you did stop – stopped depression from having the final word. And the moment you stood from that floor and walked out of the room, you started a new chapter of your life.
That night wasn’t a period; it was simply a semi-colon. Your story could have ended there, but it didn’t. Let’s talk about what’s happened since then.
You’ve learned a lot in four years. You’ve learned that life is full of sentences that turn into scenes, and that those scenes fit together to form chapters. Some chapters seem to go on forever, almost unnecessarily so. Some end abruptly, right when the story’s getting good. And some chapters are so beautifully woven together that they effortlessly blend into the next.
You’ve learned that strength is in the standing. That you can fall flat on your butt, you can try things and fail miserably, you can screw up and be forever humbled, but if you keep standing, that is a victory worth celebrating.
You’ve learned that depression isn’t a one-and-done fight. That it can appear on a sunny day when everything is going right. But you’ve also learned to keep showing up to fight. And that, my dear, can never be taken away from you.
You’ve learned that it gets better. Holy crap, does it get better. Now you know that you can look at little things, like the leaves falling and the stars twinkling and the birds flying, and remember it’s okay to smile. It’s okay to just be still. And you know that you’re worthy of those tiny moments, because those tiny moments will one day be the big ones.
Those are the moments that show you’re alive.
And last, but possibly the most important, you’ve learned that you cannot do life without one key factor: People. For so long, you were terrified to show yourself to people. You perfected that mask, the “I’m fines” and “It’s okays.” But now you know there’s beauty in the authenticity, magic in showing the real you to others. We’re not meant to do this life alone. The same people you laugh with on Monday morning can be the same people you cry with at 2am on Wednesday.
So I want you to listen to me closely:
You are breathing. You are here. You’re still here. And no matter what happens, this world is full of surprises and possibilities and new chapters.
So hang in there, girl. Your life is only beginning.

*****

Thanks for sharing this absolutely gorgeous letter with us, Michelle! And thank you for wanting to participate again. It was so lovely having you back on the blog. <3

And y'all don't forget to enter the event-wide giveaway and be sure to check out Inge'sShannon'sTopaz's, and Erica's blogs for more Shattering Stigmas posts! :)