#FallingInLove

Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I were having a “discussion.” One of the things that I love about Amit is how we talk about the things that bother us. For the first time in my relationship history I’m trying to fix problems, not my partner. It’s a difficult trait to change in myself but I feel like I’m a better girlfriend because of it. At the end of our talk, I was so filled with emotion and Amit was smiling at me in the most goofy way. I just blurted out, “I love you!” 

I knew that I felt this way about Amit for the last couple of weeks. Our relationship has been an interesting one. We talk often about our future as couple and what that looks like. For the majority of my life, I thought that relationships like this: You meet. Date for a couple of months. Fall in love and express it to each other. After a year of dating, move into together. Live together for a year and get engaged. Plan your lavish wedding and get hitched. Two years later, have a baby. And a few years later, have another. And during that time, you are completely devoted to one another, absolutely happy and in love with each other.

Well, that “perfect” relationship doesn’t exist.

I’m letting go of a lot of relationship “truths” these days. I thought the perfect relationship had to look a certain way (ie: that you have to be head over heels in love with your partner all day, every day and be together constantly as a pair, or that a relationship has to be completely and totally equal, with equal give and take). But there is no wrong way to have a good, strong and loving relationship.

After I told Amit that I loved him, he didn’t say it back. Instead, he told me that he really cared about me and was happy to be my boyfriend. Old me would have been upset with him not saying that he loved me back. But new me is feeling secure with his response and where our relationship is headed. I’m no longer putting my expectations on to a timeline. I just want to enjoy hanging out with my boyfriend and not put rush into anything. Of course, I want him to love me. But I know that he needs to feel it- and say it- on his terms. I know that our relationship isn’t perfect but that this moment, it’s perfect for us. 

How is your love life, dear reader?

#CoVOID

It is certainly a weird time to be alive right now. As the world and myself slowly move out of our COVID-19 quarantines, I’m still lost on how I should handle “normal life”- is it safe to go out to my favorite places? Can I make plans to visit my sick mom a few states away? Am I able to hug my friends again? With all the information out there, am I being informed or misinformed? I feel stuck. I’ve felt stuck most of my life but this time, I’m a hard time shaking this off. 

When I first started quarantining back in March, my introverted heart was ecstatic. I get to spend all this alone time doing hobbies and not seeing anyone in the flesh. I quarantined with my boyfriend, which proved to be disastrous (we broke up but got back together a month later. We don’t quarantine together anymore). Even though I love hanging out with him, I realized how much I miss my friends and what a vital part of my good mental health they attributed to. I’m lonely for them. 

I’ve been fortunate to work during this time. While I have issues with my job (ie. my hours have been slashed to very part-time), I’m grateful for my position. I can still pay my rent and buy groceries. I’m still job hunting for something better, something in marketing or editorial with full-time hours and health insurance. I send out applications every day and average an interview a week. I should feel lucky with getting interviews but I know that so many people are not working right now and are applying for the same positions I am. My Imposter Syndrome kicks in, mixing with my depression- I honestly feel like I’m not going to find that job until sometime next year. I’m worry about my finances. 

I stopped reading the news. I usually know what’s going on in the world and now, I don’t (I didn’t know about the explosion in Beirut until two days after the accident). I’m off all social media platforms except Twitter (hey, I need one vice). I don’t make much of an effort with my appearance anymore. I stopped wearing makeup since my mask covers must of it. A good day for me is one where I can make it through work and then still have the energy to put in applications and maybe clean my bathroom or have sex in the evening. 

Needless to say, I’m in this black void. My depression before all this was high. The coronavirus has definitely elevated those feelings of sadness and despair. It’s a fight every day to stay positive and remind myself of the good in my life and in the world right now. Most days, I just want to sleep and not take care of myself and my responsibilities. But somehow (God only know), I manage to wake up, stumble out of bed, brush my teeth, call my mom, get to work, do chores and cuddle with my cat and my boyfriend. I remind myself that I’m not alone- the rest of the world is hurting; some more deeply than me. I’ve been listening to Michelle Obama’s new podcast right now- she is going through it, too. I tell myself that this mess of a year will be over with- a vaccine will come and politics will be soon shifting in a more progressive direction. I will get that job and be able to introduce Amit to my family in person. While it’s difficult to see, the future will be better.

How are you doing, dear reader?

#Starfish

One day, a man ran along a beach littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore due to a recent storm. He came upon a little girl who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one. Puzzled, the man looked at the girl and asked what she was doing. Without looking up from her task, the little girl simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish. “The man chuckled aloud, “Sweetie, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?” The girl picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this parable this past week. Last year (which is weird to say since it’s only February), my friends were posting on social media photos of them now and ten years ago. I started thinking about who I was ten years ago and how much I quote-unquote glowed up. I was living in New Jersey then, working as an personal assistant and saving my money so I could move to New York City. I recently dropped out of college but dreamt of a big life for me. I saw the people that I worked with at the office. Some of my coworkers worked at that company for most of their adult life. I couldn’t understand why people chose that for themselves- there was a big world to explore and be a part of.

Me, the summer of 2010 in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

I learned a lot since then- how to navigate the NYC subway system. How to properly flirt. How to build a resume and a website. I became a better writer. But I continued to have big dreams for myself. I always wanted something more- write for a massive magazine. Travel the world. Possibly save the world (in what way, I had no clue but I was determine to do it somehow). I kept thinking about to my former coworkers and telling myself, I don’t want to be like that. These days, I crave stability. I want the boring. I want to go to work, do a good job and come to my cat (or my future partner) and watch Netflix before turning into bed. While most of those big dreams I once had no longer feel achievable, a part of me still feels like I can save the world. I want to do and be more.

But what does one save the world? I’m not a billionaire who can donate a lot of money. I’m not Greta Thunberg. Sometimes, I wish that I had the brains and patience to go to medical school and become a doctor (I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I would make a great sex therapist). I do volunteer and protest on the micro-level. While I’m proud of my writing, it’s not appearing in “Vanity Fair,” getting read by millions. My life, despite all my adventures and the people I met, is pretty small. It’s not as big as I wanted to be and as of recently, I’m not okay with that.

But then, I am reminded of the starfish parable and something that a dear friend said to me. I met Elli when Elli was John. We dated for a little bit before Elli realized that she was transgender. I was (and still am) all about her transition. We spent hours talking about what it means to be a man and woman, societal pressures placed on gender and of course, having sex in a new body. Elli later told me that if it wasn’t for my love and acceptance, she wouldn’t have come out when she did. Elli is this wonderful spirit who shares her kindness and joy with so many others. When I think how I haven’t saved the world, if there was something that I could have done differently, I push those negative thoughts aside and think of Elli. There’s that one starfish swimming back to the ocean depths, happily dancing under the waves.

How have you saved the world, dear reader?

#EndOfSentence

Just go with the flow…

I’m on my period. There. I said it.

I’ve experienced the “crimson tide” for the last two decades. I’ve hidden pads and tampons in purses, socks, pockets and up sweater sleeves. I feel stupid shoving things up my sleeves but I like to change my tampon often and I won’t want a nasty infections like Toxic Shock Syndrome . When I first got my period, I tried to hide it form my family, especially my dad. I thought it was shameful and gross but the older I’ve become, the more open I’ve become with talking about my body and all of its wonders. Including my period. I hoped that when I got older, I would be able to talk about it more. Half of the world’s population experiences menstruation but we’re still pretty hush-hush about it.

Well, I want to talk about it.
Question: why are women so ashamed to talk about their periods? Why are we so ashamed about our bodies in general? I often ask myself, especially when I watch TV and movies: why the American public is so accepting of seeing bloody murder and death on their screens rather than nudity and sex? As a woman who wants to be a mother one day. I also think about breastfeeding my future children but I also think about the people who will make a big deal about an exposed boob. Why does American society sexualize the body the way it does?

The logic here is baffling. The human body is beautiful, functional and something to be celebrated. We’re shamed about our bodies due to the the Protestant Reformation. That movement (among other things) advocated a modest life. But this isn’t the 1700s anymore. Why are we still covered up? For an entertainment purpose? To sell more clothes and underwear?

Women’s bodies began to seem less and less functional and more like objects of desire. Straight men’s sexual desires drive how we consume and accept images of women’s bodies- and it’s become how women value their beauty and worth. Breasts (even though, yes, they’re fun to play with sexually) are intended to feed babies. With all our progress on feminist issues, how can such a simple biological imperative remain so stigmatized?

I just want to say, no way.

I want to be able to talk about these things to my coworkers and on a date; hear about them on television, in normal conversations with people other than my mom and my doctor. When I ask, how are you doing, I want to hear about period cramps. YOUR period cramps. I want to see babies getting fed by the boob whenever possible. I want to start breaking down the taboo and breaking down the stereotype because everyone’s body regardless of the shape, size and color is miraculous- bleeding and all.

What other bodily functions should we destigmatize, dear reader? (And if you’re like me and on your period, get some rest and eat some dark chocolate. You’ll feel better soon.)

#MondayMotivation

Have you ever had one of those weekends where you felt really free? You barely had any responsibilities. The weather was fantastic and you spent the majority of your waking hours dancing and laughing with friends. Yeah, I had one of those weekends…

But alas, it’s Monday. I’m sitting at my laptop in my office, clicking back and forth between tabs, trying not to get too overwhelmed with both my personal and professional to-do lists and downing cup after cup of coffee (I’m on my fourth mug and am still sleepy). But first- let’s check my email. Every morning, I receive motivational emails from various authors and adventurers I follow and admire. One of my favorites is from Gretchen Rubin. She sends these great quotes about seizing the day and being the best version of yourself. Even though I have issues with “positivity culture,” I love these little pick-me-ups. They do light a much needed fire under my butt. If you’re like me, maybe the following can help perk things up:

Morning is an important time of day because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have. Lemony Snicket

Have a great week, y’all ✌🏽

Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be. Zig Ziglar

Don’t mistake activity with achievement. –John Wooden

If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it. –Olin Miller

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. –Maya Angelou

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. Pablo Picasso

Where do you find motivation for the week, dear reader?

#TheBestOf2018

Oh, 2018. You made my eyes and ears explode. So much happened in the world of entertainment this year that kept me glued to various screens- my computer, my phone, my television and the local cinema’s. This year may have been a how one for some but in 2018, the world of a pop culture soared. Below are my favorites and recommendations of this passing year.

The cast of “Eighth Grade”

Movies (please note that I have not seen absolutely everything that came out this year but I did come close… kind of):

  • Ibiza” (Netflix) It’s a cheesy rom-com but sometimes we need a little extra queso in our life. The music is fun and the lead, Richard Madden, is eye and ear candy (he’s Scottish).
  • Eighth Grade.” (Out on DVDV now.) This movie is for eighth grade me AND the present day me. It nails being awkward and uncomfortable- or as I like to describe myself- confidently unconfident.
  • Black Panther.” (Netflix) I am not a Marvel fan but man, this movie was great (I saw it in the cinema thrice). It made me wish that Wakanda was an actual place and that I could visit it.
  • Ocean’s 8.” (Out on DVDV now.)  Just watch the movie for the clothes (the coats! the footwear!). That reminds me- in 2019, I need to start dressing better, more sophisticated.
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story.” (Out on DVDV now.) I may be the only person who likes “Solo” but come on! It has Darth Maul in it (spoiler alert).
  • A Star Is Born.” (In theaters) The movie left a profound impact on me. I left the movie theaters in tears but feeling inspired to sing (I beelined straight for the karaoke bar next door and tried to do my best Lady Gaga).

Music and podcasts:

“This is America” by Childish Gambino

  • Ariana Grande’s “no tears felt to cry.” 2018 was Ariana’s year. She came out with so many bangers but this one is my favorite (also, check out Miley Cyrus’ cover. It’s stripped down and so pretty).
  • Lake Street Dive’s “Good Kisser.” Rachel Price’s voice is perfection. God, I wish I could sing like her (despite my all my efforts). I was having a terrible day at work and found this tune while browsing Spotify. It immediately made me feel better (and who hasn’t been in that position? Damn exes who talk garbage about you after terrible breakups.)
  • These Days.” Speaking of exes, this song… But it’s so good and speaks many truths. Too often, we think about our ex and their life without us in it (or maybe that might just be me). I like to think my ex wrote this about me, for me, especially when I moved to Austin.
  • Nice For What.” Attention women of planet earth! Please listen to this song and make it your anthem! Thank you, Drake!
  • Bazzi’s “Mine.” What a cute, short love song. I would sing this to my cat- I’d hold her in my arms and tell her how happy I was that she belonged to me (Plus, I love this video. It’s weird and trippy and fun to watch).
  • The entire “Black Panther” soundtrack. It’s golden.
  • “This is America.” Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) is a genius. The song is good but when it’s paired with its music video, it catches fire. Add Glover’s SNL performance and your mind will explode. This songs started conversations and forced people to face some uncomfortable truths.
  • Armchair Expert” featuring Dax Shepard and other special guests. It is a surprisingly thoughtful podcast mixed in with silly humor from Dax (I particularly loved the episode Ashton Kutcher episode).

Television (it’s the same as with movies- there is way too much to watch and I’m still trying to catch up):

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

  • Who Is America?” (Showtime)There are so many things to say about this show. It’s crazy. It’s shocking. It’s hilarious. And you learn a lot about the people in our country (and just how stupid and misinformed they are). Sacha Baron Coehn is brilliant and I can’t wait to see what he does next.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” (Amazon Prime) The new season premiered a couple of weeks ago and I binged through all ten episodes in three days. I love the costumes, the dialogue, the humor. This charming show is a ten.
  • The new season of “A Handmaid’s Tale.” (Amazon Prime) The season frustrated me soon. I loved it, thought it was visually stunning but that season finale… Nope. I screamed at my TV and threw my shoe, hoping somehow to would hit the character, June, in the face. I understand her motivites but the season finale was incredibly frustating.
  • Beyonce’s Coachella performance. (YouTube) Okay, it technically wasn’t a television program but I was glued to YouTube watching Queen Bae do her thing. I love her. I will always worship her.

Remembering

  • Kate Spade. You made beautiful and affordable accessories. I felt like a million bucks when I donned your goodies. You are deeply missed.
  • Stephen Hillenburg. Thanks for creating SpongeBob, the best cartoon on the planet.  You are deeply missed.
  • Stan Lee. Your idea of connecting people with superpowers and social justice issues was beyond clever. Thank you for making us feel less alone. You are deeply missed.
  • Dolores O’Riordan. I’m just going to play this gem of a song in your honor (thanks for writing it and so many others).
  • Aretha Franklin. Forever cool. Forever badass. Forever Queen. You are deeply missed.
  • Anthony Bourdain.  If Arthea was cool, you were ice cold. Every beer I drink, every whiskey I sip- I dedicated them to you. Every time I think about traveling (especially as I plan my birthday trip to Central America), I think about you. Thank you for igniting that speaks in me. You are deeply missed.

What were your favorite pieces of entertainment this year, dear reader?

#AustinTexasYAll

So, I moved. Half away across the United States. To the lively metropolis of Austin, TX. It’s been a week and some days but it still doesn’t feel real. Perhaps I’m dissociating myself from the situation because I’m not getting decent sleep (I’m currently sleeping on a yoga mat and you know, anxiety). But fuck, I’m here!

Hova and me, thriving and surviving in our new home

Three weeks ago, I accepted a position at a local ad agency. They offered me a ton of money and I was itching for a new adventure. So, I packed up my house, said my goodbyes and moved the 1000+ miles to the Lone Star State. I found an apartment (thanks, Craigslist!), started my job on Monday and been trying take it easy while being gentle to myself. Of course, I’m experiencing my share of issues…

THE BAD. Hova hates her new roommate, Rambo the tabby (which I understand- I think he’s eating her food). I’m terrified of coming home to find him dead with his eyes scratched out (don’t ask me what happened between Hova and the dog at McCarran Airport on route to Austin. I can just show you my hands). My hair has morphed into this dead dandelion of a puff and I have no idea how to tame it. My skin- forget it! My face is breaking out like crazy. I should be called, Crater Moon. Both my phone and my laptop decided that they don’t want to be here and refuse to connect to anything (the only thing I want to do after work is watch a movie and I can’t). My final paycheck from my last job hasn’t arrived in the mail so I’m eating granola bars for meals. I only know a handful of people and I miss my friends in the Biggest Little City like crazy. Damn Texas mosquitos. My position at the agency is, needless to say, unorganized and a little directionless. And yes, there have been tears. Lots of tears and lots of doubts.

But there are a lot of good things to report.

THE GOOD. My things will be delivered on Monday- things like my bicycle, which I’ve been missing desperately. My apartment is adorable and in the middle of this lush mini-forest (my favorite thing about Austin are the pockets of green surrounded by cityscape). My roommate, Mandy, is kind and whip smart. She gives great pep talks and hugs and bakes delicious cookies. I’m making enough money to buy nice and brand new things. That’s a luxury I haven’t experienced in a long time (come on, pay day!). I’m excited to reinvent myself- I want to start wearing red lipstick more often, have it be my trademark. Austinites are incredibly friendly. I still can’t get over everyone saying, “y’all.” It’s too charming. My position at the agency allows me to be really creative and flexible. My coworkers are really open to experimenting and pitching random ideas. And yes, there has been lots of laughter. Lots of laughter and happy sighs.

I knew when I moved that things weren’t going to be automatically perfect. I knew that I would struggle, probably for weeks as I established a routine. This wasn’t my first major move ‘cross the country. I’ve done it several times in fact. The last time was from Brooklyn to Reno seven years ago and I experienced the same feelings, thought the same thoughts: Was this the right decision? You really stupid, Andrea, and didn’t think any of this through. Whoa, maybe this was the correct move to make. I know that I need to give myself some time and a ton of love and then, things will eventually fall into place. I did a brave thing and fortune does favor the bold.

How are you doing these days, dear reader? (And if you live in Austin, let’s hang out!)

#RadicalLiving

Be the rad!

Perhaps because Burning Man is right around the corner but I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to live radically and all the complexities that are associated with living so…

Life has taken me on an unexpected journey this summer- for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been temping at a warehouse in north Reno, working six 12-hour graveyard shifts each week. I get off work around 7am, pass out for three or four hours and then I’m up, checking emails and applying for permanent positions in Texas before heading back to the warehouse. I recently made the decision to move to Austin- the editorial and marketing jobs are abundant, as well as the dating pool. After exploring the capitol city over a couple of weekends, I fell in love- the city’s vibe, the people (and their y’alls!), the massive downtown Whole Foods, even the humidity. Austin feels like home. I want to be smart about this decision and have a job lined up before I leave (when I moved to New York City seven years ago, I had savings but it quickly ran out as I job hunted). Nevertheless, I’m exhausted.

This new life that I’m living isn’t sustainable. Being tired all the time is one thing. When I’m in the company of others, I have to force my eyes open (my sincerest apologies to the Austin ad agency I had a phone interview with yesterday. It wasn’t my best interview and I’m well aware that I sounded like a zombie mumbling through it). The barista at the corner coffee shop knows my red eye order as soon I walk in. My cat has even shown her true feelings about my extended absences and started peeing around the house in retaliation. My friends say that I’m pushing myself too thin. Am I? Maybe… But I don’t feel like radical change- like moving across the country- will happen without radical action. To change your life, you have to change your life.

But what does that mean- radical change? What does it mean to live radically? Burning Man was founded on ten radical principals which encourages people to be authentic and live their wow, to be completely open and unafraid, to dive in head first and embrace everything in the pool. Living radically means you put your all into everything you do and want to achieve- including find a new job and moving a big move.

So, that’s what’s I’m doing- I’m my living my extreme truth in order to make my dreams come true. But not just with work and the job hunt. I’ve been applying these radical ideas to my relationships, showing more love and appreciation to those I see every day (sending more text of love, giving kisses upon arriving a’la European style, holding hands with friends, etc.). I’ve been practicing radical positivity to help counteract against my anxiety, practicing self kindness and grace. My body and mind are getting used to the uncomfortable idea of being tired all the time but I know that good things are happening and better things are on the horizon- all due to my radical hard work and drive (and dear future employer, I work hard). With the risk of sounding like a totally tubular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, I am becoming one radical human being.

How do you live radically, dear reader?

#JobHunting

Job hunting… Ugh. Am I right?

In the last week and a half, I’ve applied to 41 jobs- positions ranging from marketing to editorial in various cities across our great nation. While I haven’t received any formal offers, I have done four initial interviews, one second interview and received six rejection emails. My days and (often sleepless) nights consist of scouring the internet, seeking opening that pop out to me- ones where I can use my skill set, ones that I have a company culture that I admire, ones that just sound cool and promising. This process has been frustrating. I’m not going to lie- there’s been a lot of tears and lots of comfort snuggles from my cat. But I know that something great is on the horizon, just right within my reach.

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a writer. That’s it. I was an editor on the school paper and I loved every moment being one. My senior year, I dreamed about writing for Vanity Fair and Vogue. I had a plan. Right after I graduated from college, I would march right up to Anna Wintour’s office andd- BAM! I’d interview Beyoncé. I would also get paid a ridiculous amount and see my name on a byline in one of the most famous and beloved magazines in the world.

I was stupid in high school, and didn’t know how life worked.

Resumes and applications. Networking- LOTS of networking, both in person and online. But it’s now an applicants market. In the United States, unemployment is at a low and the jobs are a plenty (i.e. there are over 11 million active open job adverts on LinkedIn alone). According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 44% of the businesses surveyed are looking for full-time employees while 51% are planning to hire temporary employees. However, nearly half of all the hiring managers surveyed said they’re unable to fill positions. So, they jobs are out there. The question is are you applying to them?

I spent today updating my resume and cover letter to reflect the many job descriptions I’ve read. It’s hard, digging through Indeed and LinkedIn, even Craigslist, looking for something that will make me happy at the end of the day, something that will pay my bills and allow me to have a bit of spending money so I can pay for my MoviePass subscription and a Saturday night of popcorn with lots of butter and a Coca-Cola.

Oh, you’re job hunting, too, dear reader? My advice for you is to keep  going. My mom said to me this past weekend, “Job hunting is tough. But so are you.” Don’t let the cookie crumble with its remnants blowing in the wind. Hang in there. You will find something, I promise. (And if you’re a hiring manager reading this- I’m awesome. I write well. I have a plethora of knowledge and skills. I work hard and I’m funny. If you’re interested in learning more about moi, check out my website and feel free to reach out at andreatyrell@gmail.com with questions or witty comments. Thanks for reading.)

#LetsTalk

Let’s talk and help one another

Let’s talk about last week, about those two suicides: Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. But lets also talk about the rising rates of suicides across the United States. According to the CDC, the number of people dying by suicide  has risen by 30% in the past two decades. While more men died by suicide than women in 2016, the rate of suicide for women has doubled since 2000 to six per 100,000 deaths. Why is this happening? There has to be something more than blaming our screen time. How are we preventing these deaths?

Which leads me to…

Let’s talk about funding- or the lack of funding. Many still see suicide as a choice rather than a public health problem- this is the wrong way of thinking. The United States currently has no federally funded suicide prevention program for adults. Even our insurance coverage lack proper mental health care. When I shopped on the healthcare exchange last year, I didn’t look at primary care (as I’m pretty healthy and don’t need to see the doctor that often)- I looked for mental health care. The sad truth was that most plans didn’t cover formal therapy. Coverage for medications, sure, but seeing someone weekly (or biweekly like I do)? Either none and bare minimal coverage. States are ever so slowly building resources but mental health services NEEDS to be a required part of primary care doctor visits. No referrals. No waiting. You address the issue in the moment the person is presenting. And no massive out-of-pocket fees (because frankly, that just makes you even more depressed).

How do we fix the lack of funding? VOTE for people who make significant changes to our healthcare system IN A GOOD WAY (i.e. not this current presidential administration). And DONATE to those local, statewide and national organizations that focus on mental health needs and help.

Let’s talk to our loved ones- really talk to them. After major deaths like these, the internet floods itself with hotline numbers and website suggestions where you can talk to someone. Yes, that is great. But what happens with the buzz of the press dies down? There’s a difference between being there and actually BEING THERE- physically present for a friend going through a rough time. Perhaps I’m a cynic but I feel like for someone who is actively considering taking their life, numbers and websites don’t help. The only hope is actual personal connections. What will we be doing to check up on our loved ones? How are you showing people that you care, that you’re there for them? Reaching out for help is hard, especially when you’re in deep with a disease like depression. You don’t want to bother people. You don’t want to be a burden to them. The stigma surrounding suicide leaves people feeling too ashamed to speak up and ask for the help they need. So, are you reaching back? Are you noticing any warning signs?

Let’s start talking about mental health, in general. I have always tried to be transparent about my mental health care. I see a therapist (hi, Linda!). I believe that everyone should see one. We all have things going on and can benefit from seeing a professional to learn tips and tools on how to make every life easier and lighter. Professionals encourage us to talk more openly about suicide, reframing it as a treatable public health issue rather than a taboo secret or personal failure. Another thing is Facebook, Instagram. Twitter, etc. On social media, we knew that we’re only seeing our friends’ highlight reel. Let’s see more of the struggle. Let’s hear more of the pain. Bad times connect us as much as the good ones and I want to know yours. What is going on in your life?

Let’s talk about suicide, dear reader.