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We All Have Stuff

Bubbly, Emotional, Energetic, Intense. These are all adjectives that people have used to describe me throughout my life.

“Always at a 10.” I’ve used this phrase to describe my emotions… and my general personality… for a long time. As a kid, I couldn’t figure out why something that made one person smile made me laugh hysterically until my ribs hurt. Or why something that made another person frown would make me burst into tears, inconsolable. It wasn’t until a friend described it to me like a noise machine. The arrow rests to the left on quiet, and then it twitches to the right as the noise gets louder… and louder… until it’s off the charts.

It is both a blessing

and a curse

to feel everything

so very deeply.

— david jones —

My emotions have been “off the charts” ever since I can remember. I can remember crying when Mufasa died... I was 2. In middle school, I cried because I let a moth drown in the shower. In high school, because Willy Loman kills himself at the end. (Sorry.)

At almost 25 years old, I cry for animals dead on the side of the road. I laugh out loud because I thought of something that was funny once. I hug people I am excited to be near. I despise people who have wronged my friends. I dance to music I play in my own head.

But it’s not just being bubbly, emotional, energetic, or intense. It’s so much more than that. It’s the rapid heartbeat in the middle of the school day. It’s the panic attack in the bathroom at the mall. It’s the days I never get out of bed.

Stress, Anxiety, Depression, C-PTSD. These are all disorders that have been used to describe me in the past year.

“Always at a 10.” So maybe I started out this way at a young age. Maybe I was triggered by things that happened to me as I became a woman.

But that doesn't mean I'm not bubbly or energetic. I am happy- don't get me wrong. You can be depressed and anxious and still absolutely love your life. It’s just scary to admit it when you have challenges. I try to be the strongest, most self-sufficient, free-thinking woman I can be. I try to be the best role model I can be for my sisters.

And I am strong. I am independent. I am free. But I also have stuff. We all have stuff.

There are nearly 7 and a half BILLION people living in the world right now. We drive by people’s homes looking straight ahead. We walk by people on the street or at work without smiling or saying hello. We swim in a sea of windows without ever looking in. We say “How are you?” and don’t listen to the reply. We film concerts instead of watching them. We pass judgement without listening first.

We are around so many people all day long, and usually don’t know about their stuff. We don’t ask, and we don’t tell. And a lot of the time, we just aren't concerned. We take care of our own stuff and keep moving.

Maybe someday I’ll have the courage to talk about mine. For now, I’m taking a running leap into freezing cold water without knowing how to swim. So far, writing has been my life-jacket.

But let’s start asking one another, “How are you?” without expecting a “Good, you?”...

Let’s listen.

Let’s talk to each other.

Let’s smile just a little bit more.

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