-Randall Munroe, xkcd.com
Me too, little man with a round head. Me too. But I don’t think it really IS too honest.
Sure, containment is important. There are lots of people bouncing around together, and we can’t all throw our AAAHHHH! at each other all the time. There’d be too much AAAHHHH to ever hear anything else. Sometimes things can be going on inside, and I don’t need to share that because the moment’s not about me. But there’s another side, too.
A couple months ago my friend was having a hard time. I gave her a hug. I asked her if she wanted to talk about what was going on. She said she was scared–really scared. She said she was confused. She said she didn’t want to tell me, because she didn’t want to make me “carry all that.” I don’t remember how exactly I responded, but I’ve been looking back at that moment. In it, there’s something important to say.
We get stuck thinking that we’re supposed to be “positive,” that we’re supposed to show how bright and happy (and successful and productive and beautiful and cool and OKAY) we are. We get stuck thinking that we help those we love by always smiling. And I don’t think it’s true. I think we help each other and inspire each other by showing our hurts as well as our hopes, our confusions as well as our revelations. When we only show the “best” of ourselves, we push everyone else to do the same. We push each other to be okay; we push each other to hide the hurts we have. When we come out hiding, when we share that we’re hurting, we can come home to ourselves. We can realize that it’s possible to be scared and confused and struggling–and, in all of that, to be doing pretty well. The lumber of our lives might seem heavy, but it’s also the stuff that ships are made of, and it’s also ballast for the storm. I think together we can carry it.
So me too, little man with a round head. Me too.