Last night I was out in Manhattan celebrating the birthday of a good friend of mine. In the midst of music playing and drinks flowing I received a text message from a friend I’ve had for about ten years now. In the last two years we’ve had similar circumstances being single parents and while we don’t talk a lot I check in every couple of weeks just to see how things are going. A few days ago I was doing some research on previous blog posts that I’ve written to ensure I am not writing the same story twice I stumbled upon one that I wrote a few weeks ago and it was put on my heart to share it with them. Last night they wrote me back saying they read it and also said “How are you doing tho? I never ask you that.” With all that was going on around me, I stopped for a moment, and replied that I appreciated them asking because no one ever asks me. To me, it was a pretty big deal.
I tend to keep a fairly stoic and expressionless face so I’m not surprised that I am not asked often. I internalize everything, so no matter what I am going through personally the body language and tone is very casual, so it doesn’t seem like I am affected by much. Being this way is part nature and part nurture. I believe that I was wired to endure and carry a heavy emotional burden and in the last few years I have had to be the rock and voice of reason that many loved ones have found ease, comfort, and satisfaction in giving me their burdens. Believe it or not, I am also a very private person who does not share their innermost thoughts and seldom let people “in.”
The truth is I am quite burdened. The reconciling and rectifying of my own personal issues tends to bring me down in the summertime. Since summer is the time of year when things in my life have gotten heavy and my life has changed drastically I go through periods of withdrawal and destructive behavior and habits as coping mechanisms. Healthy? No. But I am aware that it is a mild form of depression and as much as I attempt to deal I know that it is only seasonal so I will bounce back from it soon. That has been part of the reason why I have been slacking on posting six days a week like I have done consistently since last fall when I started this blog. It really would help if I was able to talk some of my issues out and get some things off of my chest by verbally expressing how I feel.
However, people don’t ask and assume I’m alright. I am not one to unload my feelings on just anyone because I know that things I may say in a fairly casual tone may be too heavy for some. For example: people are aware of how the last few years of my life have been and they may ask “How’s Cydney doing?” and I reply about how she says something about her mother and they immediately get sad. If you can carry two thousand pounds on your back, giving the average person one of your hundred pound bricks that you could easily throw around can be unbearably heavy to someone else. With that said, I am cognizant about who and what I unload on others, especially since they don’t ask in the first place.
Being selfless ins’t a personality trait; it’s a lifestyle. I do my best to treat everyone how I’d like to be treated and no matter what I may be going through I will do just about anything to help someone in need. You never know how much a kind word or a thoughtful gesture that you think nothing of can mean the world to someone else. This lesson was permanently ingrained into me a few years ago. In college, there was this girl who in which we were both members of a particular club on campus. She always had a smile on her face but seemed to be very shy. I gravitated towards her because I always would try to make the smiling girl in the corner of the room part of the group because I am a very shy person and would have appreciated if someone had done that for me. In trying to be warm and friendly, one day we struck up conversation. We talked about where we were from, hobbies and such in which she brought up that she wrote poems. I said to her “I’d like to read one someday” and she replied “Okay.” When I would see her walking around campus for the next year and a half I would say to her with a smile and in a friendly voice “Where them poems at?!” She would smile back and say “I got you” but would never follow up in doing so.
Eventually, she shared two poems with me. She posted them up on Facebook for others to read as well, but she did so because I hounded her for a long time. Months later, she told me that my being friendly to her and asking her about her poems was encouraging to her. She was in a mentally and physically abusive relationship that she hadn’t told anyone about and the smile that was always on her face was to keep from crying and breaking down. She had days where she’d felt so broken she didn’t feel like she was loved or that no one really cared about her. I never thought twice about what I was doing. I was just being nice to someone I thought was shy. From that experience I taught myself to look past the smiling face, the attention grabbing tweet, the resistance and pushing away of others in an attempt to not be hurt again, etc. It just so happened that last night when I really needed it someone did it for me.
Whatever happened to the shy girl? Her name was TImile.