man and woman hugging on snow field

What If We Stay Anyway?

What if we stay today and tomorrow and every day after that? What if we just stay?

I see your pain. It’s like mine, only different. Some days it has you in a chokehold and your body isn’t sure whether it wants to fight, flee, or freeze. Some days it does some combination of all three.

Your friends and family call and text. They ask how you’re doing, but you don’t want to tell them the truth—that some days you just don’t want to be here anymore. You’re afraid of being judged. You don’t want to put a weight on them that’s so heavy, but you also don’t know how much longer you can carry it alone. Some days you watch as their names flash across the screen on your phone until it stops. Some days you give them some variation of “I’m fine” and hope they believe you, because the truth is too dark, too heavy.

Some days you’re the one to pick up the phone. Maybe you type out a message, maybe you dial the number, but you can’t bring yourself to press send. The weight of the darkness pries away your fingers and tells you to put the phone down. Don’t call attention to yourself. Don’t burden. Always a burden.

You’re numb, yet every nerve is exposed. You try to rest your eyes, praying to fall into a dreamless sleep to escape the pain just for a moment, but your weary heart can’t rest.

How can it rest when everything hurts, when you’ve made so many mistakes, when you’re broken and the world itself is fractured? It’s like being in the middle of an open field with a tornado headed right for you. There’s nowhere to hide. All you can do is cover your eyes with your hands and wait for it to hit you head on, to spin you and toss you around. You pray that when the storm passes, you might be okay, save for some scratches and bruises, until the next storm comes.

Because there’s always a next storm, isn’t there? Sometimes there’s a line of thunderstorms that hit within hours of each other. Sometimes you get a stretch of a few moments, a few days of sunshine, but the storms always come.

Some days the most you manage to accomplish is staying alive. It sounds so simple, so easy, except that it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Except that every breath hurts. Every thought, every feeling fights to convince you that you’re not worth the effort. It gives you a million reasons why you shouldn’t even try. You’re not brave enough. You’re not strong enough. You’re never enough. Never, ever enough.

But darling, sometimes bravery isn’t going head first into the storm. Sometimes bravery means knowing when to batten down the hatches and hold on tight. Hold on for tomorrow. Sometimes strength means admitting we can’t do this alone. We were never meant to.

You are worth every effort it takes to keep you here.

Your mind tells you you’re not enough. But so what? What if our not enoughness is what makes us exactly enough. What if our not enoughness is a puzzle piece, one that only we can provide to this world? And together we hold up our pieces and together we are not only enough, we are everything.

So, I ask you again. What if we stay? What if we stay even though sometimes it hurts so bad we can barely catch our breath? What if we stay for you, for me? What if we stay for each other?

What if we agree, right here and now, to stay? What if we stay today and tomorrow and every day after that?

Let’s stay. Together.

Please stay with me.

About the author

I'm terrified of those dancing windsock thingys.

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