I could sit here and give you the painfully unnecessary update on the boy 180 minutes away, but we all know how that will inevitably end by now. I could review last weeks How to Get Away With Murder finale, but to be honest I haven’t had time to sit down and watch it. It’s been a busy week this week, and with good reason, for it marks Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s a week that holds a lot of meaning to somebody like me. Somebody who has been broken, and who has tried to find his way through putting all his pieces back together.
I like to see what I’ve been through as a positive thing. That’s not me being a martyr, or trying to stroke my own ego. It’s me simply saying I could sit and wallow in the self pity of everything that has happened, or I could see it as a positive; that I can view life a little differently and each day with a fresh approach. My traumas are well played out in the arena of the internet. One quick google and you will find out every bump in my road, it’s one of the reasons I see myself as undatable. Nobody wants to find out their potential partner lives their life transparently enough that a quick search will bring up the dead boyfriend story. But yes, my boyfriend did kill himself, and yes, I made a lot of mistakes in my recovery. It’s taken a me a long time to understand that, and it’s taken a lot of therapy for me to push through and arrive at the other side, but that other side is so beautiful. In one of his many notes, he wrote about how lonely and isolated he felt. How he felt like people were listening to, but not really hearing him.
We, as the LGBTQ+ community have spent most of history being the outsiders. In some countries we can be beaten or killed for who we are. Every time we walk down the street, I think we can all admit there is a part of us that worries we are being singled out, about to face prejudice for expressing ourselves. We see comment after comment online as our existence is debated in every area from education to marriage. The trans people in our community face a constant battle for their life, because there are some incredibly small minded and nasty people out there who will do almost anything to silence them. We, as big, extended family, rally around those who need us and we protect each other inside the bubble. We are so good at standing up for each other, and we give voices to those who often feel as though they have lost theirs.
We have come so far as a community of people who are constantly told they don’t fit in. All of us remember awkwardly dodging footballs on the playground, or having slurs thrown into our ears walking down every corridor. Some of us feel the shift in our posture when a group of straight men walk by. The lowering of our tone on the phone so people don’t think we are our mum. We remember the day we decided to stop dressing the way society told us to, embracing our own independent and quirky fashion choices. The fight for marriage, the fight for equality and the abolishing of the absolutely disgusting Section 28, which if you didn’t know, was created to silence us. To make our existence as invisible as possible so not to upset the status quo.
I know how it feels to be sucked into the cancelling of somebody. I know how it feels to see an opinion that I disagree with and want to join in on the education of somebody. I know how it is to feel personally attacked because somebody with a six pack called themselves fat. But the truth is that I think we could all Sonder a bit more. Sonder, if you didn’t know, is my favourite word of all time. It means to realise that everybody is living with their own story and their own lives, just like ours. And we are but mere extras in the biopic movie. We often forget to realise that everybody has their own story, that we all have a past full of mistakes, traumas and sadness.
The theme of this years Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness. Kindness really is contagious. I have spent the last decade mulling over every tiny conversation I ever had with my boyfriend. Trying to find the one time I could have been a little bit kinder, or a little bit more understanding. But no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to change what happened. Use this week, use my story to check in on those around you. Check in with friends, reach out to somebody you see having a hard time on Twitter. Slide into the DMs of the person that posts sad quotes on their story. We, as a community, are so good at supporting each other, but we often overlook the quiet ones in the background. Every single day is a struggle of some sort for so many people, and I will never be able to stress just how much one act of kindness can save somebody.
If there is one thing I have learned in the last decade, it’s that life really is too short. Please, take your shot and tell that person you fancy them, or that you love them. Walk away from situations and people who aren’t good for you. Recognise when you’ve reached your limit and really listen to yourself.
I promise you that we will return next week with a super fun round up of the week. But in the mean time, I love you. Take care of yourself and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you are still here, pushing through the troubles of life. I’m always a message away on Twitter or Instagram, should you ever need an ear.
In the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Week, I leave you with an apt music suggestion. Modern Anxiety is the incredible album from Josef Salvat. It’s an album full of tracks about the struggles of modern life, with some deep underlying sentiments about mental health, too.
All the love,