Hi there, you.
We probably don’t know each other, and that’s ok; what I do know is that if you’re reading this, it’s because someone in the world loves you. Maybe someone sent you this link, or you stumbled across it by yourself, or you wandered in through social media or you’ve subscribed to this blog…however it is that you got here today, please just go ahead and take it as a sign from the Cosmos that you are loved. Deeply, truly, unconditionally, without reservation or expectation, exactly as you are, flaws and all, someone loves you.
I recently signed up to be a letter-writer for the More Love Letters campaign. There are a couple of versions of this project: some folks leave letters randomly, for anyone to find; others–and these are the ones I write–are directed toward someone with a specific need, someone nominated by their friends or family to receive a packet of love in the mail from strangers. A little bundle of pick-me-ups, y’know? And since we know who will receive our notes, we’re able to tailor them to the particular person’s struggles–maybe they need encouragement as they fight the good fight against cancer, or they need a little reminder that they’re strong enough to get through losing a job or transitioning out of a relationship. I’ve got stationery and special pens that I use, and a whole heap of quotes and inspirational thoughts to trot out as appropriate.
But you…I don’t know who you are, so I don’t know your challenges. I don’t know the demons that you fight with every day; I don’t know what keeps you up at night, or what you’re terrified that someone will find out, or why you can’t listen to that one song. I don’t know the specifics of your life.
But here’s something I have learned over time: everyone, no matter what their burdens may be, needs occasionally to hear that they’re ok. Everyone needs to be told that they’re loved. Everyone needs to believe that someone out there knows they exist.
And I reckon that’s where I come in today.
I don’t see the names of the people who come visit my corner of the internet, unless you choose to leave a comment (and then really, how do I know whether you’re using your real name?). In all fairness, unless you’ve scoured the comments on past blog posts, you probably don’t know my real name either. But I do see a little counter that tells me you’ve been here. I know you’re out there, even if all I know about you is that at some point today you landed on this blog. I know you exist. I see you.
And I love you.
Maybe that’s a weird thing to hear from a stranger. I get that. But here’s the thing: I believe that we are more alike, to borrow a line from Maya Angelou, than we are unalike. I believe that we all have hopes and dreams and fears and regrets, and that at the bottom of it all, we are all human beings doing the best we can. We succeed sometimes and we fail miserably sometimes; we celebrate and we mourn; we are triumphant and we are discouraged; hell, one of my dearest friends has his birthday today–and if you check the calendar, you’ll notice that today is the anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies in American history. We can be joyful and sorrowful at the same time. We’re amazing creatures like that.
You’re an amazing creature like that.
So how can I not love you? I am drawn to amazing and wonderful things. I reckon most of us are.
So here’s the deal, whoever you are: I know it can be hard to wrap your brain around the idea of being loved by a complete stranger. And let’s be honest–I love you mostly in an academic way right now, though I like to think I’m brave enough to give you a kidney if you need one. I don’t know when your birthday is, so I can’t exactly show up with a cake. For that matter, I don’t know if you can even have cake–maybe you’re gluten-sensitive or diabetic or something.
But I do love you, in my small way. And if I, a complete stranger who doesn’t even know your name, can love you, imagine how much more you’re loved by the people who know you for realsies. Or how much you will be loved by the people who know you for realsies, once you find the right folks.
Think about how many steps the Universe had to take to get you to this blog today, how many coincidences and chance encounters and introductions and technological breakthroughs it took for you to be reading these words.
That’s how much you’re loved–that the Universe will jump through all those hoops just to tell you about it.
And that, like you, is pretty amazing.
Be gentle with yourself,
P.S.–For the curious, my real name is Tricia.
P.P.S.–This is National Suicide Prevention Week. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please, please please please, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They are amazing people with a ton of resources, and they absolutely will not judge you, not even a little bit. Asking them for help is not a bother or an inconvenience to them–it’s what they’re there for–and I can personally tell you they are very, very nice folks: some of them are good friends of mine. You can reach them 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ where they even have a chat feature if you prefer to talk with someone online.