On Secret Strength
You never know when someone is going through something dark and scary and alienating in private. And you never know the secret struggles that have made a person who she is. Some truths to this effect.
1. You can't effectively judge the behavior of those you don't know. For one: it's not scientifically fruitful... There's no dependent variable in one off social experiments (what UP Bio AP?). You don't know if the sullen girl at the checkout line is inherently sullen... or if her asshole boyfriend - we can judge him - dumped her for her twin sister that morning. Maybe her roof caved in. Maybe her parakeet flew away. Or maybe she's just a sourpuss... but you have no way of knowing; so don't you dare salt the wounds she may or may not have by sassing her. She's a person who has to deal with sh*t just like you. Who cares if she's not super enthused about your big purchase of US Weekly and Trident? Not me.
2. People you think you know well have real tragedy going on in their lives. These people; the ones who manage to show up for their lives despite their hurt... these people are total ballers. I learned this lesson in high school. I rode a yellow school bus to a cabin with a bunch of older kids I didn't know particularly well... for a weekend trip that I assumed I would spend attempting to prove how cool I was. But that weekend wound up being anti-superficiality: anti-artifice. It was the most revealing show and tell I've ever taken part in: stoic athletes talking about distant fathers and suicidal siblings and illness; mean girls divulging the nearly justifiable reasons for their meanness. No excuses - just truths. That weekend of gut-spillage in the woods (ew.) changed the way I relate to the world. I began to accept that my peers had their reasons (for coffin backpacks, for general angst), and I slowly came to realize that everyone had experienced loss - or would experience loss. That brings me to...
3. People are stronger than you realize. Adversity strikes down errbody at some point - nobody's exempt. Not trust fund babies. Not super models. Life is hard, you guys. With that said -
4. YOU are stronger than you realize. Yes, you should be grateful for your life, limbs and imagination, but also acknowledge that you have FOUGHT to be who you are, G. As, you know, a human... I've overcome some stuff - some stuff beyond the typical Hannah Horvathian travails of a melodramatic Millennial. Just your basic horrifying compulsions, serious self destruction... family stuff, boy stuff. Heavy stuff. You've been there too, or somewhere comparable, and it's made you more compassionate. The battles you've won, and the ones you're still fighting - they give you a better understanding of who you are. They help you connect to others. They illuminate your passions. If I had never been compelled to share the story of my eating disorder; if I had never acknowledged my need for a community of like-minded ladies; if I had never begun to ardently pursue my own happiness and if I had kept said pursuit to myself... I wouldn't have this blog. I definitely wouldn't be writing a book. I would be a shriveled up, blocked creative with no hope for the future. Additionally, I would be a jerk. But I'm not any of those things, which makes me UTTERLY VICTORIOUS. Grant yourself those same bragging rights, ok?
You don't have to vent your spleen all over the internet. You can be discreet. You can keep your strength secret... as long as YOU know it's there. As long as you recognize that the work you've put into becoming you matters. As long as you recognize that delving into the hard stuff is worth it because you'll get that much closer to teasing out the true you. As long as you give everyone you come across this same consideration because they have their own hard stuff to worry about. Then you're good.
I love you all. TRUESDALE OUT #micdrop