Half way through a suicide prevention workshop, it hit me hard. An immense sadness, that in this age of digital convenience, people can still feel so alone. We are but one call, one text, one message away from talking to someone; yet we don’t reach out. These actions seem so simple, yet the mental energy needed and the emotional preparation involved can be so overwhelming that we end up feeling there’s no one to turn to.
We may go as far as putting out cryptic messages that are disguised cries for help… In the hopes that someone would notice. Someone would answer. What then, if no one comments. What then, if no one asks? Will that escalate the emotions, the loneliness, the hopeless helplessness?
An alarming, confrontational afternoon of self-reflection. How can I help? What can we do to prevent someone from falling through the cracks?
It may be as simple as asking someone if they are alright. Yet in our oh-so-busy lives, how can we become more aware, more sensitive to the signs? And when we notice, how then, do we muster the courage to be the person who asks the direct questions? Are we too presumptuous or intrusive? After today, I think, it is worth risking someone thinking I should mind my own business. Having the courage to be too nosey is better than regretting a lack of action.
It may also be, that there aren’t noticeable signs. What can we do then? How are we presenting ourselves in our every day lives? Do people feel that we are approachable? Do they think we will understand and listen without judgement?
So much to learn. So much more to critically reflect and improve on.
Yet I wonder: what if we all throw out the intention that “I WANT TO LISTEN”? It doesn’t matter if we are close, estranged, acquaintances or related. If someone needs a sounding board, if they need a listening ear, they should be able to find one.
Just so you know – there’s one right here, my friends. You can always talk to me.
To see acts of bravery, to be a recipient of fearlessness. It moves and humbles me to recognise the strength that goes with acting without guaranteed success.
I’ve never been one to try without being at least somewhat confident I’ll accomplish my goals. It is one of my biggest fears, to give it my all, to do everything I can, and still be at risk of failing. So when I see someone really trying, truly putting in all their efforts; they immediately gain respect.
“Try-hard”. It has such negative connotations, but for what? Why do we put down the people who show more courage and determination than ourselves? Maybe they don’t succeed, maybe they fail miserably. But they’re willing to risk it. I know I don’t have the courage to take that risk…
But perhaps I should. Do what I want to, rather than what I should. Maybe I should put my stubbornness to good use and keep at it, just because.
Less fear. More effort.
I can try hard too!
I’ve been noticing a change in me.
Growing up, I’ve always been quite self-conscious… But I was blessed with friends that allowed me to be crazy; to let loose; to not care about what others may think.
Then I moved away from those friends, changed countries. And the invisible eyes came back to stare. I had a taste of what it was like to live carefree, and I’ve slowly worked my way towards it. Lately though, I noticed a breakthrough.
SING. I’m no longer afraid of breaking out in song when I please. Sometimes it makes other people uncomfortable, but come on, laugh with me!
DANCE. I rejoice in feeling the music with the movement of my body – beyond the confines of my room. It just, makes me happy : )
WRITE. I’m clearly comfortable in being over-sharing of the truth I see in myself. But hey, what’s life without the deep & meaningful and the connections they bring?
DRESS. I still like to dress-up (so much fun!). But I’m comfortable rocking dagginess with zero make-up too.
These were the things I had consciously thought about working on. Oh if only I had the courage, if only I didn’t care. Well, no more if only’s. I’m here. But wait, there’s a surprise for me. An unintended freedom to:
DRAW. I’ve always known how much I can’t – but it doesn’t matter anymore!
I recall as early as kindergarten how the teachers would come around and look at everyone’s drawings. I was always conscious of what they may say. I hated having to show them, unless I was really, REALLY pleased with what I’ve done (and even then, I clearly remember one time I was so proud… got totally shut down with an ‘oh that’s nice’). I was always comparing myself to others. There was never the courage to just create, I was only ever comfortable with copying something I knew looked nice – most of the time someone else’s drawing. Because I self-rated ‘not good enough’. Since I was 5. If not earlier.
That’s no longer the case.
Looking at how much joy the scribbles bring children everyday, it has rubbed off on me. All this time the mantra “it’s not about the end-product, it’s about the process” that I mumble to myself constantly, has had an unexpected profound effect on me. Who cares if I can’t do much more than a scribble. Who cares if you can’t hold a tune. If it brings you joy, it’s worth doing!
Oh the endless blessings of working with children!
[Day 56] joyous gratitude.