As an accumulator of words, I tend to randomly record my thoughts as I’m moving about and navigating the labyrinth that is the DMV commute. Oddly enough, these colloquies that I have with myself in my head and then jot down in a frenzy to avoid forgetting and to clear some space for more mental capital, will often surface in one of my online repositories at what seems like a very relevant point in time. The story you will read below is an example of one of those moments when the discovery of things I’ve written on the go and the context of a personal experience align and seem appropriate to share. And although this is something that occurred several months ago, it’s still so relevant in light of our current state of affairs surrounding mental health and wholeness.
I saw something on the train this morning that found a cozy seat in my mind for the remainder of the day. As we whizzed past the trees and buildings and I attempted to focus on my morning ritual of reading, I happened to glance up and noticed another young woman reading too. Ok, what’s so surprising about that? Well, she had her e-reader open that was shielding what she was actually reading – a book on depressive illness. I can still see that title in big, blue text with the image of a person holding the world on her back. And in that moment, my world literally stopped because I had so many thoughts swirling. First off, this was the same woman whose curls I had just finished admiring as we climbed the escalator. The curls were poppin’! I remember saying to myself, “I wish my curls were that cute! Go girl!” But, then I started feeling sad and wondering why such a young, beautiful, and Black woman was trying to hide from a train full of strangers that she was reading a book about depression. Now, she could’ve easily been reading it for a class, to help a loved one, or for her professional development. I shall never know. But, I do know that it troubled me that she didn’t feel like she could be free. And then, it was like wow, how many of us are riding into the city every day to do work that we like but aren’t passionate about while also trying to juggle emotional scars, financial woes, racism, and/or relational drama? Or how many of us don’t feel like we quite fit where we thought we would?
Those are heavy questions that are coupled with elaborate situations and complex answers. But, no one should ever feel as though they have to carry it all alone. The load is always lighter when there’s help. I hope that one day we can all experience the freedom of riding through this life with genuine company and some consolation that we are not our insecurities or fears, or the misrepresented labels that others have deemed appropriate for characterizing our being. My hope is that we also figure out how we can freely rise to…reach out to those around us and reach deep within ourselves to embrace our individuality.