Every voice matters

A few days ago I logged into WordPress hoping to see millions of likes, follows and the undying praises of the world flutter to my inbox—no dice.

What I did find was a scraggly post that lay atop everything else labelled: “Going to end it tonight.”

As with the rest of humanity, my intrigue was aroused.

So I read a tale of a suffering kid who wanted to off himself because things had gotten too difficult and he didn’t think anyone cared. He had previously attempted suicide and despite his attempts to survive in this world as the person he was, he felt that it was over, that it was time to leave and he didn’t think there were any other options.

And that is a damn shame.

Previously, I watched a series called “Thirteen reasons why” a fantastic point-of-view show of a girl who committed suicide. I realized that every single social interaction ultimately paves a person’s perspective on the world and essentially one interaction can be the difference between life and death.

When you are a teenager, everything is amplified and the world feels infinite, so those interactions are exponentially more indelible than anything else in life. Emotions, moments and even lyrics can span a lifetime because those things have a way of imprinting in our minds easier than any other time in our existence. I can still tell you every word of hybrid theory and I’m 27. (Rip Chester)

So I reached out to him and said what I could. I have dealt with anxiety before and know the cold crippling weight of the world on my shoulders as well because, our parents messed us up. But the truth is, I have never wanted to kill myself. In fact, if anything I wanted to be reborn and become a better version of myself. (But that’s a story for another day.)

I didn’t know this person, but I reached out because we need to care and love one another even if it all seems lost amidst a sea of words and online personas. Every interaction matters, no matter how big or how small, you can make an impact in someone’s life. (You can prevent forest fires!)

That’s right, a smile, a simple comment, asking a stranger if they need help with bags, or holding the door like Hodor did can impact others in ways you and I cannot possibly understand. We don’t know what happened in their day leading up to that moment and your interaction could be the very thing that makes them believe in humanity again. So don’t phone it in. Be that awesome person that you know you can be, because your voice matters.

We are a society that likes to pretend that everything is benign, and gloss over the details on social media. News flash, life isn’t perfect. People die, relationships end, wallets shrink (oh that’s just me?) But we paint this absolute picture of perfection online so that everyone can gobble it up and it just isn’t true.

Be vulnerable. Be courageous. It’s okay to not be okay. A ton of people are enduring their own personal struggle, so don’t be afraid to speak out about it, you might help someone else without even knowing it. The mundane meaningless platitudes that we frequent so often are helping no one. Have real conversations; take time to listen to others and open up and maybe, just maybe our world can be a better place.

If you are dealing with anxiety, reach out to someone, even if it is a stranger on WordPress at 7:00am in the morning. You might be surprised. Love is everywhere, and in the perfect words of Albus Dumbledore.

– “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.”

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