I Didn’t Tell Anyone

I didn’t tell anyone that I felt paralyzed with fear that we would all crash and die. Or that if we made it, I wouldn’t have anything to say that’s actually worth hearing.

I was terrified that entire plane ride.

But I didn’t tell anyone.

When the flight attendant asked if I wanted something to drink, I just accepted a water and smiled. I could have told her I felt afraid. She was a stranger I will probably never see again. She had a compassionate smile, I think I could have told her.

I could have said something to the people next to me, the guy watching the movie or the girl working on spreadsheets. I think they would’ve listened.

I could have told them that I felt really small. That I was pretty sure I was going to epically fail to help the broken people around me, because I felt like all my strength was pointed toward taking my next breath. My entire life felt like it was falling to pieces, I was more broken than I’d ever been and I didn’t tell anyone.

I sat through a six hour plane ride in silence. I got off, grabbed my bags, and pretended that I was just an ordinary passenger on a trip she had been planning.

I didn’t mention how I booked my ticket the night before. I didn’t tell anyone that I had not slept in over twenty-four hours, or that I had barely eaten. I didn’t admit that I was ashamed of how I’d cried in my friend’s arms earlier that morning when he instantly saw that something was wrong.

I feel weak asking for help.

And it seems pretty crazy to write that because I only said it out loud for the first time two days ago. Because in my eyes, the word “help” coming out of my own mouth has always sounded so disgustingly weak.

“It’s an amazing thing to ask for help.” She looked at me, her eyes serious, and full of love.

She was referring to the shirt I was wearing, one that says: I’m capable of amazing things.

“Maybe you are capable of doing a lot of things on your own, of figuring things out for yourself. But it’s an amazing thing to ask people for help. You can be capable of that too.”

I instantly thought about that plane ride, and how I felt so alone, even though I was sandwiched between two beautiful human beings. I remembered how I just sat there beating myself up for wanting to cry.

Then I thought about lunch the other day and how I talked about the hardest thing that’s happened to me in a long time. How I discussed it so casually, as though it doesn’t daily rattle my rib cage and continuously shatter my heart.

I’ve never known how to really say things that might make me appear weak. I can tell you hard things, but I’ve learned how to edit them, make them sound bravely vulnerable when the reality is that it requires nothing of me to share them.

To share something that hasn’t quite healed, or that I cannot figure out an answer for is rarely something I willingly do. If it comes out, it’s usually through a clenched jaw and with tightened fists. It’s usually in anger. Because for a long time, I didn’t think anger was weak.

“It’s a gift, to help another human being and you’ve been withholding that gift from everyone you claim to love.”

Being the lover of gifts that I am, those words snapped the last string holding up a lifetime of pride. Because if my bank account was bigger I’d buy everyone in my orbit a vase of flowers, a box of cereal, and a ticket to somewhere that would make them come alive. Gifts are precious in my world.

I used to cry every time I’d see a kid accidentally let go of a balloon and lose it to the strength of the wind and the height of the sky. I never knew why it was one of the things that could instantly draw tears.

But its because I know the pain that cuts you when a gift is stolen, broken or lost. And the thought that I have done that, am doing it, and could continue to do it makes me want to take a sledgehammer to every wall that says: DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN LOOK WEAK.

So, maybe that hammer gets its first swing here. I guess its a first step in saying, I’m sorry that I keep taking away chances for you to get the joy of stepping in, of giving, of offering me answers that you got with your own blood, sweat and tears. You’ve got some things to show me that I can’t figure out on my own. You’ve got things worthy of being heard, arms that I don’t want to push away when you offer to help carry the things that weaken my knees.

People are a gift in the times of pain, questions, and carrying heavy things. I’m learning that not letting others give you their hearts, hands, lessons learned and words of truth is really pushing away something amazing…something you could never be capable of getting on your own.

Black Coffee & Weak People

“I’ll take a coffee.”

He begins slowly pouring it into the white paper cup. “Room for cream and sugar?”

I shake my head, “No.”

He looks slightly surprised, but says nothing as he pops the plastic top onto the cup.

If you’re going to love something, learn to love it exactly the way it is.

This is my thought about coffee, about life, about people.

We’re always trying to add things, change things, make them sweeter and easier to swallow.

I don’t want to expect anything different than what I’m being handed. This is it. This cup of coffee, this moment, this human being. This is what’s in front of me and that has to be enough, it should be enough.

I want to be enough as I am.

I realized that when I was working in the living room in my pajamas the other morning. Our house is consistently knocked upon by visitors and I’m just learning how to open the door.

No running to the mirror to check my hair, no throwing the little messes into the laundry room. I want to be enough, just as I am.

When I’m angry, in denial, in my sweatpants with two day hair. When there’s just not enough energy in me to do what needs to be done. When I’m disappointing people, disappointing myself, I want to know that it’s not the end of the world.

I want you to hear that from me. I want you to know that there’s some grace for you, when you can’t stand for another second. If you just need me to grab your shoulders and say: just rest, you have the time you need to figure this out, I’ll do that for you.

It’s okay that you haven’t figured it out yet. Everyone is rushing you and you’re overwhelmed with the idea of having to figure out where one more piece fits in this puzzle…but you don’t have to do it today. You don’t even have to do it tomorrow.

There’s going to come a day where you do have to get up, make your bed, and make a decision. You can’t stay here in your comfy chair forever. But today, if you need to rest, I’m here to tell you that you’re still enough.

In your weakest moment, you are adequate. You’re allowed to get tired and frustrated. You are allowed to take a break. You are allowed to let people down, because you are not perfect.

You are still human. You are still fragile. While you are wildly adequate, stunning, worth loving you are still just made of dust.

And you can’t carry it all. You can’t be everything to everybody all the time. You can’t be every single piece to every empty corner of a puzzle. You’re just you, you’re just one person and that’s all you have to be today, just you. And you can be weak if you need to be, you can cry and laugh until you can’t distinguish which is which anymore and you’re just letting out whatever it is that’s been burrowing so deep inside of you this week.

Black coffee. Frustrating days. People who are broken. I’m learning to love them, hold them, take them exactly as they are, nothing added and nothing else expected.

We’re enough today, even if we’re at our weakest, we are adequate and worth love even if we still haven’t figured things out.