My days are quiet. At times, the quiet feels like that moment in a movie where some pivotable realization occurs to the protagonist and the viewer instantly floods with empathy. At other times, I just want to talk to someone. Enter the wild west of social media. I make a conscious effort to not open the squares that give me a look into the curated lives of strangers and people I think I know. But the temptation is great and I usually find myself scrolling in dire need to make a connection. Yet the people I am most connected to in real life have a minimalist digital lifestyle. (I don’t think that is a coincidence). And 10 times out of 10, I swipe away the app because I have come across something that has made me feel icky and angry with the world. I leave feeling nothing for anyone but needing to feel something with someone.
I have tried social media detox. It works. And then I relapse. I am currently relapsing. But I have a strategy! I came across it while browsing the “lifestyle” section at the library. The book is called “The Thank You Project: Cultivating Happiness One Letter of Gratitude at a Time” by Nancy Davis Kho. The gist is you write a letter a week for a whole year to people who have made an impact on your life. The belief is that most people don’t understand how much they mean to others. And that we often overlook those who have changed our lives. So tell them. Tell them how they have impacted your life. Thank them. So I’m going to tell them. And thank them.
When deciding to put my energy into this project, without hesitation, this was the first person who came to mind:
I’m not sure if it was during the Before or the After when you found me locked in the last stall of our middle school bathroom. A few had come before you – angry that I would refuse to budge – completely over my explosions of grief. But not you. You were tender and kind. You were soft. You sat with me for a while saying nothing, only our feet visible under the door separating us. You held the space, decreasing the explosion to a mere simmer. That was over 25 years ago now and I still think of it often. I think about it when my children have big emotions that I don’t understand. I think about it when I feel myself spiraling. I think about it when a friend comes to me exploding. We can never know the right thing to do when those we love are in despair but I know your kindness planted something inside of me that I will forever continue to pay forward. I’m not sure you will even remember this moment of our youth but know that I am eternally grateful. I hope life has gifted you the same kindness you extended to me all those years ago.
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