In my time here, I’ve seen tragedy. I’ve felt sorrow. I’ve had days where I thought, “this is the worst day of my life,” and then I’ve had days that actually were the worst of my life.
The point is I’ve seen my fair share of darkness. I’ve known my share of hurt and loss. But how does that measure up to anyone else? It really doesn’t matter. It’s all relative. My tragedies are my own; they are part of my identity. That is all. They do not limit me. They empower me.
One of the things that bugs me most about people is when someone claims, “you don’t know what I’ve been through.” The statement is obvious at best, but the worst part about it is the person who makes this claim is isolating him or herself. Where there’s an opportunity to make an emotional connection with someone who steps out to empathize, the person who makes this claim is severing it before it has a chance to grow. Man, that’s tragic.
Here’s the thing: You are going to experience hardships. You will know loss. You will know discrimination and unfairness. You will know failure. It really doesn’t matter what you do, the sun is going to set one day, and the world is going to feel especially dark that night. And you’re going to feel hopelessly alone. And you’re going to feel helpless. You’re going to feel like no one else on this planet can understand what you’re going through, and you’re going to feel like no one cares, and you’re going to look ahead and see the challenges you feel like you’re going to have to face alone, and you’re going to despair.
But none of that is true. Sure, there are people out there who only want to add to the darkness. Yes, there are people who don’t care. But, there are good people, kind people, people who will help you. If you let them.
The key is having faith in another person’s ability to relate and empathize. This is the key to reading and writing stories. With stories being the oldest form of expression, it follows that empathy is one of the oldest forms of compassion, maybe one of the oldest emotions. Its roots dig to the foundations of humanity, and this is one of the thoughts that keeps me going, keeps me writing, keeps me fascinated with my own kind. Yes, I’ve seen some of that darkness, but I’ve also seen the ability of other people, people who are good and kind, to light up that darkness and help bring me back.
If you find yourself in that place, find someone to embrace, and hold on. Maybe it will be a voice echoing in the dark corridors, or maybe it will be a warm smile from a stranger you pass on the street. Maybe someone will come to you, touch your shoulder, and turn you in the right direction. The point is these people are out there. Some are closer to you than others. They bring the light. Find them, and lean on them when you have to. Never push them away with your words. Never doubt their ability for compassion. Never. Embrace them, and don’t let go until you can see tomorrow.