Let’s promise each other something: because darling, oh darling. I know you want to press pause on the movie that is your life, because I do, I do. And I know you sometimes get so tired of carrying the weight of the world on those slim shoulders. I know you look into the mirror and see plain features and feel roaring waves of inadequacy, I know, I know.
I know you’ve got a little voice whispering inside of you you’ll never be good enough. I know you try to protect yourself, to shield yourself to not care because you fear the heartbreak that comes with caring to much but doing this makes you put yourself on the sidelines, makes people stop inviting you and I know, God, I know how much this hurts.
So let’s promise each other something: whenever this happens, this little voice trying so hard to protect us and only winding up hurting us: let’s promise each other to cry a little, to cry a lot. To take a shower, to listen to music and really, truly listen, think about nothing else. To write about wanting to give up but to keep on going, to eat something healthy too, even if we eat up a whole pack of potato chips or chocolate cookies, to grant ourselves this small reprieve instead of hating ourselves afterwards for the way we can pinch our belly between skinny fingers.
Listen to me, please, let’s promise each other to take a walk, to walk past a bridge or a body of water, to admire the darkness but remember the coldness and to keep on going. Remember that stranger that smiled, the one that helped you reach a high shelve, that picked up some change and gave it back, to remember the bus driver that waited on that busy intersection to let you get on, to remember all those little kindnesses from strangers you’ll never forget and to remember that we, too, have got so many little kindnesses to give and that there must be a stranger out there somewhere that remembers these plain features, these brown eyes and not so white teeth.
Let’s promise each other, that, please, please, but let’s also promise each other to sometimes let go and cry and to look after ourselves. Let’s remember that being kind and nice and good does not mean letting people walk over ourselves. And let’s define ourselves: if we like to be alone, sometimes, if we like to close the curtains against the world and drown in music and song, why be jealous of that one friend that is always talking to someone if the mere idea of holding more than three conversations is exhausting. If you love that girl everyone else seems to find annoying, hold steady to it, say “I like her and I like you and is there a problem?” because nothing will feel worse, and of this I am so absolutely certain, nothing will feel worse than betraying yourself.
Darling please, let’s promise each other, that on those lowest moments, on those darkest nights, when we feel like no one will love us ever, we’ll think of our achievements, even if they were something that feels so small and insignificant, like eating one cookie less or getting out of bed, if we were proud of them they matter and so do we. So do we.
And let’s promise each other we’ll think of our families, or about the friends we’ve had and that even though it always felt like we were the second choice, we were a choice, so they wanted us in their lives. Let’s think of the stranger we once helped, and think that maybe they remember us. Let’s think of the things that we love, and let’s think about the fact that the CO2 we expel from our lungs feed plants and bacteria and that we matter. That we have done some good in this world and that hopefully we’ll be able to do some more. That everything will be all right someday as long as we keep going.
Darling, let’s promise each other, that though we are strangers that may have never met, I’ll love you and you’ll love me, and we’ll think about each other sometimes, because we understand each other so perfectly, because I know that voice in your head as well as you know the ache in my bones and the tiredness of my eyelids, and we’ll keep on existing and breathing and loving and not giving up no matter how many times our heart breaks because we know they are not alone in breaking and so maybe, just maybe, they will not be alone in healing either because we will have each other to think of, to remember and to smile through the tears together.