Tag Archives: support

Dropping a Rope Ladder into the Dark

Sometimes the loudest cries don’t make a sound.

Sometimes a helping hand gets slapped away.

Sometimes the reluctance to engage should be ignored.

Sometimes people just need to feel heard.

Sometimes it gets dark…very dark.

These days I have found myself at the base of a conundrum. There are a few vitally important individuals in my life who appear to be struggling with weighted shoulders and bleak prospects, whether concrete or concocted, and I’m not exactly sure how to be of service.

Everyone possesses a unique web of mental wiring, and this is certainly not a “one-size-fits-all” situation. Whatever has caused the drop—situational/lifestyle circumstances, chemical shifts, etc.—is something specific to the individual and should be approached with care, concern, and respect.

It is difficult to see the light when you’re drowning in the dark, and no amount of positivity or forced perspective about future prospects does much to impact the present. There’s no value in describing the colors of a sunset to someone wearing a blindfold. The goal must be to meet them where they’re stuck, grab some shovels, and start digging. Eventually, a few rays of sunlight will penetrate the cracks.

It hurts my heart to know that my friends are suffering. We live in a world where it’s easy to feel bombarded by expectations or to sink in the mud of unrealized aspirations. We are shown a picture-perfect, Photoshopped world of flawless smiling faces and successful peers knocking one feat or adventure after another off their carefully curated bucket lists while we look at old photos and wonder where the last decade disappeared. But when feeling bummed becomes feeling lost, it’s time to intervene.

There is not a manual for this sort of thing, and it may take stubbing some toes into bedposts before we find the clearest path. But our loved ones who have drawn the curtains and pulled the shades are not being subtle…even if they think they’re wearing a good disguise. We see through the slits on the side of that molded mask and we know it’s not your face.

I’ll bring the shovels. Please let me help you dig.

Adolescence Interrupted

Advertisements

The Fallacy of Time Lost for True Friends

friends2

I have recently experienced the privilege of reconnecting with a friend I have known since my eyes could first process images. From the moment I was aware of other humans in my space, I was aware of him. Inseparable as twins, our minds seemed to work as one. The very definition of attachment, we donned diapers and danced to the sounds of blissful innocence.

We were a team built from constant exposure, shared space, and common ground. We walked through the world for the first time, investigating our surroundings with fresh eyes and clean slates. Like brothers, we spent endless hours lost in conversations far deeper than childhood superficiality should produce. It was a bond forged from the structure of the nest, warmth of the heart, and a particular sense of security that seems to disappear far too soon.

Then, an unforeseen incident positioned him back on my radar, light brightly blinking. A moment of dread followed disbelief, and feeling too far to help was like being shackled in the sand. My “brother” was suddenly walking down roads that were far too familiar. To think that someone so close could be so close to peril was alarming. I wanted to erase his pain, and picturing the panic circles spinning through his mind made things exponentially worse.

To hear that I was unconsciously giving him the support he needed when he required it most, is a gift without words.

There are times our paths are righted and our journeys realign. It is not our job to question the reasons but to embrace the adjusted course. If this moment of crisis is the catalyst to shake some sense back into our disconnected lives, I am grateful for the rattle.

Adolescence Interrupted

Brotherhood

Monkey HuddleI’m one of the lucky ones.

I may not have found the perfect partner or landed the dream job. I don’t have a personal relationship with my tailor and there are no smiling toddlers belted into the back of a BMW. I don’t take exotic vacations to places where people see their feet underwater, and the odds of anything even remotely resembling a storybook ending to this narrative dwindle further with every passing year.

But, I wouldn’t trade what I have for three rubs on a genie’s lamp. The bonds that have been built within my core collective are stronger and more resilient than Hollywood’s latest, feeble attempt at “friend fiction.”

There is a carbyne foundation supporting the weight and lifting the shoulders of men I’ve known for almost half my life. We made our introductions in the east, and then settled with the sun. A universal breeze could have easily blown us all just slightly off the mark. But fate dictated that our subconscious lassos landed on complementary cattle.

Regardless of the days spent apart or the interference of squabbling schedules, we never fail to come together in time with the beat, toe-tapping our way to the next wild theory, social observation, or wordplay marathon. The rare balance of unconditional support, unwavering loyalty, and relentless vulnerability makes for an exclusive club. We don’t expect you to understand, and we’re not asking you to join.

But, I am beyond grateful every day that I landed in Ithaca and found a counterpart who, in turn, led me to the missing pieces of my complicated puzzle. I would be a fractured shell, searching for connection and purpose without the lacquer and love of my “brothers.”

Thank you, gentlemen, for every moment passed and each minute waiting to surface.