After sleeping on friends’ couches, bunking in spare rooms, having our dog mark her new territory at the most inappropriate times, I finally came to the end of my patience. I snapped. I cried. I felt disoriented – muddled and couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag even if I wanted to. Chaos gives you the gift of seeing what really matters and my First Mate, Vinny, is at the top of the list. We have stepped into the unknown and it is as terrifying as it is empowering. As I broke down for the 1,000th time, Vinny quietly brought me out in the kayak onto Lake Rescue (yes, it really is called Lake Rescue…) and pulled my boat up alongside his. “We’re in this together – I’m sorry if my words hurt you earlier today, but I love you very much.” Stinging words, lashing out, endless crying jags, lack of sleep and mountains of stress result in one winged-out Sarah. It is at these times when things are at their darkest; when you question everything including the point of your own existence.
I’ve never met Cheryl Hanna, the law professor who was a popular commentator on WCAX who recently committed suicide. I don’t watch TV, so I can’t say I’ve ever seen or heard her before. But I can certainly feel her – that dark, lonely place where no matter what you do, you just can’t pull yourself out of a long, dark depression.
Eva Sollberger’s post rang true, brave and honest. She wrote:
“So I’m taking off my social media mask for a moment to be as human as I know how to be. Let’s be kind to each other as we all try to figure this beautiful and sometimes terrifying life out. Rest in peace Cheryl. You fought so hard and accomplished so much. You make us brave.”
While I’m not sure if Cheryl’s action made me feel brave; Eva’s tender commentary did make me think.
Do we really need to wear a mask on social media? Is it all too real for those of us who show our persona’s in the public hot lights – where the cloak of social anonymity somehow makes the timid say the most rancid comments, all in the sake of “being honest?” Cheryl was concerned someone would “find out” about her illness and “take her down.” So she (and many of us,) continue to mask it until it spills out in the weirdest ways. There’s a fine line between being “honest” and being hurtful. I used to tell my son, it’s so much better to be kind than clever – especially in the world of social media. But then, what a world if we all ran around as mindless Pollyanas with our rose colored glasses slipping down our collective noses as we pass judgement upon those who dare to say, “I’m having a really shitty day.” You can choose joy all day long, but eventually, it sounds hollow, fake and lacks the altruism originally intended. I’m not saying to be a Debbie Downer or Pollyana – I AM saying… be honest. Post with integrity.
I love posts that make me think, and especially the ones that make me FEEL… No, I don’t know Cheryl, but I really appreciated Eva’s brave, honest words – letting down the costume mask and sharing a commonality those of us who have dealt with depression endure. That’s when it stops being social media and starts being human.
Lake Rescue continues to resuscitate me, but it’s always nice to have someone pull your kayak up alongside them when you’re too tired to row against the tide. Thanks, Eva, you’ve made me more mindful to write what matters, what makes me feel and stay true to it. We need to be kinder by helping each other navigate safely to shore or to pull each other up when we drift off course.