I Am A Spider.

As I prepare to leave for university I realize I have a lot on my mind. I sometimes worry that I’ll have a hard time making friends. See when I’m typing the words flow pretty freely, but when I speak it’s a mess. It’s hard you see because when I’m typing it just kind of happens… but when you speak people expect something from you.They want eye contact and well formulated thoughts. They aren’t content with jumbled rubbish. And in reality they don’t really care what you have to say at all. Not unless its something they can base their own stories from. “I’m having some health issues right now and its been really hard.” “Oh really what a coincidence! Fluffy coughed up a hair ball today and it looked off, I’ll probably be taking her to the vet.” It’s like you never spoke. The sad part is that the worst offenders of this are the people we love the most. I’m finding that this is happening to me a lot lately. My fathers not in the best of health and I have tried numerous times to go to my closest friends for comfort. But they cant seem to handle the weight.
I tell them I’m sad and lonely, and I cant sleep… and the responses I get are about great aunts who died when they were six. The only thing I have to say about that is that you cant compare pain. No amount of pain you have is worse than someone else’s. So when someone brings you their pain, try not to belittle it. Yes you may have lost a lot in your life, but they brought their pain to you. And sometimes a simple, “you’re going to make it through this, I’ll be here.” Is all that needs to be said. When your friend or family is truly in need it’s important to leave your soup box in the closet.You don’t need to compare stories or change the subject, just be there. Somehow mankind has forgotten how to do that. I often find myself surfing the sites I regular for people sitting on the edge. It doesn’t take much. All I do is ask if they’re ok, then I listen. No matter how similar their pain is to mine, I understand that I have no idea what they are going through. I am not them. I haven’t lived their life in their shoes. I can’t even imagine their pain. A lot of the time the people I find that need someone to talk to are young. Very young. And I wonder where their support group is. Here they are crying to a stranger as a last resort. Where is their family? Friends? Teachers? Councilors? Why is it kids these days have no one to go to?
I remember once back six or so years ago I wrote a story for fun. It was going to be my first book. I was beyond proud. I had a chapter or two and took it to a teacher. She was so excited to read it for me. I waited and waited to hear back on what she thought. Instead of hearing back from her… I heard back from a councilor. The teacher had reported the book because of “disturbing content.” (The best friend of the little girl in the book had passed away.) The councilor confiscated my story and I never got it back. She made me come in almost daily to talk to her about me “Emotional problems.” She made me think something was wrong with me. After that I never went to an “adult” for help again. Thats what happens though. People come to us, with anything, and if its not “normal.” We tell them they have problems or need help.
I once found a girl online who put the ashes of her dead cat into a stuffed animal so that she could still snuggle with it. She was bombarded with people saying she needed professional help and that she was sick. And while I wouldn’t cuddle with my cremated cat… (something about cuddling with a corpse would freak me out.) I cant call her sick. I cant tell her somethings wrong with her. I don’t know her pain. By telling her she’s sick, all those people have done is alienate her. Made her feel as though the way she feels is wrong. That she is disturbed.It’s important to remember that what is normal for a spider is chaos for a fly. When I was told my story was inappropriate it changed me. It changed everything. She made me think I really was depressed, that something was wrong with being sad every once in awhile. I died my hair and changed my clothes… And until I changed schools, I never showed anyone anything I wrote. It took years for me to see that just because I get sad now and then doesn’t mean somethings wrong.
So heres todays advice. If you see someone in need, even a stranger, be there. The most helpful thing you can do for someone going through a hard time is listen. Never tell someone they shouldn’t feel the way they feel. Feelings are individualized things, never forget that. And last but not least, just because you’re surrounded by flies, does not mean you cant be a spider. As my mother always says, “Weird is good.” So if you want to cuddle with the ashes of your dead pet, go for it. Be proud of who you are. Being sad or angry or even having disturbing thoughts does not mean you need help. It means you’re human. Have a good day everyone.

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