(Reed’s Song of the Day: Should I Stay or Should I Go, by the Clash)
Not-So-NaNoWriMo word count: 23,651 words
I knew him… not well. I knew who he was. Tom. (SHOOT ME)
Okay, I know that’s not quite a fair quote to start you off with. Could be anyone on staff. But you know I’m talking about you, my constant encouragement to keep writing this stupid book about mental illness. The only person from O-staff I keep in good contact with (Sorry, Zack, Brianna, Aya).
I’ve been avoiding writing about you for a while. Well, I’ve been avoiding writing about most people for a while. It’s too damn hard to try to do this stuff, even when I’m not tired and hungry. But hey, life’s full of hard shit, right? And that’s actually a perfect segue into what I want to talk about.
You taught me more than I think you’ll allow me to give you credit for. You showed me a story so full of horrible shit that it still makes me shudder to think (and write) about. You taught me how evil the world can be to certain people who don’t deserve it, but just as importantly, you taught me that somehow, those people can bounce back. And you might not feel like you’re bouncing back, but compared to how I would be if I’d had your experiences… I admire you every day.
You taught me things that now have a permanent place inked onto my body. You taught me that sometimes, the best response is to just stop mothering and listen instead. You taught me that I don’t have to know the right answer all the time. That sometimes an arm around the shoulder is better than a billion blubbering words.
You taught me that life can be so much more serious than I pretend it is. You reminded me how goddamn lucky I am to have the familial relationships I do.
And honestly, you’re one of the main reasons I no longer think of feminism as a curse word. You’ve shown me what it means to care about social justice issues, and why every single person in this world should care about them just as much. Many of my friends would thank you for that, if they knew who you were.
You showed me how quickly a person can take up such a large portion of my heart.
And I’m not going to lie, you have taught me so much about mental health and how to best support people who are having difficulties. Every day when I interact with the people around me, I should be thanking you mentally for your patience in letting me understand these things on my own time and my own terms. For that especially, I want to thank you.
I’m determined to capture your character in a book someday – not this trash I’m writing right now, but in a book where you can really, truly blossom on the page as you have in my life.
I need you to know something. I’m not ever going to get tired of you. There will never be a moment in my life where I won’t want to be there for you. I love you, I enjoy talking to you, and I don’t ever want you to feel like you’re alone. If you’re having a bad day, please – just reach out to me. I want to be there to support you.
I’ve talked to you before about how I view the two types of people with mental illness. I want you to know that I always see you as the kind of person who keeps on struggling, even when it’s almost too much to bear. I have such respect for you for continuing to pick up that burden and carry it every day. I’ll continue to try to help you with it as much as I possibly can.
Thank you for sharing the disgusting, overworked, overemotional, wonderful journey of an O-staff summer with me. I’m so glad to have you as a friend.