I see me in you

Saw an old friend yesterday. He made an offhanded comment about his mother yelling at him from heaven for walking on wet grass in white socks. His mom died of cancer a few years ago. He really loved her.

In the car later, I told my husband that I feel bad for our friend. I actually said, “If there is any holiday that’s going to make you miss your mother, it’s Passover.”

My husband asked me if we were still talking about our friend.

Why could I connect the dots of his pain so clearly? While mine were still stuck in a rorschach ink spill.

I spent much of my life trying to be emotionally self-sufficient. I learned that needing emotional validation was a weakness. Yet, I gain so much comfort from reading other blogs and books. The feeling of “me too” is so powerful. Someone told me once that we read stories to understand ourselves. Maybe in hearing eachother’s words, we can finally see ourselves.

One of the most powerful effects of group therapy (both in person and through online portals) has been the opportunity to feel empathy and worthiness for others and thereby for myself.

I remember sitting in a room full of other mothers and their new babies. They each spoke of their feelings of worthlessness and despair. But I could see them each as beautiful women who were deserving of love and belonging. I could see their worth but not my own.

When I read Brooke Shields’ book Down Came the Rain, on her experience with postpartum depression, I could see parts of myself that I didn’t know were there. She wrote about how hideously ugly she felt. I thought that if someone so clearly beautiful could feel that, perhaps I wasn’t actually as hideous as I felt either.

So, to all of my dear friends who are locked in a struggle with your own broken brains… I hear you. I am writing so that you and I can both read these words and try to make sense of where we are.

We are not alone. We feel alone but we are here to catch eachother and to write letters to eachother that allow us each to see ourselves and love ourselves.

I love you all so much.

"The Delivery" by Amanda Greavette
“The Delivery” by Amanda Greavette