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Dear Kristin

Dear Kristin,

I know most days feel like you are fighting against something. Like your swimming through sand, not sure if you're ever actually getting anywhere. You often wonder if everyone else feels this way. When you pass a stranger on the street you wonder if that person feels like they have life figured out. Or do they feel like they are flailing just like you?

You struggle to articulate your thoughts and fight to understand your feelings. Words don't always come easy and your head feels foggy. You have so much you want to get out but when the time comes your mind goes blank. You break down in frustration more than you’ll ever let on because you simply can't articulate what is in your head. 

You know how to build walls so high even light can’t get in. The walls are so thick, no sounds can escape. Only a few have the password to open the drawbridge. To be let into your fortress you so expertly crafted. 

You have been called selfish, and frankly you can be. You have learned to survive by keeping your head down. Setting goals for yourself and relentlessly pursuing them. People admire your ambition but fail to see it's a distraction technique. One you have refined for 28 years. One that is designed to keep people out. 

You have spent years trying to understand why you do what you do. Why you struggle to connect like everyone around you. Why friendships seem so effortless to others. Why you feel the need to be so protective of yourself. 

You have been called a robot and a machine. Terms you felt proud of at the time. Your ability to focus your energy has been praised by those who don’t know. Who are unaware of the shield it provides. Unaware that balance is not in your vocabulary and weekends give you anxiety. That the only way you have learned how to function is in overdrive. 

I’ve been with you on the nights you have sat crying in your room. Wondering why life feels so difficult. Only to put on a brave face in the morning to keep on fighting. I know some days you just feel numb. Like you have reached your emotional capacity and you can't help but shut down. I know you're trying as hard as you can and that everyday seems like a fight. I know you have cried so many times wishing you could just be “normal”, not even know what that means. 

But I know you know, you are not alone. You are not the only one going to battle everyday. Take comfort in knowing that just like you, everyone else is fighting their own invisible battles. And just like you, they seek compassion, empathy, and friendship. So do your best to smile at strangers when you get the chance. Fight to open a conversation and ask someone if they are doing alright. As much as it might feel better to retreat to your comfort zone, that lonely bunker where you are safe from harm. We need each other now more than ever. Yourself included.

With Love, Kristin

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