If you spent any time around me in the final week or two of the semester you know how sad I was that sophomore year was coming to a close. This was a really good year. And even though I knew that (most) all of us would be back together on Colgate’s campus in a couple months (@seniors we will miss you), sophomore year was something special for reasons I can’t pinpoint and it was sad to think that this moment, this year, was nearly over.
When 13 Reasons Why premiered just over a year ago I had mixed feelings about it – and I wrote about them. I am a longtime fan of Jay Asher’s novel and was excited to see what it would look like to transform his words into a television series. I was also excited to see what our collective reaction would be. I’ve been asked many times what my take on 13 Reasons Why is and my response is a conflicted one. I am not going to touch on my feelings about if 13 Reasons Why romanticizes suicide or my feelings about how the series was actually shot and filmed. I really do think that 13 Reasons Why had good intentions and while difficult to watch at moments, started an important conversation and I am grateful for that. But I am disappointed in the way we reacted to it. It brought mental health and suicide to the forefront of our minds and I really think that for a moment we were maybe all a little kinder to one another. But only for a moment. It didn’t last. And I mean in all honesty who am I to say what this show should mean to people or what it should inspire people to do but, to me, to have this show take off the way it did and not have it have a lasting effect on the way we treat other people or the way we talk about suicide seems like a waste. So, as anticipation and excitement rises surrounding the release of season 2, there are a few things I really hope we will do better this time around.
The article I published just after spring break a couple of weeks ago was a compilation of pictures from throughout the week. And, if I’m being honest, when I posted that article I thought it was kind of a cop-out. Next to articles about mental health it just really didn’t seem very important. Here I am though, a mere two weeks later, posting another compilation of pictures because I have realized that …
a. pictures are important.
b. these are memories worth sharing.
Two years ago to the day I embarked on a road trip from my home in New Jersey to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and, if you know me, you know that I would do close to anything to relive this week. And so, because pictures are important and memories are worth sharing, here are a few of my favorite moments from that one week two years ago.
No matter how many times I talk about my mental health, every time I share my story it is emotional and often it is difficult. That isn’t to say it isn’t worth it – just that those moments aren’t without a thought. And, like I mentioned in a previous post, I am happy to share my story – anyone can ask. But I think for a while I thought there would be a magic number. That maybe once my pedal fast articles hit a certain number of views then I wouldn’t get so emotional. Or once I told a certain number of people then it wouldn’t be so hard to start the conversation with someone new. That once a certain amount of time had passed then it would all just be easier.
I took a momentary pause from posting last week because I was on spring break. I finally had a moment to breathe and the chance to step off colgate’s campus and back into life back home and decided that it would be a week without the blog.
Many of my friends took spring break as a chance to escape the bitter cold and snow-covered upstate new york and set off for warmer weather in places like florida, mexico, and the caribbean. I headed home to new jersey.
Going home for spring break is unlike going home for many other breaks. While most colleges have overlapping thanksgiving, winter, and summer breaks – spring break can fall at different times for everyone. Going home I had the chance to see some of my friends who happened to have time off at the same time I did, but I also had a chance to just do me for a week. I had a week free of obligation and time to invest just in myself.
I spent a lot of time in my house, and more specifically in my bed or on my couch listening to music and bouncing between various Netflix shows. I spent a lot of time at farmhouse cafe & eatery (which for those of you who know me from home should not come as too much of a surprise). I spent a lot of time with my dogs. I spent a lot of time just with myself.
And you could call that boring or sad or just me being lazy for a week. But you can also see it as a week of self-care and self-love. That is the way I like to think of it.
And so this week on the blog I just wanted to share some pictures from the week. Mostly of my dog. Occasionally of food and coffee. Mostly in black and white.
There are a few times a year when certain articles just seem more appropriate. Like it makes sense to talk about resolutions around New Years and it makes sense to talk about milestones or lessons learned around birthdays. It also makes sense to talk about self-harm in March.
There’s this video that I’ve started watching most mornings before I head out the door. I started making this a habit about three weeks ago and, it sounds absurd and a little bit silly, but I genuinely feel like it changes how I approach the day. I have listened to people, especially my dad, go on and on about the importance of mindfulness and meditation and how even just taking a few moments out of your day to sit with your thoughts can really change your mindset. And I kind of got it. I mean it always made sense to me. I just never really took the steps to do that in my own life. And really, I don’t even know if this habit of watching this little video every morning counts. But it feels like mindfulness. It feels like reflection. It feels important. And it feels like something other people should do, or even just something people should know is out there.
The stigma that exists around mental health and mental illness has controlled a lot of my life. It has controlled the timeline of my decision to share my own story and to post blog articles related to mental health. It kept me silent for years. In the past year though when I decided to share my story and my life I felt as though stigma no longer existed. I shared my story online and was met by an overwhelming and startlingly large amount of support. Sharing my story has been among the best decisions I have made in my life. And as I moved through the year that followed, I felt as though I had not faced any backlash from sharing my truth and that stigma must be on its way out.
I mentioned in my last post that as I entered the new year I had scheduled the articles that would go up in January and February. Around Christmastime I was talking with one of my friends at home and she was asking me about my blog and my plans for the year and asked to hear what articles were on the horizon. I shared my ideas with her and she asked me if I could write an article about being alone on Valentine’s Day. I told her, without really thinking about it, that I would. But as the past month has come and gone and I have thought more and more about an article about Valentine’s Day I’ve found myself at a loss for words.
This blog turns one tomorrow. That feels pretty crazy to me.
I was scrolling through my blog this morning and re-reading some of my old posts. Eventually I reached the very end of my feed and came across the article that I debuted this site with. It’s titled what you have to say matters. It is, at least to me, a kind of bizarre experience to re-read your own words and to be struck by them the way this article struck me this morning. I had written the article to share with other people yet this morning it felt like someone else had written it just for me.