Category: Musing

this present moment

A friend recently told me that they only ask questions if it pertains to who a person is right now.

“I want to know who you are, not who you were.”

Not going to lie, my brow furrowed.

I see a strong vein of truth that I agree with, but almost equally powerfully disagree.

I am who I am because of who I was.

A conversation here, a crazy night there, a struggle, a triumph, a journey, a moment.

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To only want to know a person in this present moment is to lose the rich tapestry of being alive.

The past gives depth. The future gives growth. The present moment is only a snapshot. I would not be who I am if it were not for the experiences that led me to this moment. I am on a trajectory for tomorrow because of where I am today.

You are always told to live in the present: YOLO, carpe diem, all that.

The present is a beautiful thing. Time is a beautiful thing. But to only know one part, be it any part of their timeline, is to miss the true beauty.

This present moment is a kaleidoscope of memories and dreams, taking a deep breath to appreciate a thousand coincidences and questions that drove you to right here.

This present moment is full of opinions and beliefs that are wildly different from the past – but why? When I meet someone, I don’t just want to know that you agree with me, I want to know why. What led you to be the person you are today?

There’s a story.

A beginning, a middle, and an end.

I want to know you, who you are today. But I want to know where you’ve been and where you are going. I want to know why you justify some things, why you forgive others, what causes triggers and emotions to flare. I want to know what makes you you.

Those answers rarely are found in the present moment.

They grow, they develop, they change.

If I want to know you, I want to know why.

I want you to be genuine.

I want the intimacy that comes with revealing.

I want to share in your joy and laughter, your heartache and pain.

I want to know the past, dream of the future, and have it all come back to this present moment.

Let’s talk about depression.

I often write as a means of processing, of discerning if my concerns are valid enough to form a coherent message.

Right now, I want to talk about something that I don’t like processing, something I don’t like even acknowledging exists.

In middle school, it was an angsty sadness.

In Slovakia, I was drowning.

In Des Moines, I was angry.

In Iowa City, I was apathetic, lethargic.

Weeks, months, semesters, I’ve gone through many episodes of depression.

I discovered in Slovakia that I was a fair-weather fan. After a sexual assault at a New Year’s Eve party ripped away any version of naivety, the sun shone on the first day of 2009. For the next four months, I could count on one hand the number of times I felt sunlight on my face. Those were the only days when I felt like I could go on. At a ski lodge in April, a panic attack brought everything to a head, and I walked out to my friends ready to be alive again.

Iowa City was far, far different. In the middle of autumn, bright cloudless skies highlighting the brilliant foliage couldn’t lift my soul from it’s empty state. I stopped coordinating Supper Club. I started binge watching Netflix and ordering pizza several times a week. School, work, sleep, repeat. No desire to do, or to be. I felt nothing.

If there is one good thing to come out of losing May’s, it is that I didn’t spiral into another episode. I grieved, deeply. I’m homesick for my coffee shop even now. But I did not become depressed in the months following the loss of my baby.

Just before I moved to Denver, my mom asked me if I knew what caused these fluctuations. I wish I did. After a year and a half of therapy, I’m no closer to an answer of the reasons why my brain will suddenly decide that it doesn’t have the strength to be normal, why a social being will suddenly grow weary of even the idea of human interaction, why these states last for the periods of time that they do.

I don’t know.

But here’s the deal.

There are people struggling with depression all the time.

I could give you the spiel, but frankly, if you’re aware at all, you know how many forms there are. You know that no one’s experience is the same. You know that it isn’t something you can just “think your way out of” – trust me, I was fighting it tooth and nail.

So why am I bringing this from the back of my mental cupboards now, putting pain on display for the world to see?

Because today as I was driving home, feeling the warmth of the sunshine, I was thinking about depression. I was thinking about how you can hide away bits and pieces of you and manage to forget they are there, and then sometimes someone comes and reminds you it’s okay to put yourself back together again. That it is okay to feel alive.

Then I got home, and a dear friend texted me, because she was falling apart on the inside too.

I’m 24 years old.

I do not have my life put together.

I’m a college graduate.

I do not have my life put together.

I moved to another state on a whim.

I do not have my life put together.

But you know what?

That’s okay, too.

Dear friend of mine, hurting. It is okay. It is okay to not have your life put together. It is okay to not understand why you feel what you feel. It is okay to be conflicted. It is okay to struggle. You are so dearly loved, cherished, and wanted. Any maybe those words don’t mean all that much right now. But someday, some day they may. We can grow together. We can cry together. We can mourn, we can laugh, we can pretend the world doesn’t exist for a while.

It’s gonna be okay.