Are you okay?
It was about this time of year you reached out to me.. a timid voice wondering if it was okay even to ask me a question.
You saw me as someone who had made it. A happy face that had walked the path you knew you had no choice but to begin to walk.
Knowing only I was farther along, and not knowing the daily struggles and pain I was still facing you grasped for help from someone who was very nearly drowning.
I could hear the desperation in your words despite reading them in simple text.. a simple ask.
I could tell you were young, you felt lost, and utterly.. utterly alone.
I was terrified to answer you.
I am no counselor.
I am not trained.
I am not some great example of how to do this. I am just me.
What if I don’t help in the way you need the help. What if you hurt yourself.
What if I truly am your only lifeline.
I answered your questions quickly and honestly.
I learned you felt trapped by your religious family, your religious town, and your own internalized thoughts of there being something “wrong” with you. I tried to be of comfort and tried to help you see that you were so not alone in this. We have always been around, people like us. You seemed to get that and seemed to brighten just a little. That is, until the thoughts of your family learning of this and likely rejecting you came back to you and desperation set in again. I tried to edge you toward asking for counseling, making it clear you could explain it was for anxiety and later on when you understood yourself more, maybe then you would have a counselor on your side to help you tell your parents that you are really a girl. You could finally tell them your gender is female, despite many perceived indications to the contrary.
I hoped somewhere out there where you lived you could find an unbiased counselor.
You contacted me several more times still feeling alone.
It was hard for you to even ask your parents to see a counselor, the sting of letting them down was holding you back.
I could not be your only source of support I warned.. a quiet voice on the internet. Even on my best day, I felt inadequate for the task. Still scared for you, I still tried to be of some help and kept answering.
As time passed you told a friend and she was helpful. You seemed better for a while.
Then one day the desperation was back. You were looking ahead and seeing the full breadth of the mountain you will have to climb and you were scared, not even sure of where to find your first foothold.
You admitted you had been cutting yourself.
I again tried to be of help and answered your questions. Encouraging you again to seek other avenues of support.
Did it help?
Did you still damage your body?
Did you take any of those steps I suggested?
Am I responsible if you kept hurting yourself?
Are you alive?
Did you find a counselor?
Did your parents help?
Did they show you love?
Did they reject you?
Did the world swallow you up?
Why do they hurt us like this.
Why don’t they have compassion.
Why won’t they try to see.
I can only be me.
You can only be you.
You reached out.
I don’t know you.
Yet I often think of you.
I think of wrists that are scarred.
I think about a world that needs your light in it.
I wonder if that light is still aflame.
I am scared of the answer.
Are you okay?
This world needs each and every one of us. It desperately does. You are all beautiful.