More often than not, our problems lie in the realm of isolation.
We spend a tremendous amount of time in the confines of our own world, our own little dwellings inside the vast landscape of our brains. Our stories, though remarkable, are left dust-ridden in the place where no one is looking.
We spend our time, in our worlds, alone.
Our little mundanities. Our issues. Our universal narratives of poor mental health, trauma, truthfulness, sadness, and anxiety lay secluded from the rest of the world. Oh, how we rejoice in the banality of normal.
But this, therein, lies the issue and the age-old question that beckons an answer from every stretch of the human experience:
Are you okay? Are you really okay?
This is maybe where we should begin with the question: that the obvious communication gap lies between a society seemingly riddled with issues and an obsession with a culture that has only recently begun to foster the idea that not being okay is a truth known globally.
Maybe, just maybe, this cross-cultural phenomenon is the only tie that binds. Maybe we can not be okay together. Maybe we can share in the plight of not okay-ness that is seemingly worn by even the strongest of characters. Maybe it’s the most relatable narrative.
As time begins to move us all along and the culture of mental health awareness grows in numbers on a daily basis, I find myself in awe of a community of people who can acknowledge the story of another. That can, in perfect human spirit, be supportive and understanding of this story. That can reach out a hand to that person who is not okay at that time and be a voice to the voiceless.
It is important to remember that we all have a version of this story. A story that encapsulates the deepest parts of ourselves and our struggles. I hope to God that our stories can become more universal and that we can reside in the confidence that maybe, if only for a brief moment in the ever-changing sands of time, we are seen far beyond just the shell that houses us, but that our internal being comes to the forefront.
The importance of a story will never extinguish. We are dependent on the stories of one another for connectedness. We are intertwined by both our failures and our successes.
Lest we forget, being a fallible human is a condition we all share.
Maybe now is the pivotal point to extend that hand of good faith and ask the question. Maybe now, as we enter a new year with a variety of new challenges, new hopes, new goals, we can turn to each other and ask the most basic and fundamental question.
Are you okay?
Maybe, just maybe, the answer may surprise us. Maybe empower us. Maybe sadden us. Maybe even uplift us.