I was a happy-go-lucky teenager until the summer before my senior year. A tragedy hit my family and in order to survive I surrounded myself in an elaborate dissociative cloak of armor, made of peacock feathers. It’s grown with my once tiny frame, like a second skin I became so used to that peeling it off is the most humbling, painful, and healing process I’ve dealt with in my life.
My life is a Horcrux search now and I love it. Our connection to the creative community sends me skipping down many paths that lead to the same theme; pain. We are all saying the same thing, in different words. How comforting, almost exciting is that, to know that the person sitting across the room from you carves out time in the day to cry in the Target or Home Depot parking lot, just like you do in the shower? Or that someone else has imagined being found floating in the bathtub like Whitney Houston, so they avoided baths for months as well?
That is my life right now. None of these people look like me, we don’t have similar lifestyles, relationship and home dynamics are different as well. We are all different ages but are feeling the same emotional sensations that we are drawn to articulate in our own words, our own handwriting.
What does it feel like to escape for a moment to another person’s mind, wear their grief, fear and pain over your own cloak?
Mine didn’t feel nearly as powerful as I once thought. For the first time in my life, I’m so uncomfortable beneath its heat that I’m pulling the feathers from my body in order to feel again. The energy surrounding us isn’t to be ignored right now, especially after spending so many nights tucked beneath my feathers, telling myself that no one will ever understand my pain.
Loss is loss.
It’s not a competition.
Pain all hurts the same, leaves the same marks that we remember long after they’re gone.
Where am I going with this? A special poet joined us for our second podcast, a fifteen-year-old-boy. While he was unable to speak for himself, his father, Casey Hargrave delivered the words of a young man suffering and trying to tread water.
Crey Hargrave was loved by so many in our precious community. Hearing him speak through his father revealed something to me that still rings in my mind; teenagers are depressed. Teenagers feel the same feelings that we feel as adults, and its likely worse because they’re still children. Children who rely on us to do the impossible, and we sometimes pull it off. As a parent and adult, what should we do together to keep our kids feeling safe enough to come to us and reach out if and when they’re in trouble? How do we get past the whole, not my kid, not my problem, mentality? How do we candidly share our own struggles with depression in a way that’s relatable to our kids? How do we assure them that if we don’t ‘get it’ the first time, we will keep trying until it works and that their feelings and needs aren’t forgotten?
So many questions. My ideas are sloppy, large and floating everywhere. There isn’t just a single answer, even for one of the questions I presented. I do know that it makes me want to be more mindful, more aware, and healthier for myself and my boys. The thought of them having some of my thoughts cross their minds as a teenager is terrifying, a true horror story.
Take a look at the video of Casey, listen to the words of his son, and let’s all finally agree that we are all hurting in some way, and we all need a safe and creative outlet that not only puts a face and name to our emotions, but becomes translatable to everyone else in the trenches beside us.