I don’t know when exactly it happened, but summer’s aren’t as fun as they used to be. And this summer has proved to be a doozy. I’ve found my emotions all over the place. I’ve found myself struggling with my self-worth, my identity, my value and dignity. I’ve struggled with loneliness. And prayer, prayer has been H.A.R.D. I’ve had to frequent the sacrament of confession because of my struggles with sin. And I’ve desperately missed living with 2 of my best friends, more than I ever thought I would – they both got married this summer.
May and June, most of my free time was given to helping my friends. In May, I went out a couple days early to help my friend get ready for her wedding, and I kept company with my friend who super pregnant (and sick). Once she had her baby, I was helping them out. I had the free time, and enjoyed doing it, plus I got newborn baby snuggles. And when I wasn’t doing that I was helping my other friend who was getting married this summer (mind you I was a bridesmaid in both of these weddings). And honestly, loving my friends in this way was one of the best things I could’ve chosen to do in my free time. But once the last wedding hit and July rolled around, my free days suddenly became filled with nothing. At first it was nice. I was able to catch up on sleep and binge watch Netflix. But it quickly lead to me feeling lonely, depressed, anxious, etc. It was a poor use of my time.
I found myself sitting in this place self-loathing, not knowing what to do with myself because it felt like nobody needed me or wanted me. I sat around just waiting for people to ask to hang out with me. I wanted people to be able to pick up on my needs. I wanted people to check in on me. I wanted to feel like I mattered to someone.
One day I had gotten home from work, and was sitting in my room probably trying to decide what to order for dinner or what show to watch on Netflix and a text came through from one of my best friends. He was literally just asking me how I was doing. I almost cried — for the sheer fact that someone knew I was having a really rough week and took the time to check in on me. And that was a turning point for me. Just being reminded in such a simple way that I mattered.
And that was when I started making a point to make plans with friends on my days off or to reach out to people if I needed them. One day I really needed a hug and was around the corner from a friend’s house so I called her and asked if I could come over because I needed a hug. I knew that going home and being alone would not be a good choice. That evening I texted one of my other friends to see what she was doing because she gives the best hugs. Well, we give each other the best hugs… and just kinda melt into each other. And she fed me and it was great.
Anyway, I guess what I’m getting at here is that it’s important for us to ask for what we need. Mind you, we all get stuck in dark places sometimes and need someone to help pull us out. But I’d also say it’s important for us to ask for what we need. It’s great when to have those friends you can send a vague text to and they pick up on your subtly, but it’s also important to be real + raw + honest with the struggles we’re going through. I’m not always good at this. Actually, I’m pretty bad at it. I like to feel like I have it all together and believe that others struggles are worse than mine so I’m just gonna isolate myself when life’s hard… So, I usually have to get to a point where I feel hopeless and helpless before I reach out and ask for a hug or a listening ear.
But what I’d say my lesson for July is that it’s okay to ask. Ask for help. Ask your friends to hang out. And so I want to encourage each of us to ask, to reach out, to share what’s going on in our hearts with the people in our lives. Chances are there’s someone else in your life who will understand what you’re going through or even be struggling with you. Chances are, your friends want to be there for you and they want you to reach out to them.
Despite what you may be feeling or experiencing this summer you matter. Don’t ever forget it.