Oh hi, it’s your friendly neighborhood internet Mental Health writer, here to remind you of a coupla things:
You’re doin’ great. Seriously. You’re Here-ing, and that’s huge, because this year has been hard to Here in. Kudos to you for doing some things at some times. I know you feel like it’s not enough, because I feel that often, too, but I promise you--it is.
You’re wanted here on this planet. I know this, because all of your guts and organs and skin and muscles magically combusted together inside of another human and formed its own human body-ness and somehow your ineffable soul got piped into it like cream squirting into a cannoli, and that delectable majesty doesn’t just come together like that for no damn reason.
It’s OK to ask for things. There’s this majorly f-ed up concept in modern humanity (characteristic of Americans, especially) that says you have to go it alone in your own island of stoic coping. And that’s just not true.
We all have ways to help lighten the load for each other. It might not be in as a “direct contact way” as we all want or are accustomed to (though if anyone’s starting a hyper-cautious COVID commune, COUNT ME IN. I make food and play with children), but we can still show up for each other.
For example, last week I was in the middle of deep quarantine-ing mode so that my cousins could come for Thanksgiving (which was mostly fine for this homebody, although it is weird to stay inside for weeks) when I discovered that the celery I had planned for my holiday stuffing was Mushtown USA.
I coulda been like “Oh well, I guess no celery for the stuffing. It’ll be basically pigslop without it but WHATEVER.” But instead, I texted my neighbor-friend and asked if she could add some to her shopping list for me, and she did! Social-crowdsource success! Community for the win!
A week before that, I realized I was gonna have my own Christmas tree for the first time and I didn’t have any ornaments, so I asked people to send me some. (Which, by the way, has been a FRICKIN’ delight and made my lonely days a whole lot fuzzier.)
Generally, I just think it’s good to ask for help. I know there are icky, uncomfortable feelings that go along with that. Maybe you feel like a burden, or “too much,” or needy, or that you seem pathetic or that you’re begging or asking for handouts. I felt all of these feelings asking for those ornaments and yet I did it anyway—because I know that feelings are not facts and that I NEEDED THIS SEASONAL WIN TO KEEP GETTING OUT OF BED.
Years ago, I wrote about one of my darkest times in this post: Ask Your People for Things. To this day it’s one of the pieces of writing I’m most proud of.
For one, I think it’s hilarious. But mainly, it represents a time where I looked into the face of my sadness and I was brave. I didn’t roll over and die to my despair. It was a time where I decided to keep trying to be well, to connect with others, to fight tooth and nail for my mental health, to show up for myself by showing up for others.
Because here’s the thing: we need each other. Especially now. I know that I have things that other people need, and other people have things that I need. So today, I want to encourage you to ask for something—even something small, from the people around you. And be open to what someone might ask of you.
What’s one thing you can ask for? Well, for the next 2 weeks I’m doing another handmade holiday postcard project I like to call “Holidays Hollerpraise.” Need a festive pick-me-up? Some seasonal cheer? Reply to this e-mail with your address and I’ll add you into a drawing to get an encouraging mistletoe missive sent to your mailbox.
And, in the spirit of asking things, would you consider becoming a paid subscriber on either this platform or my Patreon page? Just this week I sent out a brand new song video for these patrons of the arts, and if you join up you can access it, too!
Sending you heaps of holidays hugs and non-mushy celery vibes,
THREE GOOD THINGS
For real though, the wreaths and garlands at Trader Joe’s smell like pure holiday magic and you NEED one for your living room.
Have y’all watched Happiest Season on Hulu yet? Festive romcom, female stars, female director, female writers, happy tears, AND DAN LEVY—what more could you want??
This terrible version of O Holy Night. Never. Gets. Old.