Ben came through, as he always does. I don’t have words to say the impact he had, so I’ll save it for later. I drove to his house yesterday morning to return a few small items, expecting him to tell me to leave. I didn’t bring anything with me to stick around. I hadn’t showered in a few days, had barely brushed my teeth, and I didn’t care. I didn’t intend to stay, and I didn’t intend to go home. I wasn’t entirely sure where I was headed from there, but it wasn’t promising. It was my last-ditch effort to cling to some sanity.

When I showed up, he was sleeping. I tried to ask him to talk to me. He responded with, “About what?” All I got out was, “I don’t care,” before melting into hysterical sobbing. He cuddled with me. I remember apologizing several times, a lot of sobbing, and eventually I fell asleep. After I woke up, we sat outside and smoked cigarettes. The conversation is blurry, but at some point I left, then came back. He was wonderful and it resulted in more sobbing. Despite my absolute certainty that he would in no way be interested in being with me once I admitted to how broken I really am. But he surprised me. He treated me exactly like I wasn’t willing to let myself hope he would and gave me exactly what I needed.

We have things to work on. But I think we’re going to be okay together. And I think I’m going to be okay as me.

My friend Molly called a few days ago. We don’t talk often, but for whatever reason, I’m the person she trusts when she doesn’t know where to turn. Her first words on the phone were, “God, it’s good to hear your beautiful voice. You always know how to find me when I’m lost.” We talked for a while about everything going on in her life. A lot of it is hard for her to say because it falls into those shadowy areas we just don’t talk about–and with saying them out loud, we often impose on ourselves a heavy dose of shame. Molly said she trusts me to talk about them because I remind her she’s human; we all make mistakes and that’s okay–it’s what we learn and what we’re willing to fix that matter; and the last thing anyone needs when they’re struggling is shame for being human. I try to be patient, kind, and non-judgmental–and according to Molly, I succeed. I realized I’m a hypocrite because I don’t treat myself the same.

It will take a bit to feel fully back to myself, but I’m out of the proverbial woods. I’m still foggy and a bit disconnected. I decided to forgive myself for that, and for being a walking disaster in general. We’re having beautiful spring weather today, so I made sure to spend some time outside and try to enjoy it. I spent a few minutes doing the cheesy mindfulness approach of really feeling my surroundings and grounding myself to them and connecting with the world to the extent possible.

I actually went to a lunchtime event for the first time this semester. It was a presentation on a topic related to a paper I’m working on, so it seemed like a good idea. A few of my friends were there. They seemed to realize when they saw me that they hadn’t seen me much this semester. My friends Abe and Marie both asked how I was doing and expressed concern. It’s funny how often that comes a bit late, but it was good to know they care. I decided not to lie. I told them both I’ve been struggling, but I’m working on it and I’ll be okay. Marie is going to join me later this week in handling some things like a properly-functioning adult. She’s a big advocate for self-care and she’s not going to leave me alone until I engage in enough for her liking.

I don’t know how it is that I’m sometimes so fucking blind to the people who care. I’ll forgive myself for that too, and work on it.

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