Envy is never pretty. Not really all that helpful, either. (Except if it motivates you to go to the gym or something.) But I digress. I’ve been envious lately. Of the “good” writers, the funny tweeps, the people who have it all together. Because their blog and social media shows this, it must be true.
Then I received a DM.
An online friend was struggling.
I got an email. Then another. And another. They were all struggling. And I had no idea. I wrote back, sending supportive words and virtual hugs. But I felt helpless.
I also felt guilty. Here’s why.
Two of the people who contacted me were, less than a week before that, on my list. (My completely, utterly unfair list.) It was a long list, I must admit, because I am not doing well. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t keep up. And more is headed my way every day.
Although I should know better, I envied these people who had it all together. Who were juggling families, jobs, friends, writing, blogging, social media… Life. They were managing life. Without breaking a virtual sweat.
Ah. But there it is, right? Virtual. It’s difficult enough to recognize in real life people who are struggling. When you can hide behind a screen and type when you feel chipper or comment when you’re capable, no one can tell that you’re struggling.
Imagine my shock when one of these emails expressed a good-natured jab about how well I was doing because I was seemingly all around the blogosphere. Here I was drowning and someone thought I was winning the swim meet. Everyone is dealing with something—they may be fine, they may not be.
I know this. People post when they’re feeling okay. I should never have assumed. Needless to say, and yet I will, I should never have been envious of their ability to handle the world in the first place, virtual or not.
Because September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, I thought it fitting to share this today. I’m checking my envy at the door. Giving what I can, when I can. Being there.
And asking “How are you?”