This is not a pity story, a lithe airy post, or a means of offence to the subjects discussed. This is just a truth that is my own, with experiences and emotions that I’ve come to feel and know.
Our whole lives, especially at young, we are fed tales of heroism, love and justice. You’re told good always prevails evil and that monsters in the cupboard are just fictitious imaginations in the mind. You’re instilled with good virtues and morals, and you try hard to practice what you preach. For me personally, life didn’t stray too far from these bedtime stories. I lived a life that was somewhat protected and sheltered from bad thoughts, bad things and bad people. In many ways, it still is. I’m incredibly fortunate and privileged to live a life that has never been filled with too much of bad stuff. Sure, in the spectrum of life I have had my fair share of ‘emotional doses’. Sprinkled here and there, I’ve experienced heartbreak, distance deaths, family quarrels and the odd (but curable) health checks. But these are things most humans experience, and somehow dubbed as the norm, you just refer to it as ‘life’ and move on.
However, in the past month alone, what I thought I knew, how I saw the world and who I believed I was, completely went into a vortex of change. For some of you, especially the foreign faces, you would never have even known. I said “good thanks” when you asked me how I was, even though my mental and emotional health was far from it. I’d cry in hotel bathrooms after uploading that Instagram picture of my European trip. I’d turn up to work with a can-do attitude whilst trying to ignore incoming messages from back home. I understand this post will seem unexpected, and I know I’m straying from the usual ‘Katelyn’ tone of voice and creative, positive content. But the reason I want to share the course of these past few weeks is because these are real things happening to real people each and every single day. And I want to say to them, you’re not alone.
At the end of August, an innocent family member whom I love very dearly was falsely accused and convicted of a crime he did not commit. Yes, it is as unbelievable as it sounds. Be it a racist jury, an unjust system or just bad ‘luck’, my family and I found ourselves in a position that we’ve never been remotely associated with or educated on. It was a loss that took so much more than just this persons job, money, house, partner and basic human rights. It opened our family to it’s core and metaphysically asked “when life goes wrong, who are you?” There will be a time for a bigger story with greater details and depth, but alas, that time is not now. Right now, our time must be used to grieve, heal and think. We must take a plaster to our wounds and focus on the future, to a day where justice will be served, an innocent person will walk free and a guilty name will be cleared. It won’t be tomorrow, or next week, but I must believe it will come soon.
The next is something that may be a trigger, and for this I say please be mindful of the forthcoming mental health discussion. The week following the trial, I had just hopped off the train from a trip to Edinburgh when I was informed that a close friend had just taken their life. No predisposition, warning or reason for conclusion. An intelligent, energetic, kind-hearted and humorous person I had just started to uncover and love, whom I shared a connection with in the corners of bars, fancy dinners, coffee dates and endless street exploring. Here one day, and suddenly gone the next. Like a blink or glitch in the system. I was confused, angry and upset. I didn’t even know how to start grieving, I just went completely numb. All I could think was that if I could just have ten seconds more, I’d tell them one last time that they mattered, that they had purpose and that they were so very loved.
In the dark, on the ground and cut deep, I didn’t think I could possibly take more. It seemed trivial to worry about things like a laptop breaking, my bank account getting hacked, a plant falling over, a sniffly nose, my coffee not being warm enough, a delayed train. My perspective was warped. I prayed every night to a God I didn’t even believe in anymore, I ran the Hampstead Heath five times to try source air, and I gave up on my appearance and behaviour. But then something changed. I wrote this.
I pulled myself out of a void and tapped on my literal voice box. I looked at myself in the mirror and even though the person staring back is different to last weeks woman, and will be different to next weeks too, I saw a simple and dumb truth. This is our human condition. We cry, we rage, we laugh, we love. We evolve. Life is painful, but ever so beautiful too. It may seem unbearable or beyond fixing, but I promise you this – it will get better, and you will overcome it.
Somewhere in a sea of readers, there is many, if but one of you, who are dealing with something painful too. And I speak directly to you, please don’t carry it around silently or solemnly. Speak out and stand up. These hard times will pass, and you’ll be presented with your own insignia of strength because of it. Amidst the horror and tragedy present in our world, we must remember that even on our most darkest days, if we love harder, think bigger and look closer, an inch of light is always within reach. I’m still navigating it, but I can definitely see it. Take the time, and I promise you will too.
AUSTRALIA HELP LINE – Beyondblue
1300 22 4636
UNITED KINGDOM HELP LINE – Samaritans