Dear Anyone: An Open Letter of Encouragement

A guest post by Melissa Amarante

If you find yourself reading this right now,

I want to remind you to look up. Look up when you feel consumed. Look up when you’re just not sure what tomorrow will look like. Look up and wonder. Look up and gaze. Look up and think. Look up and admire. I’m writing this as a reminder to stay in bed all day if that’s what you need. A reminder to cry if you need to cry. Laugh when you feel like laughing. Laugh so hard it hurts. Laugh for all the times you felt like you couldn’t. 

You see, mental illness lives. Anxiety lives. OCD lives. Addiction lives. Depression lives. Imagine millions of people around the universe waking up with the same dark, aching places you promised you’d never talk about. I’ve noticed how quick we are, as human beings, to push aside the most meaningful parts of our lives. So what if we created this discussion? This discussion based on real feelings. Real illness. Real people. 

Let’s not push aside the things that need to be talked about. Let’s bring mental illness to the light. The worst thing we can do is ignore it. It exists and it easily consumes. So if you’re struggling right now, let someone help. Let someone in. Set up a counseling appointment. Go to therapy. Asking for help does not show weakness. When saying yes to counseling feels like a failure, please remember that you are more. You are more than the pain you feel. Recognize that your feelings are valid, but know that they do not have to control you. Getting help should be a celebration, and it should never be quiet. 

You don’t know me. I don’t know you. But I can promise, it gets better. With everything that is chaotic and real in this life we’re living, I promise you…it gets better.

I really don’t know much. But I’ve come to believe a few things that I hold dearly to my heart. People make up this world. Race aside, gender aside, politics aside, opinions aside, we are called to love. We need one another and that’s okay. People need love. The overwhelming kind. The bending over backwards kind. The calling just to hear someone’s voice at 3a.m. kind. The vulnerable kind. It’s letting someone in when you thought you never could. It’s opening up in ways you swore to yourself you never would. It’s confusing and it’s never easy, but we need it.

This is me, a perfectly imperfect stranger, encouraging you to hold on. Writing because smiling all the time is exhausting. Writing because it’s okay to not be okay. Writing from me to you. Writing because it’s time. Time to be human. Time to accept that people need other people. Cry together, laugh together, value simplicity, discuss dreams and ambitions. Time to get in the car and drive for hours without a destination, with our favorite songs on repeat. 

Drink so much coffee and do so much of whatever triggers your soul’s revival. Tell someone your biggest fears. Tell someone your biggest dreams. The ones that scare you. Paint, sing, dance, scream, run, read, write, immerse yourself in whatever lights even the smallest flame.

To anyone struggling right now, please hold on to hope. Please know it’s okay to talk about how you’re feeling. To the discouraged and disheartened, all you need to do is breathe. You are enough. I am too. Join me in speaking up about depression. Speaking up about addiction. Speaking up about coping mechanisms. Let’s get this conversation started.

Together, we can encourage one another. Let’s be cliché, and chase dreams, and have hope. So much hope. Jamie Tworkowski challenges us with, “Maybe wonder feeds hope and hope feeds wonder.” 

So here’s to wondering. Here’s to feeling the fireworks. Here’s to second chances and putting life on pause. Here’s to dreaming of things that seem so impossible. Here’s to coffee at midnight and passion so wild it becomes terrifying. To new beginnings and holding on to life. Here’s to the nights I wasn’t sure I’d make it through. To the parts of ourselves we never showcase. To the hunger to love and be loved. To the awkward conversations. To the scars and the constant desire for a better tomorrow. To every time that you feel too much, remember that hope is real. Love is real. Remember that you need road trips, sunsets, coffee shops, and other people. Don’t forget to look up. And please remember that soft hope lingers. Here’s to one day at a time. 

Sincerely, 

The girl forever waiting to feel the fireworks.

*****

This piece originally appeared in The Voice, the student newspaper of Vanguard University.

About the Author: Hey, my name is Melissa Amarante. I am a sophomore and an English major at Vanguard University. I love yoga, running, and sunsets. Because who doesn't love a good sunset am I right?