Caring in the Storm

I have never felt so empty before.

A few weeks ago, J tore me apart. They told me that our friendship meant nothing to them, that caring about me made them feel like they lived a lie, that they would enjoy college more if they could forget about me. J meant so much to me, and they used that knowledge only to bludgeon me, to break me apart.

I had so much to accomplish today, with over 15 things on my to-do list. But just a few hours ago, I got a text from someone with bad news. I tried to reach out, but everyone I knew had something occupying them – a train ride, a week full of exams, their own issues, etc. – so I made the worst mistake.

I called J.

Hearing their voice – their casual uncaring – thrust me back into the storm they threw me in just a few weeks ago. After we hung up, I crouched down on the cold tile ground and sobbed. I told myself: you have so much to do today, so many people depend on you, two weeks have passed, you should feel stronger now. But all I heard, the only thoughts that really sunk in: no one cares about you, you should have known not to trust J, you should have known that even time cannot heal something so horrible.

As I write this, I sit on the window sill of my dorm room, looking out toward a field of trees and sunlight that almost touches the building’s brick edge. Tears still fall all across my notebook, little drops that stain the loose-leaf and blur my words. I grip my pen like a rod of fire, like it gives me light and burns me all at once.

I remember that when my mother abused me as a child, I would always cry and run to my grandmother. My grandmother always told me that I would grow up and escape my mom; in Vietnamese, she would ask me where I hurt, tell me I would make it out alive, and she would listen to me until my sobs stopped. I felt so much fear as a child, but my grandmother eased it, lightened it, just enough so I could one day make my escape.

I do not want to live in fear. J has hurt me, has made me doubt every single one of my friends, and has made me cry more than I ever have in college. But even if I lose several hours of productivity to J and my family issues, I will make it out of this storm. Even if the water tries to blind me, I will drink it in and spit it out and let it soak into every pore of my body.

I have always lived my life as someone who cares about others. I care about my friends, I care about mental health, and I care about myself. Even if J took that caring and tossed it into the ocean, even if they held my head underwater and laughed as I fought for our friendship, I will come back up for air. I will breathe again, even stronger than I did before.

A storm rages all around me, and I cannot control it. But I can control myself. I can still choose to care. I will care, no matter what.

I will.



Filed under Personal

11 responses to “Caring in the Storm

  1. The Professionally Depressed Professional

    You will, Thomas. Sometimes all the negative is dealt to us so that we can learn more about ourselves. You are very introspective, and having read some of your posts (still working on that!), you have the strength you need to get through this storm. I’ll lend you my umbrella if you need it 🙂

  2. peter

    Thank you for this. We are all fragile boats on a storm-tossed sea – even the person who hurt you. Move on when you can – there will be much joy ahead – and forgive whoever has hurt you when you can: that will bring even more joy. It will soon be Spring.

  3. Oh man – you could have reached out to us lot, your readers, but that’s not so instant, is it. I’m so sorry – it’s so easy to do this, and you shouldn’t be angry with yourself for having done that. You can see the patterns in your life and that’s HUGE, and you will prevail.

  4. elaineleah

    The way you transform this unknowable grief into words, and your bravery in sharing them with the world, are poetry. The way you /live your life/ is such poetry – I’m sorry that something like this had to happen to you of all people, but I’m so proud of you for making it through, one step at a time, and for keeping afloat with such conviction. Here for you, lovely. Always ❤

  5. Thomas, you grandmother gave you a great gift didn’t she? The ability to talk through the hurts and angers and frustrations. So many people don’t know how to do that. And you say it here, yourself, you care about others. What would you do for someone else, if they were telling you this very same thing? What these wonderful people here, and your friends there with you, will tell you-is what you would be telling someone as well. And I know you would believe every word you would say to a friend about healing. And about giving yourself time to heal and finding friendships in others. Whatever you had with J, has passed. It doesn’t lessen the value of what you offered J as a friend. Not at all. Your value doesn’t decrease at all. You know that. And that is what you would tell your friend. Believe in what you know to be the truth of everything you are building in this world. Let yourself heal. There are more people out there, ready to be your friends, your coworkers, and to experience life with you. Your tears are okay. But so is acknowledging that this is J’s issue, it’s not your’s.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through such a difficult time Thomas. I hope you’ll be able to reach out to your friends. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t let one person control how you feel about your friendships and self. There are many many people both in the online community and outside who love you and admire you for your passion, compassion and strength to persevere amidst difficult times. I’m always here if you need me. Take care of yourself! Always remember you are loved ❤

  7. Thomas, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been going through so much hardship lately. I hope that you’ll find the strength to survive it. There’s a quote I read somewhere that might help: “Good friends are like stars, you don’t always see them but you know they are always there”. You may not always see them but there are many people who love you and care about you, both online and offline. Don’t forget that.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you. ~Haley
    PS. I nominated your blog, The Quiet Voice, for the Versatile Blogger Award. If you feel like it, check it out:

  8. I’m sorry, you’re going through hell right now, and I wish I could do something for you.
    I conf talk on this matter. I don’t think I’ve ever has anything like this happen to me, but the mere fact that you are still choosing to hold on to hope and not give up speaks so much to me. You are strong, as cheesy as it sounds, and you’ll make it through this.
    Hang in there, Thomas, and may I offer my deepest hope that you’ll be okay in the end.

    • Andreas

      What he did to you was awful. And it sucks knowing that it came from the person you trusted the most. But, you will be stronger than this. You will keep your head up and you would never, ever let this bring you down again. I know it’s not easy to get back on your feet, but give it some time. Time will heal everything and I know you’re a strong man. I’m still here if you ever need to talk or anything. I’ll support you as much as I can. 🙂

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