By: Iyabo Onipede – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
I don’t do designer stuff. I am not in awe of fashion and “labels.” I have friends that are, and I am very judgy about them. I think it can be so shallow to think you have somehow attained a great status in life just because you have a Prada handbag and Miu-Miu sunglasses. When these coaches online tout their labels in order to sell their lifestyle so you can buy their stuff, I scowl and growl at their pictures as I scroll past on Facebook.
I am a little grumpy today. Can you tell?
The one designer I do like, Kate Spade, left us. I love her stuff. Clean lines. Bold colors. Soft. Pink. Distinctively feminine. Strong and unapologetic. These are some of the words I would use to describe her shoes and handbags that I often admired.
I shook my head at the news. Who wouldn’t want a wildly successful brand and that level of creativity flowing in her life? But you can have it all and still be totally empty.
My heart feels so tender about it because I have thought about suicide. I have been close to it. I lost everything once. Everything. Well, that is never true because as long as you can breathe, there is always oxygen, but it felt like I lost everything that I worked for and the pain was so much, I wanted to end the pain. Both material stuff as well as significant people were gone. The void that was left in the wake of it was so scary. That overwhelming urge to just not take the next breath has swallowed me many times. That inability to see five minutes in the future has frozen my emotions many times. That opened-eye blindness has struck entirely to many times when my eyes are opened, and I can see but I cannot absorb the beauty or value around me.
I have a most precious sister. I have a brother too and he is pretty cool. But he is caught up in his life. I know he loves me. He is a wonderful man. But, I have this sister. She is seven years older than me. I often think of what the impact of my actions would be on her. She came to mind all those times I only thought of ending the pain. I knew that in my death, her pain would still hurt me even in my death.
I never took steps to end my life but I have deep empathy for those who have taken those steps, whether they are still with us or not.
Here is what I learned over the years of losing everything while battling clinical depression:
- Pay attention to the little feelings. Those first pangs are indicators that require your focus and love. All feelings matter.
- The last chapter has not been written. No matter how bad it feels, there is something to look forward to. I believe that hope is a healing tonic.
- It is all ephemeral and fragile. Your reputation, your money, most relationships, your work and even the firestorm in the news are all passing things. They really don’t matter as much as we think they do.
- What matters? Being happy. Enjoying the deep pangs of satisfaction as they reverberate throughout your body. Laughter. Joy. Hugs. Love. Gratitude. Sensuousness. Beauty. Creativity. Accolade. Relationships. These are what creates a meaningful life.
- You are not alone. There are people that love you and admire you and want to be your friend. Just reach out. Say the hard words. Say, “I am hurting. I just need to talk.” Nobody will judge you for being human. (And if they do, you don’t need them anyway.)
From me to you, in those moments that this life just feels too hard, please imagine a virtual but real hug from me. I am convinced that every single life has value. I am convinced that love really does matter. I am convinced that when we acknowledge that we cannot do it all alone, help comes.
I am convinced that the fullness of life is found in community and in relationship with one another. I am responsible for my own happiness, and you are responsible for yours. However, when we come together to just be witnesses to each other’s glorious lives, we find good, healing community and we find meaning.
Thank you for being you, dear reader. Reach out to someone if things get too difficult on this journey called life.
More by Iyabo:
Iyabo is a Leadership Development Coach whose work focuses on the soul of the leader. She moves leaders from thriving careers into discovering, crafting and living into their life work. By helping successful people integrate spirituality into their leadership roles, they become more engaged with their work, expand the connection of their work to social justice issues and experience more satisfaction in their life work. Using the power of narrative and reflection, she helps leaders fine tune the sacred “work their souls must have” (Alice Walker).
Iyabo is located in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Goucher College (B.A.), Georgetown University Law School (J.D.) and Candler School of Theology at Emory University (M.Div.).
Iyabo’s home on the web is at http://www.coachiyabo.com
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