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What You Don't See When I Am Put-Together

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You see me in class. You see me at work. You see me twirling my pen and tapping my foot every time I am seated. You see me writing an elaborate amount of notes during lecture. You see me doodling all over the page or onto a sticky note. You see me hugging everyone, cracking jokes, and telling people that I love them.

You see me when I am put-together. You see me when I’m helping others find hope. You see me volunteering at church. You see me celebrating incredible grades. You see me dreaming bigger dreams and casting seemingly impossible visions. You see a sports fan and basketball coach. You see a movie fanatic and dog lover. You see the proud older sister of two remarkable teenagers. You see smiles ear to ear. You see strength.


There is much that you cannot see. You don’t see what I see. I see the clock strike 2 a.m. while laying wide awake for the third night in a row. I see the pain in my eyes when I stand in the mirror. I see art birthed from long nights and unexplainable energy sprawled all over my apartment. I see the fight in my heart and the silver lining in the darkness.

You don’t see the scars covered by three-quarter sleeves. You don’t see that I am doing everything in my power to contain sporadic movement whenever I am sitting still. You don’t see me muttering prayers under my breath when my heart rate drastically accelerates. You don’t see me crying in the church parking lot. You don’t see me driving until my mind slows and the gas runs out. You don’t see me struggling to get out of bed every morning. You don’t see me studying for an excessive amount of hours behind closed doors — when I can hardly focus or achieve much of anything. You don’t see the effort I have to put in. You don’t see me spending hours reading any book just so I can keep my mind occupied.

You don’t see me struggling to convince myself to share my writing — you don’t see the battle I fight to be the light I want to be for others. You don’t see me doubting God even though I still feel hopelessly broken. You don’t see me quitting on other people. You don’t see me giving up or giving in to awful thoughts — even when I truly want to sometimes.


See the light. See the hope. See the future. See potential. See beauty in pain. See impact from sharing your story and life experiences. See that we all struggle with something. See how that struggle is different for every individual. See how your smile can be contagious. See that soul praying for any reason to hold on. See how you can make a difference just by loving that person and all people. See that there is more to life than the pain and darkness. See the infinite in the finite. See opportunity. See impossibility become possible.

You don’t see courage or resilience. But, you should. Keep on, friends.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: January 21, 2017
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