To Whom It May Concern,
It's become a bit cliche and maybe a bit beat to death as well to say this, but it's okay to not be okay.
I'm able to write this from a fortunate perspective. The holiday season is easily my favorite time of year, and this long weekend has reminded me of that. I was lucky to be able to gather with a few family members on Thursday -- watching football with my uncle, sharing laughs, good food, and cocktails with my family, and just feeling the love around the table.
But it hit me during one of the brief moments of silence on the couch next to my uncle with one eye on the football game and the other on the rest of my family gathered in the kitchen -- this isn't the same experience for everyone.
I saw this meme earlier that morning that referenced it being just another Thursday for some people.
I thought about the quick stretch of road I drive between the off-ramp from I-295 in Portland and the parking garage at One City Center when I work out of our Portland studios, and the number of homeless people I drive by in such a short stretch.
I thought of two of my friends, one in Tulsa and one in Dallas, who are entering their first holiday season after having lost a parent -- one of them just within the last few weeks.
And I became equal parts grateful and guilty. Grateful that for whatever reason, I'm lucky enough to be able to enjoy the holidays are share laughter and love. And for that exact reason, I also felt guilty because it's not like that for everyone for whatever reason, whether they've fallen on hard times, fallen on bad terms with their families -- it's heartbreaking.
If you're reading this, and you hate this time of year for whatever reason -- I just want you to know that you're not alone. You matter. Your feelings matter. You're not just cast aside and forgotten. You're thought about and cared about and loved whether you realize it or not. Family doesn't necessarily have to be who you share the same blood and DNA with.
I try to be a pretty positive and hopeful person, and I truly believe that this isn't how it will always be and always feel. It can't be. But if you can't get to that point and feel like nothing will ever change, just know that there are people out there to talk to. To keep you going forward. To remind you that you have a reason and a purpose to be here. And that someday down the line, you may have a reason to feel different about this season.
Please, if you need someone to talk to, reach out. You don't have to go it alone. 1-800-273-8255. There is always someone on the other end that will pick up your call.
And you're worth their time. I promise.