I just had a conversation with my mother, one of many over the past couple of years. As I’ve grown older, I’ve chosen to respond with silence rather than lashing out as I have in the past. I’ve spent my whole adult life weighed down by every mistake, every failure, every seemingly lost opportunity trying to grapple my way up from the bottom of the pit of my emotions that has with every passing year come glaring to the surface. I remain honest in my silence refusing to offer lies to make it all seem okay. I become real in my expressions and in my eyes for those that choose to see beyond what they interpret and ask verbally and non-verbally for an understanding that isn’t always given willingly. We live in a society where darkness is scary and if it can’t be clearly understood or contained, we prefer to live lies turning a blind eye to anything that bleeds unhappiness. We want to help, claiming to understand exactly what another is going through, but therein lies another untruth even though meant harmless is damaging regardless. We at some point in our lives have similar troubles or at least similar responses, but it is beyond presumptuous to tell a person that they should not feel as they do because you’ve been through exactly what they have. How dare you look me in the eye and virtuously try to diminish my feelings by claiming to know what’s in my mind, my heart. Rather than seeing your own projection, see me. Really see me and show me that you do. I don’t ask or need commiseration. I ask only that you be there to listen, give comfort, encouragement, love. It only makes things worse when you make small what is large in my mind’s eye. Don’t poke, don’t pry, don’t preach. Just be, hold my hand, ask what I need to find my way back and listen. Show me it’s okay to need and to reach out when I’m ready. Just leave the candle burning so I don’t lose myself in the dark. Empower me to crawl to the surface and to the light.