But sometimes the only way to get through the pain (that demands to be felt, right John Green?) is to write it away. So here’s a note to myself (and, maybe, you) for when life becomes a perfect storm of awful:
It’s okay to realize that home isn’t necessarily a place. Sometimes it’s not about where you are, but who you’re with. A house won’t make your bones ache the way a sunrise conversation with a friend will.
You’ll never understand why, but the people you grew up with (regardless of the last time you saw them) will always hold a piece of you that feels timeless. Let yourself be unstuck in time when you’re with them.
Force yourself to be open and don’t hold the world at arms length. Try to be surprised by what you see and never get jaded (or more jaded than you already are), because the ocean is always more beautiful than you remember.
Don’t keep people in your life who don’t make it better. Don’t feel obligated to anyone that makes you feel anything other than your best — not people from your high school, your misogynistic uncle or that person you met that one time at that place you can’t remember. Sometimes people don’t deserve to be your friend — not even virtually.
Being passionate is not a weakness. Don’t be ashamed to love things unironically and unabashedly. Let your love leave an imprint on everything you do, everyone you touch and everywhere you go.
When you meet the person who makes your heart speak a different language, learn the lines of their palms like a map — the one that leads you back to yourself. Forget gravity and fall, because, if they’re right for you, they’ll catch you.
And when one of your oldest friends suddenly loses her father, say you’re sorry (because you are), that you love her (because you do) and hold her close. It’s all you can do even if you’d like to do so much more. Try to lift some of the heaviness from her heart. Try to understand that it will always be there.
And, finally, choose empathy over apathy. Always.