Friends Are Family Too

Can you recall a time when someone has told you that friends come and go, or that friends won’t always be there for you, or that friends are friends, but nothing like family?

I chose to write about friendship because the older I get, the more I realize how lucky I am to have such amazing relationships with my friends. I’ve had many friendships that have come and gone, but the true friends, whether near or far, have always stuck around through a phone call, a card in the mail, a text message, or just a plain visit from city to city, state to state, or continent to continent.

I truly appreciate the diversity of the type of friends I have. I come from a place where the one thing that matters the most is family. I completely agree that family comes first, but friends can be just as important as family and they can come first too. However, you must choose your friends wisely.

Seriously, I can’t stress enough how thankful I am to have the friends that I have. They all come from different parts of the world, and we all come in different shades of hue. What’s amazing is that we all grew up in homes with religious and cultural differences, but somehow we share stories and connect on a deeper level.

The best part about having friends from all types of cultures, is that we get to learn and appreciate each other a lot more. You’d think that we wouldn’t understand each other because of the different upbringings, but we actually have a stronger understanding of each other. When a friend takes their time to understand where you are coming from, then takes the time to be honest in the best possible and most genuine way, they are a true friend.

I surround myself with true friends who are selfless, caring, kind, and loving. On top of that, they are strong independent women who want other women to succeed. They are open minded, accepting of change, intelligent, and always wanting to expand their knowledge and interests.

What I’m really trying to say is that, if you want friends to be true to you, you should also start being true to them. Surround yourself with positive people who will make you grow into a better person. Support each other. Surround yourself with people who accept you for you and bring joy into your life. Cherish true friendships and continue to live and grow together. When we work on helping each other, we can slowly help others grow and change for the better. Remember that change starts within us and with those we choose wisely.

Be kind. Be caring. Be loving.

Enjoy the Little Things

After walking out of the hospital sometime in January feeling very discouraged, tears rolling down, not knowing what was to happen, I saw this crayon on the ground, which reminded me of my nephew who was in the hospital, on life support. It was his favorite color, and everything was “yellow” to him at the time. I picked that crayon up as if it was some kind of message to not let go, or maybe it was just a coincidence that some kid lost a crayon… what ever it was, I took it and held on to it as a sign that he is going to be just fine.

It was a long journey seeing him go through so much and watching his parents break down, yet still by his side 24/7. They never left that hospital from the day he went in til the day he got out. I keep this crayon in my car for positive vibes and as a reminder that we may be here right now, but anything past this moment is not a guarantee. Cherish those around you, bring people closer even when they become distant. Let go of what’s happened and live in the moment. Enjoy the little things in life as I’m enjoying this yellow crayon each time I sit in my car.

Remember to be kind, as you never know what difficulties others are encountering in their life. Be there for those in need, and love as much as you can. May you all find peace and love within.

Continue To Have Conversations

I was in my mid twenties driving home from New Hampshire and half way into the road trip, I remember getting a phone call from one of my best friends telling me that our other best friend had gotten hit by a car while walking.

That same friend who was hit by a car was hit because she decided to jump in front of it to end her life, but it didn’t quite end the way she had imagined. She was in a critical condition for about two weeks, maybe even longer. I knew something was going on with her and her depression, but I never knew that she would actually attempt to kill herself. As much as we told her we loved her, cared for her, and would have done anything to help her, that was never enough.

I was recently looking at some statistics and sadly, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is on the top ten leading causes of death, and it is the second leading cause of death between ages 10-34.

Suicide is not an easy subject to talk to about, especially with someone who is at risk regardless of how low or how high the risk may be. However, it’s important to continue to have conversations with someone at risk of suicide, and you should always speak up if you’re worried about them.

I knew I had no idea how to help my friend at risk, but I always kept my communication open with her and let her know that I cared for her. Her case was very severe and there came a point when I had no idea what to do or say to make her feel better. If anything, I had to be careful when having conversations with her because certain things would trigger her negative state of mind. Without having to give too many details about her situation, I continued to talk to her mom and our mutual friend on a regular basis. The three of us communicated about the situation and tired to figure out how to get her help, which came down to involving the professionals: doctors, therapists, psychologists, etc.

As much as it hurt to see her face such a dark side and as much as I knew there was nothing I could do at the time, I still felt guilty for not being able to help.

You may not be able to help them directly, but you can continue to show them that you love and care for them. They need that constant reminder as much as they may not believe it at the moment. They need someone they can talk to and trust.

There came a point where my friend’s thoughts took control over her, and sometimes she was very delusional. However, I always listened and I felt that that’s all I could do at the time. If it gets to a point when you feel helpless, talk to another close family member or a friend and see where you can take it from there. You don’t have to deal with it on your own. You can also get the professionals involved from the National Suicide Prevention Life Line at 1(800) 237 TALK, they can guide you in the right direction.

If you are someone going through a rough time and are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone you can trust and get professional help. It’s not going to be an easy process, but I promise, with time, effort, commitment, and the right help, you will get better slowly, but surely.

It took my friend several years to overcome her worst and it took a lot of work, but she stuck with it and she’s gotten so much better. It makes me happy to see her living today and enjoying the moments she wouldn’t have been able to enjoy if she hadn’t been here.

Know that you are unique in your own way as everyone else is. You have so much to offer in this world and remember that you are not alone in this.

When the Hardships Come At You

All of my life I wanted to become still like these rocks resting on top of rocks. I wanted to come to a point in life where I didn’t want to feel anything anymore, but I’d probably have to be dead to get to that point.

So, the same way these rocks had the stability to rest there through a natural disaster, I’ve come to understand the stability of feelings and life in general. Yes bad things happen, we go through hurt, we worry, but as long as we look at a situation in the worst way, we may never find any sort of equilibrium.

Because I was hurting inside, I wanted to push all of my feelings away. I didn’t want to feel anything anymore, whether it was hurt, betrayal, abuse, love, etc.

After reading many self help books and talking to a a few of my close friends, I’ve come to realize that it is okay to feel, to hurt, to be angry… I decided to let all the feelings come at me, while I made myself get back up on my feet and continue to find some sort of stability and sense of peace.

Burying your feelings away isn’t going to help you find happiness, but allowing yourself to go through with the emotions helps you clear your mind and soul. I’ve incorporated meditation, yoga, running, walking, and doing other things out of my comfort zone so that it could help me find some sort of peace within me.

When the hardships come at you, the ones you can’t control, go with the flow, but remember you are stronger than you think you are and you can find peace and stability wherever you may be.

If these rocks were able to balance on top through a natural disaster, we can overcome any hardship in life, especially with support from loved ones. Accept who you are, accept your feelings, and accept change.