Because once upon a time, a bad thing happened. It put a big crack in my psyche that widened until I split, and it took me quite a while to put myself back together again. It took two years for the little crack started by the bad thing to push its way through me, widened by little moments that wouldn't have damaged a person without a growing canyon in her heart. It took me two more years to stitch it back up again. But the thing is, something repaired is not the same as something whole. I'm still a broken thing, stitched back together, and sometimes I have to put a new thread or two in where old ones break. I suspect I will always have to do this, and that if I forget, if I neglect to inspect the repairs for weak spots now and then, it will always be on the brink of unraveling. I unravel a little every time something small happens that scares me. I unravel a lot whenever something happens that resembles the first big thing, and oh, those things happen altogether too often. Every week is unfathomably too often. Every decade would be too often.
I learned some things when I was broken. Most of them matter only to me, but there is one thing I learned that should matter to everyone, but that rarely sinks in until you find yourself very, very vulnerable: we need each other.
We need each other. I do the job I do because we need each other. I write because I want to remind you, to remind everyone, how much we need each other. We need each other fiercely, in ways that run positively counter to our cultural norms. We need each other for food, and clothing, and shelter, and sustenance. We need each other for handshakes, and hugs, and being greeted by name by more than one person every single day. We need each other for delivered meals when we are sick and neighbors who will shovel our walks when we are hurt and someone to make sure our heat works when it is cold. Our need for shared resources is fierce, but our need for shared connection is so big it's unquenchable.
We will not survive as a culture or as a species if we can't find a way to get over this idea that we don't need each other. It's making us miserable. It's making us all very, very broken, this belief that we can get by with only one or two people to really know us. This idea that life is about winning, rather than about the people around us. Because that's the other thing I've learned: nobody wins. Nobody wins! There is no winning! When we pretend we can somehow win, that life is a game instead of everything we are, we waste it. It's wasted.
I'm not sure where this post should end, really. I wish with all my heart it could end with a solution, something concrete we could do or ask someone else to do that would just...fix this. There isn't, of course. The process of admitting we need each other and then being there for each other requires everyone to step up and get on board in their own unique ways. That's the whole point. But people, it's time.