You never can tell

Every single one of us carries some kind of front out into the world. It’s necessary; to go out with no barrier between your tender insides and the vicissitudes of the everyday world is no way to live. There is too much out there, both good and bad, and carrying at least a small piece of protection against the tides is a basic act of self-preservation.

Some of our shields are obvious, or near enough. With just enough knowledge about the bigger picture, it’s easy to see how an inscrutable expression and a biting tongue provide shelter for an ego that can’t weather any more wounds. The more you know about a person’s sore spots, the easier it is to see how they build their defenses.

For some of us, though, the fronts we build and carry with us are not obvious. To the outside observer, they often don’t look like defenses at all. It becomes easy to forget that the engaged and argumentative extrovert arguing art with a stranger at the bar is still a fragile soul out in the world.

I guess maybe there are people out there for whom this actually isn’t true. Maybe some of us really do walk the world with no fear, no uncertainty, no unresolved ache that can’t or won’t be soothed. I wish I could say I don’t envy them, but the truth is that I do, and it doesn’t matter. Every one of us has our own row to hoe, and while the grass may look greener from over here, there’s just no way for us to ever truly know what someone else’s experience is.

As I have made my way through this scary and liberating process of opening up my windows and airing out my (metaphorical) house, I have been incredibly touched by the number of people who have reached out to me. While I know, objectively, in my brain, that other people have been in the places I am, it can be easy to forget that. While showing you my pain doesn’t always feel to me like an act of love, the inverse is not true. When you let me see your struggle, when you say “me too,” I feel the love.

The thing that I keep learning and remembering every day through is process is this: everyone has troubles, and everyone deserves compassion. It is easy (for me, at least) to feel compassion for someone whose fa├žade I recognize as a reflection of my own, but the other, tougher people in the world need that loving-kindness just as dearly, and often more so.

After the publication of some of our recent posts about depression, I (Rose) have gotten many kind words, and I thank you for them. Today, please look around you, and reach out to someone who seems invincible (hint: the other del Rio). I promise you, they need it.

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