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An open letter to those who don’t know how to help.

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Drop-In Holidays

This piece was written by a young person who accesses Spectrum’s services, thanks to people like you, who keep our doors open. It is part of a series of Spectrum Youth Voices.

Dear reader,

I am nearing 21 and under the impression that society would prefer it if I had my act together, and I was nice to you and smiled when you said “hello,” even though I don’t have my act together, I don’t feel smiley, and I don’t want to say “I’m fine” when you ask me how I’m doing.

What I want to say is “horrible.” I am doing horrible because everybody is supposed to be happy around the holidays but all I feel is empty.

I grew up with a comfortable home life but, due to events I won’t go into detail about, that life was taken from me almost 3 years ago. I was thrown into a world that didn’t make sense and I had to make decisions I wasn’t qualified to make.

I had to go with my gut, and it didn’t always lead me in the best direction. So I also spent some time backtracking, so to speak.  I’m not telling you all this so you pity me; I’m telling you this so you understand me.

I’m not the only individual accessing Spectrum who has undergone significant—even traumatic—loss. I’m not the only one feeling empty or struggling with the enormous isolation brought on by all these complicated feelings.

So, reader, this is where you come in. I can’t speak for everyone, but to me, the holidays are just a big, national reminder of what’s missing and what I can’t get back.  The holidays have so much emphasis on material goods but I would give anything to have back the life I lost.

So over the next month or so, take time to hug someone a little tighter, and listen a little longer, because these are the memories that count. These are the memories that will never lose value and can never be replaced.

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