On Bravery: Hanging In


I got a phone call from my brother the other day. Slightly surprised, I hurriedly slid my finger across the slick phone's screen, signaling for it to answer. He sounded so happy, so clear, so fresh and awake and alive. I love my brother - to pieces - but this is seldom his personality. I'm more familiar with the Jake who slumps his shoulders while walking. I'm used to the one who idly chooses to look at his feet on treks instead of smiling back at friendly faces. I know the Jake who'd rather sit for hours with a video game controller in his hands than catch a movie with a friend, go bar hopping around town, or god forbid - make a phone call. 

Jake and I - we're pretty similar. We both inherited sandy brown hair from our mother, tiny nail beds from our father, and noses that are a weird hybrid of both our parents' own. Varicose veins sprawl through both our legs and feet. Our extremities turn white and sting and tingle at the first signs of cold. We're both as stubborn as the day is long, both homebodies, and both enjoy some good sarcasm. We're both determined, extremely hard-working, and expect little from others. We joke that we're cursed when it comes to romance, and the depression gene in our family seems more rampant during spells of loneliness. 

He was waxing lyrical about a girl he's just started seeing. "I think I really like her. Like, really, really," he stated, his smile apparent even after his words traveled through the phone. "I'm so, so happy for you," I told him - because I am. I know what it's like: being in that phase of idolization and infatuation. I was crossing my fingers on the other side of the conversation, hoping this relationship works out for him. 

But being selfish beings, (because all of us are), listening to and witnessing someone else's happiness often makes us take a closer look at our own lives; our grass looks shittier once theirs gets a little sun and water. "Where's my yard's sun?" we're tempted to ask. We crave their happiness.

Jake noticed my description - listless and dull - of my life lately. There was a pause, and then he said, like he's known this all along, "Yeah, but, as you get older you'll notice that life is long. You'll go through bad phases - and they'll feel like they're not going to end, but they do. They always do. Something good always comes along." 

This essay was written a couple years ago when absolutely nothing seemed to be going in the right direction... if you're going through a rough patch: know that it will end. Good is always around the corner, even if you can't yet see the silver lining. Hang in there and keep your hope alive! If you can't take my word for it, take Jake's. Any words of wisdom or advice for those of us out there going through spells of sadness? What do you do to cheer yourself up? Let us know in the comments.