It was my brother’s 30th birthday yesterday! And today is my best, oldest friend’s birthday.
They both live on the other side of the country from me. After moving to Vancouver on my own, I have a lot of people in my life like this.
I often think of those invisible threads that hold us together, of shared history and inside jokes. Moving across the country on my own was, and still is, hard. I miss so much. When I remember those invisible threads connecting me to people back home, I sometimes feel pangs of sadness.
One of the most prominent mental health concerns is feeling like you are all alone. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness, shame and self-criticism.
But, I am reminded that we cannot exist in this world without interconnections.
Sitting in my home, I am surrounded by furniture, objects, food, electronics, clothing, art, all created or grown or manufactured by someone or many someones.
The art on my walls connects me back to my friends, my grandparents, my favourite painter. The food I eat grew from earth tended by an unseen farmer. My world is shaped by all of these people and the threads that connect us.
When I start to feel alone in the world, I think of these invisible threads. I think of how frequently I attribute people as “mine”? I always find myself starting conversations with: “my brother”, “my neighbour”, “my friend”, “my dentist”, “my bus driver”, “my barista”. Do they know that they come up in my mind, my thoughts, my conversations?
I wonder if we would all feel less alone if we knew how often we are thought about. How often the gifts that we bring into the world find a place and a purpose in someone’s life.
Even when you feel that you do not belong or that you have no connections, you are someone’s “my”.
In this interaction, you are my reader. And I am whatever you want me to be: your writer, your momentary distraction, your brief connection. We are connected by those invisible threads and the nebulous world of online communication.
Yesterday, I missed my brother's birthday party. That’s one of the downfalls of those connections spanning across the country. But I’m glad that we get to exist in this digital world where anyone can be connected.
So, I'm putting this out into the magical online world connecting us all: Happy birthday to Duncan, my goofy, smart and stubborn older brother. Happy birthday to Eileen, who has been my best friend since we were 4 years old, who has seen me grow and change and stayed by my side through it all. I love you both. Thank you for being on the other side of my invisible thread.
And thanks to you too, reader.