A Travel Guide through Darkness: Four Things Your Heart Will Need

No matter how lost I am, I always feel at home by the beach.

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Anytime I would get overworked in college, I’d hop in a car and head straight to my favorite shore point. Countless classes were skipped for the sea. When I felt homesick in Maine, the ocean was a hop skip and a jump away from where I was living. I’d post up on the biggest boulder I could find–because most of Maine’s beaches are rocky not sandy–and I’d watch the waves roll in until the sun went down.

When my life is about to shift, I always scurry to the shore. That’s been a constant pattern in my young adult life. When I just can’t cope with change, the beach is one of those things that unexplainably brings me comfort.

I went through a period where I wasn’t comfortable in this life of mine. It was hard to get out of bed in the morning. Not because I didn’t get enough sleep. Not because I wanted just five more minutes. But because I felt like I had nothing to look forward to. I felt like no matter what happened, I was going to have a bad day.

I’m writing about this today because what feels like the millionth person I love almost didn’t make it through their bad day. And I’m overwhelmed with sadness that so many, so many people I personally know, struggle. So many struggle to wake up and feel good. So many wake up and wish they didn’t.

How can I make it better? How can I let the light in? How can I help you wake up? How can I help you find your beach? I have to constantly remind myself I can’t save anyone. But maybe, just maybe, I can help though. My favorite writer said it best,

“Be a lighthouse but never a lifeboat. The two are very different. A lighthouse stands there tall and shining. A lifeboat is hellbent on saving people. There is a savior mentality stitched into most of us. We want to save. We want to fix.

You will learn in the next few years that… you, my girl, were never created to save anyone. Be careful not to drown in the effort of trying.”

I’ve had to learn the hard way that I will never, ever be able to save someone I love from self destruction, depression, a devastating disease, or anything else that brings darkness. All I can do is share my experiences and hope that in time it sheds enough light to bring you back to shore.

Until then, here’s a travel guide to make sure you get back here safe:

Unearth a cozy place

Where do you feel most at home? Go there. Is it your unmade bed, dim lighting, candles lit, and Netflix on? Is it the bookstore cafe with soothing music playing and light chatter in the background? Is it the river you drive to at dusk or the park you go for runs in? Is it your grandma’s house or your best friend’s place? Is it sharing your basement sofa with your dog?  Maybe you haven’t found your cozy place yet. But when you want somewhere warm, comfy, and chill when times get rough, try to pay attention where your heart is pulling you towards. Mine will always be the beach. Find your beach, bb.   

Discover a pastime

Maybe you don’t have the energy or motivation right now but tell me…What do you loooove doing when you aren’t feeling down? Is running or going to the gym your thing? Are you an avid reader? (Pssst, reading Buzzfeed and memes count) How about just driving around? Maybe finding new music or going to shows? Do you like doing your makeup just for fun? How about cooking? Even if you don’t have the energy to participate in your favorite pastime, I’ve found thinking about it makes you miss it… And eventually missing what you love doing will be motivation enough to get up and go do the damn thing.

Find a reason

What is that one reason you keep going? I’m not talking about the negative repercussions like if you don’t get out of bed you’ll lose your job and if you don’t make dinner you’ll be starving and cranky. What are the little things that keep you going. Is it your dog’s excitement every time he sees you in the morning or when you get home? Is it your baby sibling’s silly questions about how the world works? Is it the meme page that is your only source of laughter some days? Is it the old man you pass by everyday on your way to work who says hi to you? Is it simply a warm cup of coffee? Think about those little positives in your life. Let them be reason to keep being. Let them be your source of light.

Learn to love

Being in a dark place can create a lot of negative thinking and develop a lot of hate in your heart. Bear with me, because I’m asking something big of you here. You have to teach yourself how to fight those feelings with love. Learning to love even the smallest nuances can combat negativity. Learn to love the way your head hits the pillow. I mean, become very mindful of that feeling that overcomes you when you have the time to relax. Love it. Learn to love the way the sun rises on your drive to work. Pay attention to how the sky slowly changes colors. But like, still pay attention to road too. Learn to love it. Learn to love how your favorite pen writes smoothly. Learn to love the familiar scent of your laundry. Love the way a warm shower feels. I don’t care what it is, learn to love everything because that will give you light and that light will lead back home to yourself. Eventually. I promise.

When you do find your way back home, I hope you’ll tell me about your travels over a warm cup of coffee. I hope that gives you a reason to wake up in the morning. Please, take care of yourself.

It is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, and in our tears. We are tied to the ocean And when we go back to the sea–whether it is to sail or to watch it–we are going back from where we came.

Outfit Deets and Dupes:

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Sweater | Leather Jacket |Leggings |  Booties | Scarf

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