Where is the love?

Where is the love?

This post was originally shared by Hillary Marotta, our Grant Writer, on her blog, Music, Minutiae, and Mental Health

Over the past year, I’ve done some soul searching and self-discovery. For much of this I owe my thanks to my amazing life coach, Lisa Wade Berry. She helped me uncover some things about myself that I think I knew but never gave much credence to, such as my deep desire for honesty and authenticity. I knew I always related better to “real” things than fictional, real life scenarios than made up stories (although I do love a good story), an intimate, heart-opening conversation than idle chitchat. That theme has recurred more and more the past year, and I finally feel like I’m really living my own truth and sharing that with others. The problem as I see it, though, is that there’s not enough of this honesty in our world today.

I talk a lot about mental health because of my own experiences with depression and anxiety. I believe if I counted them all up, I’ve spent over 15 years in psychotherapy learning coping skills and how to deal with my demons. And I’ve never been shy about that. I have gotten so much out of counseling that I can’t imagine my life without it. I believe so wholeheartedly in good mental health that I’ve even started a career in mental health, first with This Is My Brave, now with Someone To Tell It To, and as of last week, as a newly certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer (email me for more info). What I’ve heard again, and again, and again, is that we ALL have SOMETHING. Everyone single one of us has ‘issues’ or shit, if you will, to deal with. It may look different, it may sound different, but we ALL have it. We all have that something we have to wrestle with—a physical disability, an emotional or intellectual disability, a trauma, a loss, a family member or friend or relative with illness, substance use disorder, or domestic abuse, and the list could go on forever. I mean, if we’re talking honesty here, I can speak to physical disability and being bullied for it, trauma and its effects, and loss, among other things. We all carry things with us that have scarred us or changed the landscape of our worldview. The more people I meet, the more I’m touched by new people in my life, the more experiences I have, the one thing I find to be most universal is that we ALL have something. At Someone To Tell It To, we refer to that something as ‘it,’ whatever it may be. As I took my 4.5 day Mental Health First Aid Instructor Training Course last week, I met more amazing people who have THEIR stuff or work with people who have stuff or help people who have stuff or have family members who have stuff. We ALL have a story. We ALL have challenges.

Take the recent resurgence of old TV series. Now without judging writers, actors, or anyone’s political view, I happen to think that the new version of Roseanne is genius—just hear me out. That show has (in my mind) successfully woven more current issues and topics into several short episodes than many of us discuss, possibly EVER. No matter your opinion of the creators or how they play these scenarios out, this show has addressed separated marriages, death of a spouse, transgender issues, bullying, substance use, and familial relationships. Those are all extremely relevant, timely real-world THINGS that people deal with daily. I mean, geez, I could talk to at least four of those myself!

So, the conclusion I’ve come to is that I wish we were ALL more open, honest, and less selfish with our ‘stuff’. I’m puzzled by the idea that we keep so much to ourselves, hide so much pain, pretend it’s not there, when we ALL have it. We walk through this life preserving images of everything being great or even just ok, and that’s just not the case. Wouldn’t it be a relief to walk through life more lightly, less burdened, more comforted? What if we all were just honest and authentically ourselves? What if we just confessed our pain, our hurts, our vulnerabilities, and let others in? In my relatively short time of sharing my depression and anxiety publicly, the one thing I’ve learned for sure is that, as my wonderful friend Tim Madigan reminds me, “That which is most personal is most universal” (Henri Nouwen, as in Tim’s, I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers). We always think our battles are personal and no one understands, but the opposite is actually true. What we think are the most intimate, personal, and individual stories are most often the stories of many, many others. The characters or the time might be different, but we share so very much. What if we took that and were able to be who we are, with scars and all, unapologetically, without worrying about our image, what people think, and whether we are loved? Guess what? We WOULD be accepted and loved because the people we need to love us WOULD love us. The outpouring of support would be more than we could have ever imagined. I believe that deep down, people are inherently good and WANT to help one another. But we’re afraid we’re “the only one.” Yes, we must sometimes take the first step of reaching out and being vulnerable, but so often, we just don’t give others the chance to give us their love and support, and that makes me sad. I want to live my life being who I really am, not some polished Hallmark image of me. I want to be honest with people, let them see me for who I am, and not try to be someone else. And in my heart and mind, I know that others want the same thing. We are ALL hurt, we ALL have something, we ALL want to be heard.

I was downloading some songs from iTunes last week—some old songs that simply came to mind. As I’ve mentioned, I often connect songs with experiences, and I was looking for a few in particular when I came across the Black Eyed Peas and their song “Where Is the Love?” I loved this song when it came out in 2003, so I’m kicking it back 15 years. But as I listened and subsequently downloaded it, I realized how incredibly appropriate it is for the time we’re in now – a time of political unrest and racial divide, a time of injustice, fear, and division. It spoke to me such that I thought, what if there WAS more love? Why are we making ourselves and others suffer? Can’t we be more open, more honest, more vulnerable, and let each other help us heal? Can’t we just bring back the love, y’all?

Selected from The Black Eyed Peas, “Where Is the Love?”

Yo what’s going on with the world, momma

(Where’s the love)

Yo people living like they ain’t got no mommas

(Where’s the love)

I think they all distracted by the drama and

Attracted to the trauma, mamma

(Where’s the love)

I think they don’t understand the concept or

The meaning of karma

(Where’s the love)

Overseas, yeah they trying to stop terrorism

(Where’s the love)

Over here on the streets the police shoot

The people put the bullets in ’em

(Where’s the love)

But if you only got love for your own race

(Where’s the love)

Then you’re gonna leave space for others to discriminate

(Where’s the love)

And to discriminate only generates hate

And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate

Madness is what you demonstrate

And that’s exactly how hate works and operates

Man, we gotta set it straight

Take control of your mind and just meditate

And let your soul just gravitate

To the love, so the whole world celebrate it

People killin’ people dyin’

Children hurtin’, I hear them cryin’

Can you practice what you preachin’?

Would you turn the other cheek again?

Mama, mama, mama, tell us what the hell is goin’ on

Can’t we all just get along?

Father, Father, Father help us

Send some guidance from above

‘Cause people got me, got me questioning

(Where’s the love)


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