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Never judge a book…

Or anyone, by the cover.

Scrolling through Facebook is a guilty pleasure. My daily lists of things to accomplish is usually hefty. It includes things that keep my house in order, word counts for writing projects, zoom meetings, kids schedules and meal plans. And so much more. Yesterday, my guilty pleasure made me so sad.

Miss USA 2019, dead at 30, from apparent suicide. I googled it myself because the internet is infamous for hoax deaths and I couldn’t believe my eyes. There it was in black and white. A beautiful woman, smiling, seemingly happy and on top of the world, gone too soon. My heart hurt for her family.

It’s weighed heavy on my mind since I read the news. It makes a person pause and think. Did anyone looking at her see that she was struggling? Did they know she was reaching a point where death seemed easier than life? Or was her mask so perfect that no one saw what was really going on?

The last couple of years have been some of the roughest in recent human history. A pandemic. Shut downs. Quarantines. Deaths. Remote learning. Social distancing. Fear. Anger. Anxiety. Anguish. Frustration. Hate. Worry. Panic. People have dealt with so much in a short span of time and it has taken a toll on the collective whole.

People everywhere are suffering. Many of them are suffering in masked silence. A smile hides the pain. A laugh hides the fear. A joke covers the hurt. A shrug dispels the worry. You see, it’s not always easy to see that someone is hurting inside.

It’s so easy to judge someone’s life standing on the outside looking in. That laughing, smiling person who seems to have it all and have it all together could be tenuously holding the pieces together. That person with the perfect looking life could be at the end of their own rope, grasping by their fingertips. The struggle is incredibly real and this recent loss makes it glaringly plain that the world is not okay.

The next time you look at that smiling person who appears so tough and put together, look a little deeper. See beyond the smile. I always tell people to toss kindness around like glitter, not confetti. Why glitter? Because it sticks and gets everywhere. And when you think you got it all, you find more and usually spread it to others!! Confetti can be swept up and toss away. You’ll find glitter until the end of time!

For my friends struggling, you have two ears to listen and two arms willing to hug and help hold the pieces together right here. I will happily listen, no judgment. I’ll crack jokes to make you smile. I’ll wipe your tears away when you cry. I’ll hold your face in my hands and tell you how amazing you are. I will hug you fiercely and hope the pieces start to mend again. You are not alone.

For my friends that are struggling, there is hope and there is help. You are loved. You are wanted. You are needed.

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