09 You Make An Impact

You – yes you with the eyeballs looking here – you make an impact.  

There are no small things.

Your 'small acts of kindness' are the exact things that are a life-affirming society.

And only in such a society do we have a chance at reaching our full human potential, as individuals, as a community, as a country.

Photo by  Mitch Mckee

Photo by Mitch Mckee

Both of us – Siena and Toast – have lived through times that we didn't think we would.  

Depression, despair, confusion, hopelessness.  We've felt that, and kept feeling it for days, weeks, months, longer than we thought we could bear.

But we did bear it, and came through it, and grew stronger because of it.

...because of the impact that others had on us.

LGBT Mental Health

Statistically, LGBT people experience higher rates of mental health issues.  This report from the Human Rights Campaign offers 2+ pages of sobering statistics on Mental Health and the LGBTQ Community.  (HRC is the nation's largest LGBTQ civil rights organization; we're sending all profits from this coffee mug to HRC.)

But please remember: you are not a statistic.

You're a person, a unique individual

It is natural and human, to need each other.

It's part of our strength as a species, actually.

Human achievements, from government to the sciences, are only possible because we work together, in large groups, to achieve a common goal.

E pluribis unum.  Out of many, one.  The motto of the United States.

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.
— Rudyard Kipling

How do we build resilience? 

We build resilience, partially, by needing help.

That is, through "weakness."

By allowing for and acknowledging our weaknesses to one another.

By being okay with receiving help, instead of always giving it.

By being like bamboo, or the palm tree, that bend in fierce winds.

By, at the same time, staying rooted in values like love, sustainability, and interconnectedness.

Photo by  Mika Matin

Photo by Mika Matin

Doing all of this takes a kind of strength.  

And it also builds strength.

Whenever we take part in any interaction, either giving or receiving help of any kind, big or small, we are building our resilience, and helping others to build theirs.

You with the eyeballs looking here – you make an impact.

High five to you for being an impact-maker.

High five to you for using it for good.

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning LGBTQ young people ages 13–24.  The TrevorLifeline is 1-866-488-7386.  

The LGBT National Help Center operates the LGBT National Hotline (1-888-843-4564) and the SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline (1-888-234-7243) as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat.  The people who turn to them for help often live in rural and conservative parts of the country and are frequently feeling severely isolated, closeted and despairing, with literally no one else else safe to talk to.