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The Value of Small Gestures

When I entered my first treatment facility at the age of fifteen many aspects of my life changed very quickly, and I’m not just talking about the fact that I wasn’t allowed to brush my teeth without the approval of a mental health aid or nurse. My perspective had changed. The drama that seemed like life or death at fifteen years old started feeling trivial. I became increasingly more aware of what was important: my health and my family. I realized having the newest phone or a closet filled with expensive clothing didn’t fill the longing for peace I craved. Meaning came in little moments. Love was expressed in the small stuff. My healing happened in the little things. I began valuing small gestures. 

I have kept every hand-written note, every card, and every drawing I was given in the hospital. I fondly remember my Dad buying an UNO deck for us to use because he saw it was the only time I was drawn out of myself, and back into the world, during my hospital stay. My brother, states away at college, would send me a “song of the day” and tell me why he chose it for me. Whenever I hear “Get By” by Talib Kweli or “Family Business” by Kanye West I feel his love. The gestures were thoughtful and meaningful because people saw me, met me where I was, and loved me all the same. 

That’s what I want for Find Your/self Boxes. I want these boxes to be someone’s gesture. I want the receiver to feel seen and heard when they open their box. The value of a gesture isn’t in the price tag of the item (and there doesn’t need to be a price tag), it’s in showing how much someone matters to you. The power of letting someone know they are on your mind is priceless. In moments of darkness, a mental illness tries to convince you how little you matter. It’s honestly rude af. Small gestures may not heal every wound but it goes a long way in battling back those negative thoughts. It serves as indisputable proof that your presence in this world matters.

And if you need indisputable proof at this moment right now, let my small gesture be to write this for you:

I love you. I love you so much. I want you here. Please stay. Please stay because this world would not feel the same without you in it. You matter. Your story matters. You deserve all the space you take up. I promise we can walk this road together. 

With love and an affinity for showing it loud and proud, 

Mal 

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