subject line: you are worthy of knowing February 11, 2017 by Hannah Brencher east coast Exactly one year ago today, apathy nearly killed me. I wasn’t escaping from a broken heart or a fear of the future. I wasn’t going anywhere at all really. I was just existing with the goal to make it one rotation around earth’s core each day. However, I was sprinting that day far faster and farther than my failing lungs could handle because it made me numb. And mile after mile, the oxygen ran from my brain until I saw white spots everywhere I looked and I came to a halt several hundred feet above the limestone floor. A year ago today, on an unseasonably sunny and warm afternoon, I tried to jump off of a bridge that spanned high above this beautiful gorge. I sat there with my legs dangling over the railing, the easy breeze dancing on my cheeks, and felt nothing. A year ago today, a boy I barely knew called 911 on his way back to his fraternity up the hill. Two police officers didn’t leave my side despite me refusing to talk to them. A girl dropped everything to come pick me up and didn’t make me explain myself. A year ago today, these little connections saved my life. For the past 366 days (2016 was a leap year after all), I have been learning how to lean into those who stay. And I promise you, from the woman on the bench at your favorite park to your best friend from childhood, there is always someone who stays. It definitely has not been easy, as I continually try over and over to push people away, because connection means feeling and emotions are frightening. But the harder I lean into those around me, the stronger their embrace. I have found strangers who have loved me so fiercely, who are the ones who turn to you and say, “It’s okay, you don’t need to act tough around me. I’m in your corner, because we all have our little battles.” I have also had the privilege to be in someone else’s corner - to be the one cheering at the top of my lungs for their success, their happiness. I have sent text messages to old friends who I hardly speak to anymore, and beam or cry or laugh at their sweet responses. Whenever I felt empty, it was those connections that made me feel full again. One year later, I’m here to tell you that you are worthy of knowing. All of your quirks, from the way you hiccup when you laugh to the little dance you do when you’re happy to the way you love without fear and your shyness and that special talent of noticing the little changes in the color of the sky, every piece of you is worth knowing. And when your story isn’t pretty, it’s still worth hearing. And when your scars are showing, they’re still worth kissing. And when your body feels numb, it’s still worth admiring. And if you ever feel numb, lean in. Lean as hard as you are possibly comfortable and you will find those little connections. I didn’t think I would live into my second decade, yet I’ll be 21 in a few months, so one year later, I want you to know that there is always a place for you on this earth.