You’re So (Mentally) Healthy
By Molly Braswell
“You’re so healthy!”
I blurted it out as if my life depended on it. Then, the waves of self realization settled in, and it was like I could see it plastered on a billboard, facing the truth that I didn’t mean to say that to him - at all
My dear friends, Neil and Alex, are two of my favorite people. They work with me at my start up company, every day, and we find at least one thing to cackle about through our eight hour shift - everything from “throat whistling,” to bouncing off totally wack ideas for alter egos, like “Miss Understood,” or “Miss Calculated” (we’re really into enacting plays on words). It’s entertaining, but every now and then, we have those moments where things get lost in translation.
Like when I told Neil that he was “so healthy,” but actually meant to say “You’re an extremely well-rounded, caring, and mentally stable person. Thank you for always spreading the positive vibes.”
It took an onslaught of laughter and a few deep breaths before I could compose myself enough to tell him what I had really meant.
And it became a running joke - weeks later, until this present day. We throw out the classic “you’re so healthy - I mean, mentally healthy!” in conversations.
Of course, it took me back into my own struggles with mental health, and my journey through the arduous period of adolescence. I owe homage to both my adopted parents, for teaching resilience and transcendental faith. As an internationally adopted person, I carry my story with joy and honor, but it has no doubt left numerous scars.
Mental health is a delicate balance between recognizing your past wounds and reconciling them with the present moment. It’s about speaking openly and honestly, but cherishing the love that’s been given to you, over and over again, despite personal flaws.
In my opinion, all individuals were born with a marvelous gift that she (or them) was meant to impart into the world. The creative mind can manifest itself in countless ways. I think of the letter that Albert Einstein wrote to his parents, saying “He wished had never born at all,” and because he refused to give up, we now have our modern understanding of space, time, and physics.
Or when Maya Angelou, after a childhood of repeated abuse, spoke her poetry into the open air: “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.”
And when it’s the time to stand for what is right, in the face of great opposition, I think of New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, compassionately embracing the victims of the Christchurch shootings. The Muslim community has responded with gratefulness for the leader’s caress in the midst of their loss, and to all of us, this bears a noble and redemptive message. Beyond the politically divisive conversations, we can find unification over the support and love we give to each other during these times.
I believe all women can appreciate the validation that can be found in the perseverance of these figures, and countless others who have forged a better future, in the name of our beloved and sacred humanity. It’s both humbling and motivating, because it’s a candlelit inspiration to follow and emulate their movements in our own experiences, to recognize the beauty that surrounds our own neighborhoods, work spaces, and yoga studios.
And the funny thing is, it doesn’t become a matter of who is “mentally healthy,” anymore. It’s about how we yield the power to set one another free.