It’s a good thing if you can’t understand this.
It means you’ve never been anywhere near this place, so dark, it’s impossible to see all the beautiful lights in your life everyone else sees.
I’ve been trying to formulate this post and have been halted for so many reasons. I hate posting things when there’s a tragedy that is not necessarily mine. To say this hasn’t been tragic for me, though, would be a lie. It's heartbreaking. I looked forward to everything he and his wife would share. I would watch and smile and think of how incredible it would be to share something as special as dance with my partner. If you’re a dancer or lover of dance, I have no doubt this has you reeling and brokenhearted. I've seen so many things about Twitch and everything he's contributed I didn't know that I had a place, or the right, to speak about this, but that leads me to my second reason...
I recorded a podcast episode a few weeks ago that will be released this week…and I had no idea the world would be losing one of our favorite smiles. I doubt I would have recorded it this week if I had waited and heard this news.
I feel the need to say that if you can understand sadness, hard times, depression, loss and/or despair that this upcoming episode is for you. I also need to say that, at the time of recording, I did not know we would have such a beautiful public light dimmed. I thought about not releasing it because of the timing, but it may be precisely what someone needs to hear, so not posting on schedule feels wrong.
My personal experience...
This picture was taken on Dec. 23, 2018.
Not ever to be shared, but to remind me that I was alive and there, and I can't explain it, but I was at my worst during this time. I took it, hoping to look back on it one day and know I was not that broken anymore. I took it to remind myself of how much pain I was in. I never planned to share this. I didn't look at it for a long time, and when I would come across it, I would think about deleting it, but then think there was a reason. I look at it often now. I have come a long way with a lot of help. I somehow found the strength to find support, often in the strangest places. People I didn't talk to all the time, people I didn't exactly know but sensed they would understand. I was always led well, and I am forever grateful; they always held space for me and gave me my next best step. For me, the reason was my children. I could press send because I still had hope. I was not in the darkest of places, I don't know what that place is like, so I am reeling more than I thought I would with this news.
This picture was taken two days before and shared on social media and holiday cards.
I wasn't faking the love, although there was a lot of hurt behind the smile. I was fighting to make sure my kids felt loved despite my pain, confusion, and my anger with myself for feeling how I did. In truth, I shared this, hoping those who cared about me would see I was ok because I honestly didn't want them to ask...only because there was too much to say, and I feared being a burden. It was too much to put on someone else in my head. So when we think, "they had so many people to reach out to," I hope you can understand it's not that easy. I hope you can try to understand that while you feel like someone a person in need can come to, they often don't because they are alone in their head, not because you haven't loved them enough. Depression is cruel; it tells so many lies, exploits our worst thoughts about ourselves, and isolates us in every way.
To those who understand this:
YOU ARE NOT A BURDEN.
I had a conversation a month ago when my family members lost a friend they cared about to suicide. They were blindsided by the tragedy, as everyone often is. I assured them that they couldn’t make sense of something they’d never been close to experiencing. I tried to explain that despite everything amazing that this person had, she was battling a horrible disease that blinded her from recognizing her support, her value, her purpose, and how losing her could impact everyone. It makes nothing better, but neither does feeling angry about an illness and a "decision" you can’t understand.
It’s not about making sense of it because there is no possible way for your brain to comprehend a pain it’s never known. That’s a good thing.
Twitch lost a battle to a devastating illness, the same one we lose far too many to.
He meant more than he knew to nearly the whole world of dance and then some. He made people smile with nothing but his own. He was good, so good.
This is one of the saddest and most devastating celebrity losses because no one could imagine the hurt he was feeling behind the joy and incredible life we saw; it looked like a perfect existence.
I hate that he is gone. I'm broken over how broken he had to feel. I'm broken for anyone who has ever felt this way. I know deep depression; I've felt the dark corner where there is little to live for, but I've never been so deep, and I still cannot imagine this pain and isolation.
I see people say on social media, “people post what they want you to see and believe,” but I disagree.
People often share what they want to believe and hold onto themselves. We post the good moments because they can help others as much as they can help us. They give as much hope, value, and joy to others as to ourselves.
It’s not a trick; it's not calculated; it’s self-preservation in a way that may help others. It feels good to help others.
It's a weapon some use to battle the demons, to show up and be good, to be a light; it's clear that Stephen Boss fought hard.
There is not a single training, podcast, or blog of mine that is not about something I know I need to internalize and do better at myself. I choose to learn and then teach while I grow.
So let’s learn. Let’s be better for one another. Let’s not just say that we think someone is struggling in conversations with family or friends. Let’s get bold and reach out, even when it's scary. Let's recognize that men struggle and then normalize them getting support. Let's talk about mental illness. Imagine a world where this was the norm, where the stigmas of getting help to be well mentally and emotionally were erased, and where we were proud of anyone who was committed to having support from a professional, where we can be proud of ourselves for getting support.
I am proud of myself; it's part of why I share. I also share to help others.
What can you do? Reach out. Sometimes you may have this gut feeling you need to reach out to someone...follow it.
“I love you.”
“I hope you know what an impact you’ve had on me.”
“Hey, I’m here for you…all the time for anything.”
“How are you? I mean it."
Then listen if they are sad, broken, or in despair. Hold space for them.
Do not disregard someone's pain. Do not tell them it could be worse, don't give examples of someone else's life. The outside may be beautiful, but that does not mirror what a lovely life and smile can hide.
Despite what you’ve been led to believe in the media, death from suicide is not at its peak in the winter months. It’s in the Spring and Summer when statistically, we have always had a higher percentage of these deaths. Let’s not always care more when it’s dark out; let’s care more always.
My inbox is always open.
Love you. Mean it.
In memory of everyone who lost their battles and left us sooner than anyone wanted. May you be in beautiful peace now.
More information for everyone to have.
Suicide Hotline 24 hours: Dial 988
You can also Text BRAVE to 741741
And a trained crisis counselor will receive it and respond within minutes. Then, the crisis counselor will help you de-escalate your situation and connect you to help locally.
Get help & support for suicide
If you’re in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, find help in your area with Find a helpline.
If you believe that someone else is in danger of suicide and you have their contact information, contact your local law enforcement for immediate help. You can also encourage the person to contact a suicide prevention hotline using the information above.
Learn more about personal crisis information with Google Search.