Facts: The Gift of Self

Fact:  My Grandma and Grandpa got married on New Year’s Eve.

Fact:  I cannot swim.  Never learned

Fact:  I secretly enjoy ironing.

Fact:  I lost my glasses

Each morning when I wake up, I send an email to my friend, Gabrielle.  The subject line says “FACT”.  We simply type out a fact about us. 

Gabrielle and I went to school with each other for 8 years as children. She was a year ahead of me.  We knew of one another in our tiny private school but we did not often spend time with each other.  It wasn’t until junior high, that we were both thrown in together in a free period as teacher’s aides.  I quietly admired her poise and humor.  I thought she was too lovely, too good to be real friends with someone like me. I had the magic of the elective period alone with her to enjoy her.

Twenty-five years later we reconnected on Facebook. She revealed that she too had enjoyed that free period together and had admired me.  She suggested that we catch up on the last 25 years and in some ways, get to know one another, by sending each other a FACT each morning.  We surmised that both of our OCD laden, Type A personalities could keep up with the commitment.  We didn’t discuss how long we would do it, only that we would begin.  It has now been over 2 years.

We are both early birds, most mornings we send out our email in the 5 o’clock hour before I leave for my morning run.   Whoever sends their fact second, comments on the others and then shares her own.  It takes us each 2-3 minutes total.

At first our emails were basic details about us.  Most of our facts have a positive tone to them.  We share happy things.  We share highlights.  They began to change into what we looked forward to in the day ahead of us or the best of the day before.  They continued to evolve.  Sometimes deeper evaluations of our thoughts, fears, concerns.  This is where we have been able to get to know one another, understand each other.  She is an amazing person whom I hope to be more and more like.  Funny how even as adults, it’s terrific to have a role model of how to do things well.

I live with chronic depression.  A fact that was shared with Gabrielle a few months into this experiment.  I have been able to manage it for the most part with a combination punch of regular exercise, schedule and forcing myself to stay connected to community. Still there are usually several days a year that depression peaks it’s head out of the hole in the ground.  My sister recently pointed out that there has been fewer of these days.  I startled at that comment.  I looked over my calendar and journal, where I tend to document those down days to keep track of it.  She was right.  There have been far less of these days...in the last 2 years.  

Yes, I credit this experiment.

Each morning I pop out of bed and my first thoughts are of Gabrielle and what cheerful tid bit of my past day or the day to come I will share with her.  I know that if I delay in sending it, she will be concerned.  Not because of my depression but because of the regularity in which I usually send these out.  My immediate thoughts each morning are of something to be thankful for, look forward to and that someone cares about me.  It is a powerful notion, especially for someone for whom this does not come easily.  What a gift to give someone!  I don’t think she knows the power in this one act of curiosity, kindness and Type A at it's finest.  

I think this will be my fact tomorrow morning.