I’ve experienced intervals of intense anxiety during my mental health journey. In those moments, my chest feels heavy, my heart beats rapidly, I stutter, and I fall down the rabbit hole of pessimistic possibilities. The feeling doesn’t help when you feel like the world around you is slowly fading to black. To deal with it, I keep myself grounded with love, support, and healthy relationships. As I build out what community looks like to me, and evaluate what true, healthy relationships look like, Chloe and Halle Bailey’s close bond has served as an example of means to lean on your squad in tough times.
When Chloe said she experiences separation anxiety from her sister when they’re traveling separately, I felt that. I also have a sister that I love dearly, and I have cousins and friends that are my chosen family. I feel a wave of mild depression when I’m away from them for too long. My loved ones give me peace and allow me a safe space when the world is chaotic. When I don’t feel like I have that support, I feel as though the roof from over my head has been ripped off by the tornado in The Wizard of Oz.
Somehow, the sisters and musical duo manage to do it, “it” being holding space for each other in times of separation.
When Halle went to Europe to film The Little Mermaid and Chloe was still in the U.S., their relationship appeared to never miss a beat. They continued to connect via Instagram live while miles and time zones apart. They hyped each other up in the comment section, and always encouraged their individual endeavors.
The sisters also defended each other when people on social media were being, well, people on social media.
“There was never a sense of competition, whether they were together or apart. There was only love between them.”
As she prepared to release solo material in 2021, Chloe was harassed by online trolls for embracing her body. Her sister advocated for her, writing on Twitter, “[I] ride for my sister til the enddd.” Similarly, when Halle was heckled by racists after being cast as the first Black Ariel, Chloe boasted about her sister’s accomplishments. In their public encouragement of each other, I noticed no one’s moment was bigger than the other’s. There was never a sense of competition, whether they were together or apart. There was only love between them.
Admittedly, that was something I struggled with.
My knee-jerk reaction to being away from my loved ones was anger and sadness, but it didn’t have to be. Just because I wasn’t physically near my tribe didn’t mean they loved me less. While miles apart from my friends and family, who were spread across New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and beyond, I learned they could show up for me in a new way. I also realized being alone set me up to learn more about my emotional intelligence and the role that I was playing in my own relationships.
Retrospectively, I realized I could be so wrapped up in my own life that I didn’t see others could be experiencing the same thing. I had also forgotten that there’s always a ladder to pull me out from under if I need it. I just need to ask for it.
“I just needed to know that I would have people there for me, no matter where they were.”
This summer, the crowd erupted when they saw Chloe x Halle performing together at the Something in the Water festival. It had been two years since their last joint set. Their chemistry was indescribable though, it was as if they were never apart. However, something was different about them as individuals when you saw them together as a unit again. There was a fresh sense of power and confidence. It illustrated that you can be both the full picture and a missing piece in someone’s life at the same time without losing who you are.
A few weeks ago, I was in a really low place — the lowest I’ve felt in ages. I felt alone, broken, scared, and helpless. My mind was beginning to be too much for me and my body was on autopilot. I called my partner, who then called my best friend. They were there for me. My boyfriend came over and held my hand through my panic attack. My best friend let me cry over the phone while she sat in silence and listened. At that moment, I didn’t need drinks, food, or laughter. I just needed to know that I would have people there for me, no matter where they were.
I’ve been working on being independent while allowing others to hold space for me, and Chloe and Halle have been the perfect leads. While giving myself room to grow, I’ve been able to fearlessly step into my power while knowing that I have the people that I love in my corner. It’s because of the sister’s bond that I can say that I’m confident in my ability to be by myself. I also know that if I need someone, my loved ones are within reach.