Dear readers, friends and all of the above,
The other day I posted a saddening and difficult post regarding my constant fears about my health. Teary eyed I clicked out my words on my laptop, and upon proofreading aloud my teary eyes became broken dams as I crumbled under the immense pressure a life such as mine keeps a person under.
And then, because the last year I have been on a journey of self discovery and transparency, I posted it to my personal Facebook for all my friends to read. And within minutes, I was consumed by guilt.
In fact, just about any time I post something that isn’t starry eyed or laugh inducing I feel guilty. I feel like a “downer” or like I am adding more sadness and pain into the world by expressing myself as I do.
When I started this blog it was purely an outlet and I didn’t think anyone at all would read it. But in a wonderful turn of events, people did. And some people even told me that by laying my heart bare and posting my most fragile emotions and thoughts, I was actually touching their hearts and making them feel less alone. I honestly can’t describe to you, my darling reader, how spectacular it feels to be told such things.
I love writing. I love being my true, unadulterated self and I love talking to the people I’ve met through this adventure I started somewhat accidentally. But I made a deal with myself a year ago that I simply could not take suppression any longer. My family, boyfriends, friends and even strangers have shut me up my entire life. I’ve been overwritten, screamed at, interrupted, one-upped and ignored more times in my life than a person ever should have to experience.
I constantly have flashes of my family members screaming at me that I had no right to speak or that I was worthless, and that no one cared what I thought.
I remember a dinner party when I was 20 where I met a stranger and got into a conversation about how incredible and strange the universe truly was. He seemed to be at least minorly interested until my at the time best friend shouted at me, “are you getting deep already? You are such a downer, boo!” Everyone at the dinner laughed at me. I didn’t speak the rest of the night.
I have countless memories such as these. Regardless of how long ago they occured they still cause my heart to ache. After 25 years of being shut down and treated like less than a person, being robbed of my voice in far too many social situations, I finally cracked. I became more talkative, tried harder to be as articulate as possible, and became brutally blunt. Of course I try to not be hurtful, but slowly I’m learning that my voice is just as important as anyone else’s.
Many of the subjects I talk about are not easy to speak about or to hear about, and believe me, I am fully aware of that. But as I’m sure I’ve said before, often times the most difficult things to talk about are the most dire ones. People get very uncomfortable when conversing about illness, disability, sickness, and everything within those realms. But I believe that their discomfort comes from the very fact that we as a society have made it uncomfortable; and to me, a person whose entire life revolves around their health, that’s just ridiculous.
We need to talk about the hardest things. About illness and disability and race and gender and everything else that affects a human life. For people who aren’t affected by those subjects it’s incredibly easy to cast it all out and call it innapropriate, strange or even dangerous. But there are so, so many people on the other side, and they are just as important.
Why are we so scared to be wrong, to be ignorant, or to be uninformed? No one knows everything- that’s literally impossible. And since everyone is ignorant about many things, why are we so reluctant to learn more? We love dramatic movies and television riddled with difficult choices yet when someone we love faces them in reality they hear more often than not, “I’m sorry, but I just don’t know what to say,” or even worse, they hear nothing at all.
Life is far from easy for the majority of people, and while it’s common to pretend that it is, especially on social media, I simply refuse to do so. My hardest days are equally important as my brightest ones because all of them contribute to who I am as a whole person. And I nor anyone else should not feel guilty for sharing one or the other, whether it is an attempt to ask for support, to bring awareness to a situation that doesn’t have enough light shined on it, or even if it is a mix of both of those plus a whole bunch of reasons that they aren’t totally sure of. That’s usually what it is for me.
Life is strange in all its complexity, negative and positive. Ignoring either side gets us nowhere at all. If I were to say, “I won’t talk about this subject because it is too much vulnerability for me to handle, but I’m sure someone else will eventually,” I’m joining a vast group of others thinking the exact. Same. Thing. If everyone assumes “someone else” will take care of it, who will finally speak up?
I know my life isn’t like most people’s my age. It isn’t like most people’s period, really. I understand that I puzzle people and sometimes even puzzle doctors. Many times even my closest friends haven’t the slightest idea what to say to me, and to be honest, it certainly hurts. But I hope that as I continue to spill my heart out into a screen, it will attract more people like me who are aching as I am. We may suffer, but it does not have to be alone. And for those who aren’t like me, they can at the very least be encouraged to be curious, compassionate and empathetic. Everyone is better off when we have the courage to speak and to listen.
My pain is who I am. My joy is who I am. I apologize for none of it. (Well okay, I do currently, but I’m slowly learning not to).
I have shared this quote before and I will probably do so a thousand times more as it is incredibly dear to me:
The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things or make them unimportant.