"All the beautiful and messy bits of our humanity are meant to be spun into gold." - Glennon Doyle Melton
I played a funny little game with myself the other day. After I wrote a blog post about losing my clothes, finding gratitude, and then finding my clothes again, I imagined what kind of comments I might see if I'd published the post on Elite Daily, Thought Catalog or any other publication of the like. I let my imagination run wild and came up with comments like the following: "Um, can you say #firstworldproblems. Cry me a river. You don't know a thing about loss."
"This girl makes me want to throw up. Seriously, finding G-d by having to let go of her shopping addiction for like, 1 day? Next thing you know she'll start thinking she's the messiah because she lost her car keys."
"There are people without food on the table for Thanksgiving, but thanks for briefing us about your laundry "horror." Must have been excruciating for you."
This wasn't the first time I'd had a go at the "what would people say" game. I play it every time I write something. As the words come out of me and onto the page, I type wondering what my worst critic would say. When I press "Publish", I thank God I don't listen, and that I wrote anyway.
I spite of how much I have written, I thought of all the words I haven't said or stories I haven't told because I was too afraid. How could I possibly talk about this? is the fateful phrase that has ended many of my blog posts before they even started. Ironically enough, it's the posts in which I bear the most of my soul that I receive the most responses that translate to "OMG, me too."
Soul-bearing is scary. There's a 100% chance that someone, or most of the people, who read what you write aren't going to get it. But that's not who I'm writing for. I'm writing for people who do. When I write, I have faith that those people are out there. I make a decision that I don't care about the rest.
I read the quote in the title above last Saturday and was instantly reminded of the night before, which I'd spent tossing and turning, wondering how I'll ever be able to write about what I really want to write about. The thing about writing is that the juice is what resonates the most with other people: the truth, the blood and guts. If we're not willing to share our blood and guts with others, it's unlikely we'll evoke the type of response that heals simply by saying "me, too." The funny thing about the blood and guts is that they wind up not being so scary to share anyways, as long as we can finally get to the point where we're courageous enough to share them.
Our experiences were given to us for the very reason that we might share them with someone who could really take something away from them. If there's something we're too afraid to share about our own lives, isn't it possible that everyone around us might feel the same way about their similar stories? Isn't it possible that by sharing our "secrets", other people might just get a little bit more comfortable with their own? Sure, in the era of the anonymous commenter, it's even more terrifying to speak our own truths, but those people tearing others down are too darn afraid to do it without a mask on. Don't let them stop you. Our stories our meant to be told: they were given to us precisely so we could tell them.
Whatever it is you're holding back, or not telling, I encourage you to tell even one safe friend about your secret or idea. Our "secrets" weren't meant to be kept hidden. When we tell them, they bring others out of hiding.