I used to have a separate blog. One where I wrote about everything I felt. I got it all out there.
Well, except for one thing. I never included my name. All my feelings were real, the heartache, the joy, the guilt, the excitement and celebrations, but I couldn’t fully claim them. Eventually each feeling became overshadowed by shame. Shame for not being able to be honest in my real life. With the people I interacted with every day.
It became a shame that weighed me down so heavily that I could barely peel myself up out of the bed even when everything was going ‘right’. When the world thought I had it all together. What a dangerous feeling - "having it all together". I was ashamed of who I was, who I am.
At the time, I had an uncanny ability to be myself with a million strangers, but I couldn’t be me with my own inner circle. I lived in fear and became consumed by the thought of losing everything. Including all the things I hated. They were my safety net. A parasite eating away at my soul, yet one I wasn’t willing to give it up because I didn’t know myself without it.
That was then. But this is now.
I can’t sleep tonight. In bed, wanting to get tomorrow started already. All that I can think of in this moment is how different things are now. How much life can change. Today wasn’t that different from yesterday, which wasn’t that much different from last week or last year. But over time every little change has added up to a new life.
A new me.
A new blog.
This one. Still the real me. And all my feelings. But this time with my name. My face. Nothing hiding. And no, not all the days are good now. And no, I don’t know how my story ends or how it even continues from here.
But I do know this. I am here, and I have made it farther than I ever dreamed was possible. Accomplishing a dream didn’t make everything else downhill from there. In fact, I think I’ve realized how much higher I have to climb. How the path is so much longer than I could see from the starting line. It’s no easier than it was before. But now, it’s worth it.
It’s about more than just me now and my will to survive. It’s about us. About family. Community. Boys and girls, men and women, and everyone in the world that feels hidden. That feels like they can’t attach their name to their feelings, their identity, their sexual orientation, their mental disorder, their faith, their race, their heritage, their family, their class, their disease, their income, their disability, or anything about themselves. The gap in their teeth, their recent divorce, their body weight, their social anxiety, their addiction, their loved one’s death, the way they feel like they’ll never be loved, the way they feel like they could never love, their self-esteem issues, or whatever it may be.
This one is for those people.
I just want them to know: I see you. I hear you. My story is like yours, though you are a completely unique and beautiful soul. We may not be the same, but we want the same things. To be understood and accepted as we truly are. To be loved. Behind that veil of shame and secrecy, find your inner honesty. What is your story, your truth? Cling to that and never let it slip away. Not when someone else tells you it’s a lie, and especially not when they say that their truth is more important than yours. Don’t belittle them, their beliefs and especially not their truth. But never let them stop you from finding and living out yours. They are not God, and they cannot tell you who yours is. The truth is that we can do this together. Even with separate but equal truths. They may not understand us, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t love them anyways. We must if we’re ever to arrive closer to the place we wish. I believe in you. I know that your story will make impact. It already is. And I love you for being exactly who you are.