I don’t know when I started writing.
Early on, I think.
I don’t know why I wrote, I just did. I had no control over my pen and even less control over my compulsion to destroy what I wrote. I ripped my writings into tiny little pieces, carefully discarding the evidence, sometimes by fire, sometimes by flood—soaking my journals until the sink water turned grey.
I did anything to ensure no one knew me, the real me—my sick twisted mind, my fears, my insecurities and my desires.
I destroyed my work, because I was terrified of being ‘found out’— I was a bad person. I wasn’t normal. I didn’t fit in and would certainly be ostracized if others knew how I felt.
They would be ashamed and disgusted. I only revealed the person I pretended to be—a quiet, shy little girl who followed the rules and tried not to stand out (even though I did, as an outsider who found a way to occasionally blend in with the crowd).
I survived inside the cocoon of mediocrity. I positioned myself to be picked midway to last in the dodge-ball games at recess. I received decent grades, enough to get by. I feigned an average existence, it was easier that way.
A few years ago, I couldn’t do it anymore. Writing was my gateway to liberation. I became fiercely protective over my words as though they were my children. I couldn’t hurt them, even if I wanted to—no water nor flame could ruin them.
Every word mattered, even the misspelled ones, the nonsensical sentences, the tortured thoughts, the confessions of sins I’ve committed.
As I allowed my writings to survive, I began to accept my life and myself.
Just as I had no control over the destruction of my work as a child, I couldn’t control sharing it as an adult. I’ve allowed myself to be seen. My private life is now public; because of this, others see themselves in me and they can relate. My transparency has inspired them to embrace themselves as they are.
None of us want to hide. We do so for fear of being rejected, yet nothing is more painful than the rejection we inflict on ourselves—rejecting who we are, all of it, even the sick and twisted parts. The acceptance of who we are, is the catalyst that will free the world if and when we do it collectively.
Being honest is the bravest of all actions.
Being honest is the mortar of connection–it is what unites people and rids human beings of dire loneliness and suffering. If we are willing to embrace ourselves and show the world who we are, we are brave enough to endure the rejection, judgment and criticism because we know, nothing is worse than being invisible.
As I began expressing myself publicly, everything changed. Instead of being the outcast and the unseen, I became the leader. Instead of cowering in a cocoon, I became the cocoon, the refuge for others. I receive messages on a daily basis from people from all over the world, who entrust me with their secrets, their pains, their joys, their loves and their questions. They trust me because I’m honest—they can see me clearly. They know me.
Today, as I sat outside on my patio, a bit uninspired; a blank page glaring at me, I decided to check my messages.
Awaiting was a message from a brilliant and beautiful young woman. Her message is one I’ve heard hundreds of times before, but today it tasted different, it felt different. She wasn’t revering me or placing me on a pedestal, she saw herself in me. As she poured through my articles, she realized, there is no reason for her to be lonely anymore, because she is not alone.
She is me and I am her. I am you too. I am every person, even the ones who hate me, who detest my words, who think I’m angry and cruel. I am you too. You see in me, what resides in you whether that be your anger or your joy, your brilliance or your sickness—I am you.
That’s what writers do, we create a reflection of ourselves, for ourselves and unintentionally, we become a mirror for our readers. We are the root, the soul, the heart of it.
What I used to burn, now I broadcast because it is uniting the world.
My voice becomes your voice.
My words are your words; whether you agree with them or not.
I reside inside of you the moment your eyes inhale the first sentence—
I enter you. I become you.
You are not alone.
I am you.
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Ed: Cat Beekmans
Photo: Flickr/Pedro Ribeiro Simões