Why I share my story with the world and why I think you should too.
Sometimes people ask me if I feel uncomfortable sharing my story and essentially my life with the world. My answer to this question is without a doubt; yes.
I have spoken often about stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing things that make you feel uncomfortable. I genuinely believe with all of my being that this is where and when the magic happens. I don't always feel comfortable when I share parts of my life with the world, but the one thing I always remember to do is to take a moment to ask myself this question:
"Why do I want to share what I am about to share?"
If I don't have a solid answer to this question, I will likely drag a copy into the folder on my laptop labeled, random writings.
Not everything needs or should be shared, but some things should be and if you are someone who would be open to sharing parts of your life with the world, specifically those most vulnerable moments, here's why I think you should.
1. I can almost say with certainty that I would not be alive had it not been for those who had the courage and the desire to share their story/stories with the world. When I hit rock bottom following the death of my fiancé, I DID NOT want to live and often spent time coming up with reasons why I shouldn't.
However, when I started reaching out for support, I found so many people who had been through similar experiences as me and they were wholeheartedly living. Why? Because they chose to.
Choosing to live after facing tragedy or hardships is not an easy decision, and I DO NOT mean "Happy" your way through life. When I say choosing, what I mean is you have chosen to take the incredibly hard road of building back your will to live. I was able to do this because I read stories, watched videos, and had conversations with many other men and women who did just that. They were and are my guiding light, and because they "chose" to share their stories, they saved my life.
By sharing your story, you could save someone's life.
2. According to Brene Brown, vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation and creativity. Early on in my journey, I learned that writing was my therapy. Writing fueled my soul and allowed me to let go of my demons, escape my nightmares, and document the most excruciating moments of my life but also the most joyful and memorable moments.
To be able to take thoughts out of my head that would otherwise damage my psyche and use them to create something tangible and relatable was my therapy.
It became my day to day refuge, my drug, and my life.
While sharing your story, you are vulnerable and with that vulnerability comes growth and relationships. While you share your story not only do you heal but you help others heal as well, and even though it might just be a small part of someone else's journey, it might be that one piece that kept them from throwing in the towel.
3. I want others to know that in the midst of their pain it is okay to have hope. Not only is it possible to be okay again but it is also okay to be okay again. I know from personal experience that the guilt that comes from dreaming about a better day is one of the most debilitating feelings.
When you are ready, it is okay to be okay again, and by sharing my story, I just might reach someone who really needs to hear that.
I know I needed to hear it on more than one occasion and if it weren't for others sharing their story, who knows where I would have ended up.
4. I share my life with the world because I want to show how awesome and liberating being imperfect can be. I am so far from perfect it's not even funny. If I had a quarter for every time, I had a "seriously did that just happen" moment; I would be a millionaire for sure.
I will never claim to be perfect or anywhere near it. I am not sure I would even claim that I have my shit together. To be honest, most days are an order of "fly by the seat of my pants," with a side of "structure and knowing what the hell I am doing." I love to do lists, and I like to keep track of most things, but life is chaotic, and with one baby boy and two stepdaughters I would be delusional to think every single day is going to run smoothly.
I used to try and control that, but now I embrace the beautiful chaos.
By sharing my life with the world, I am showing others that it's okay to be a hot mess and no one is allowed to judge you for not having your shit together.
Which brings me to the next question I used to ask myself.
What about the naysayers? The judges? The ones who think sharing my story is vain, or annoying, or not worth sharing.
My answer to that is simply this if they aren't an integral part of my life and someone who is walking in my shoes (no one walks in my shoes but me by the way) their opinion means nothing. So basically what I am saying is, if you choose to share your story, no one's opinion matters but your own and if what you are doing fuels your fire and you aren't hurting anyone; go for it.
Chances are you are helping far more people than you are pestering.
Like Brene Brown says, "if you're not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I am not interested in your feedback."
And last but not least,
5. I share my story because in a way it helps me accept what has been. I have been in the process of writing a book on life after loss for quite some time, and it is one of the most challenging things I have ever had to do. I have spent hours with my lap top and a box of kleenex and I will continue to do so until it is done. Going back to that pain is difficult, and by writing and sharing every day, I am slowly allowing myself to be at peace. I am sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly and I am creating something that may just help someone else to feel the good the bad and the ugly. It may help someone to release what is no longer serving them.
A few weeks or so after my fiance died my psychologist suggested I create a blog as a way of responding to the massive amounts of text messages, emails, and phone calls I was getting.
That night while sitting in my parent's spare bed, with a bottle of wine on my nightstand, I opened up my laptop and began creating what is now my documented journey to a new normal. To say writing and sharing my story healed me would be an understatement.
Writing is my medium.
Everyone has a story, and no one really knows how valuable their story might be to someone else until they share it and even then you may never. If you have a desire and a willingness to share, I strongly recommend you do so.
I for one depend on those who share their lives with the world and you never know when your story might be the catalyst to someone else's hope, healing, and growth.
"Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else's prison. Don't be afraid to share it" - unkown