Growing up, there was one feeling I remember feeling the most out of all the others. Alone. I felt alone. I felt like I was a burden to others around me because I always had something going on. There was always something. I don’t know how I learned it—but I learned it was a negative thing. I was the only one I knew with a mentally disabled brother. I was the only one with a terminally ill mother. I was the only one in my neighborhood who was going through, well, everything. Everybody else around me was all smiles and happiness and easy. Oh my gosh, how I just wished for easy.
My friends didn’t do this on purpose. I was equally smiles and happiness on the outside. Growing up, I tried really hard to not let everything else weigh me down. To not let the bad feelings drag me down with them. I just tried to live, get through the day and hopefully the world didn’t end in the meantime. Which, in my life, the world ending always felt really close.
As I grew up and met other people, the internet exploded and allowed friendships across state lines and even country lines I started to discover that I wasn’t alone. When you start talking to people and allowing them to get past the “I’m fine” thing we always do, you learn that other people go through things too.
There is one math principle that I really understand, better than 2+2 and I learned it in my college math class. A class I never thought I would be able to take and pass (I got an A, ya’ll) It’s called the Pigeonhole Principle. Basically, if you have objects and containers and you have more objects than containers then the containers will have more than one object in them. There are no new ideas and there is nothing new that will happen that hasn’t already happened to people. So, if you were to make all the possible life experiences into containers and then factor in the population, you’ll have more people than life events. While there are differences from one specific event to another, my brother’s disability might be different than your brother’s disability. You might have a sister with special needs rather than a brother. They still fall under the same umbrella or container and in the pigeonhole principle we all would start sharing containers.
The thing is, we don’t talk about it. We don’t share it. We keep it all locked up inside our hearts until we feel safe to share with someone else. We keep it locked inside until we find a piece of ourselves in someone else and then we share.
If I had just had one adult in my life as a child that could tell me that they have been there and things work out in the end, that they made it to the other side of life obstacles, I might have felt less alone. All I wanted was to feel less alone.
As humans, we crave human connection. We want to feel like we belong somewhere, and that people understand us. I believe the first step in achieving that is by sharing our stories. The best way to start feeling less alone is by sharing and allowing other people in.
That is what Writing Out Loud is for. I will be sharing my story, bits and pieces of it. (I am working on my book, you know) I will be opening this blog for other people to share their stories. Writing Out Loud is for sharing and for community. I also want to help you learn to write your own story. There is something therapeutic about writing, the act of writing. Writing things down also makes it real. Writing is awesome and I believe we all need to write with abandon, we need to write it all out and we need to write it out loud.