I love writing. It exposes that the human condition is a universal experience. As a friend says, “I am like every person and every person is like me. There is nothing I feel that is unique to me.” This goes along the vein of breaking narcissism with the Sonder Stories segment of my blog…if we speak about what we feel, if we write about what lies in our minds and hearts, we will realize we are not so alone in our experiences.
When I began this blog three years ago, I laid a lot of me out there…what I had seen and done, exposing the worst of my person and my soul…and do you know what happened? People flocked to me telling me how much they identified with my stories and with my experience. There were the usual dissenters, but the majority of my readers came bearing their own stories of mistakes and pain. I still receive messages to this day about how much my writing has impacted readers. These are both strangers and friends who feel connected to a soul besides their own when they read the words I write. And while I am glad I can show that they are not alone, my heart aches that they feel the pain I feel.
My therapist (good ol’ Dave) and I talk about how I am deep in the “work” of therapy. He always looks so pleased when I come to him with a list of stuff I want to dig into. He never starts the conversation and he lets me go where I wish as I work through the many facets of my trauma (props to him for keeping up with names, dude, seriously). We were wrapping up one of our sessions a few weeks ago when I told him “I am so tired…am I getting any better? This is exhausting. Why is introspection so hard? Not just for me…why is it hard for everyone to look inside themselves?” His response was so simple and so profound…
“Because we are alone when we look at ourselves.”
Introspection is truly isolating and feeling the ache of solitude can be overwhelming. No one else has lived the exact life we have lived, with the same perspectives and the same outcomes…there are too many variables to expect anyone to understand your exact pain. BUT there can exist a small sense of “sameness” with everyone as we move through life. And that is what Dave does for me. He allows me to come to him with every possible story I have and sits with me while I look inward. He also tells me the reactions and thoughts I have (that I and all of my friends think are crazy or insane) are totally normal (PHEW! I mean, seriously, I do some weird shit). I don’t have to be alone when I dig in deep, and I know he is bound by a code of ethics not to exploit me like the non-professional people I have confided in have done in the past.
So when my words resonate with readers and when my stories hold a mirror to your own, please know that I am glad you don’t feel so alone.
(and PS… maybe get a therapist?)