I wrote a blog post last week about unconditional love. I wrote it about myself and my own unique journey in life, because all anyone can truly know intimately is our own stories.
I received dozens of personal messages in response, both from people that I know and people that I don’t. It was the biggest number of messages I’ve ever gotten about a blog post.
All but one of the messages were people telling me how much my words helped them. People came forward and shared their own stories with me about their journeys with family and friends and spouses, and about how they were trying to find love without a “but” attached to it. I will always honor that trust and I feel humbled when I can create a safe place for those needing to tell their truths.
Two of those messages were from people who wanted to tell me that they were touched by my post, but couldn’t comment publicly for fear that some of their friends may de-friend them if they supported what I wrote. They specifically asked me to remain silent about their contact with me. This always hits home with me, because I’ve been told to “be careful” and “not talk like that, or else” for my whole life. As if my own organic words and thoughts and opinions aren’t valid enough to share. Or are inherently dangerous somehow.
Because of this, it has been a real work in progress for me to even find my voice. The messages I received from those who can’t yet speak publicly remind me vividly of when I was not allowed a voice, at least not one that disagreed with anyone.
But when I write from my heart, almost inevitably a message shows up from someone that I don’t know, or some ex or old friend that I haven’t seen in years, wanting to tell me how mean and cruel and spiteful I am. And to point out the ways that I have hurt them. Because they are quite sure that what I wrote was a direct attack on them personally.
If I look at the big picture and take a helicopter view, or just look at statistics, it appears that my words helped more than they hurt.
Because here’s the thing…. If someone is looking for a reason to make it about them and be upset with me, they will always find it.
Just like if someone is looking for the best in me, they will always find that, too.
After the last drama-filled message that I got, I realized that I stopped writing. Again. Or rather, stopped sharing what I wrote.
Without thinking, I let myself be silenced again.
But since I’m not out here preaching hate or drowning bags of puppies, it’s ridiculous that I should not be allowed to speak. Especially because my words are always about how we are more alike than we are different. They are about common ground and love, never exclusion or hate.
So I am going to keep coming here and speaking my truth. I will not gossip or name names because that is not how I work. But I am a writer by nature. I feel compelled to share my stories and thoughts with the world. I’ve been doing that for many years now, in notebooks and on my blogs and in my articles and in my novels. But I do so in general terms about my thoughts and feelings on love and life.
No one is under attack here.
But it seems that in these divided times, honest feelings and thoughts can be perceived as hurtful or cruel. This is true on all sides, with each and every issue we face. It seems that the mere act of starting a conversation, or asking a question, can be views as “an attack.”
This is true not just for me, but for all of us. I can’t tell you how many people have told me lately that they have been blocked and de-friended and yelled at and black-balled from their people. For small things that turned huge. This is not something that is only happening to me. I get a little more attention for it, is all.
But if we are not allowed to speak our truth, how the hell are any of us going to fix any of this? It seems to me that gossip and ignoring the issues are not fixing America the Broken, or its citizens.
Every person that is my “friend” is here is by choice, and someone I connect with and know. But I’m not selling you anything and I’m not forcing you to stay. I get no monetary benefit from your presence. I merely gain the pleasure of your virtual company.
But you should know that I’m not going to sit down and be quiet about any of the things that matter in this life. It is far too important right now to keep the conversation going.
And if the things that I write bother you, you may want to ask yourself why.
The inbox is always open, folks. At least on my end. But we can’t fix it if we all stop talking.