connection, authenticity, vulnerability…oh my!

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I am a writer who lost my voice. What’s a writer with no voice? A tortured soul. An affliction. Like a swimmer who has lost a lung. A pianist who’s lost his hands. Like a singer whose vocal chords have been severed.

The craft was lost. The lifeline cut. The music silenced.

The breath of life caught in gulping sobs and stuffed down into steel vaults encased under chain and lock and key. The raging voices in my head were banging on their prison walls with such force that words could not be made out in the maelstrom of sound.

Snuffed out. Silenced. Compartmentalized.

After my mom died last year, and I subsequently spiraled into a deep depression, I needed saving. From grief and despair. From depression and anxiety. From hopelessness and lifelessness.

From myself.

I was down at the bottom of the rabbit hole, in the silence of the musty barrows of the earth. When finally. Finally. I was able to quiet the raging and banging and clanging. The echoes stopped reverberating against the thick inner cell walls. To quiet my mind long enough to let the words come again. To slowly watch the scratchings and markings become lines become letters become words. Thoughts. Feelings. Truths. The whispering voices to be heard.

My voice.

It took time, and a lot of encouragement (not to mention therapy and meds). But slowly, like a toddler learning to walk, stumbling, falling, determinedly getting back up. It’s coming back. I’m listening, hard. Focused. Determined. I’m working through my shit. I’m sorting things out. I’m slowly and stealthily climbing out of the deep rabbit hole. One messy muddy vine rung at a time.

And I’m finding my voice. The words are coming.

I’m writing. I’m saving my life, and my soul.

I know myself pretty well.  I need focus, tasks, goals. If I don’t have those, I self-sabotage. And back down the rabbit hole I’ll go. I don’t want that anymore. I want to set myself up to succeed. I want to consciously place myself in a positive forward momentum. So I started this blog. But starting it wasn’t enough. I need accountability, too. It’s one of the biggest pieces of my success equation. So I took the giant leap and published this blog. And shared – continue to share – this blog. Just writing the words wasn’t enough. I wanted – needed – my words ‘out there’. I know I’m not the only one hurting, grieving, living with depression, anxiety, PTSD. There are other highly sensitive souls out there. We attract each other, like a moth to lamplight. We seek each other out. Our souls connect on some other-worldly plane. Highly sensitives flutter and flock to highly sensitives. It’s inevitable. We need each other. We see ourselves in each other. We relate. We empathize. We feel validated. We feel seen and heard. We feel like ‘hey, maybe I’m not so crazy, afterall’.

We crave connection.

So with this blog, I set an intention. Actually a few intentions (because why set one, when you can be an overachiever and set more?).

Connection.

Authenticity.

Vulnerability.

In saving myself and my soul, maybe just maybe, I can help save someone else’s, too. And this gave me purpose. Yet another ingredient in the success formula.

Connection. Authenticity. Vulnerability. Accountability. Purpose.

Reaching out. Reaching back. Feeling. Healing. Honesty. Integrity. Keeping it real. Feeling heard and seen.

This blog was initially my way of working through my own grief and depression. Once I took that scary-ass leap of faith and put it out there…that’s when the magic happened. Connections have been made. Sparks fly.

Healing. Acceptance.

That feeling of not being alone. The ‘omigod I’m not the only one’. The ‘holy shit someone gets it’. The ‘wow, I feel that way, too!’ The ‘thank you for voicing what I’ve been feeling’. The ‘thank you for ‘getting’ it. For ‘getting’ me.’

And for this my mom would be proud. I’m putting myself out there. Unveiled. Real. Raw. Messy. Pen to paper. Fingers to keyboard. Heart bared. Walls down. Soul open. Letting you in. Not an easy thing for me. No, not at all an easy thing for me.

And although I’ve written and shared, and been honest and real and vulnerable, I’ve also held back. I admit it. There are still more ‘Draft’ pages than ‘Published’ pages in my WordPress dashboard.

Drafts are safe. They’re still mine. Hidden. Private. Silenced voices. Untold truths.

But what good is that doing either one of us? Especially if I want to live up to my intentions? Once a page changes from Draft to Published, there’s no turning back. I have to be honest with you, which means I have to be honest with me. And that is so HARD. And SCARY.

Authenticity and vulnerability. Right there. In a nutshell. Hard and Scary. So apparently I’m nailing it.

What about Connection?

I don’t measure my life, my success, by how many emails or texts I receive, or how many FB friends I have, or even how many follow my blog (although sure, the more the merrier!). Or how full my dance card is, how many coffee dates and playdates are on my calendar. Quantity is not the thing. The thing is quality. It might sound cliché, but I don’t care because it’s true. I could have 1000+ FB friends and a phone full of contacts, but that’s not what matters. What matters are the ones who read the posts and FEEL the words, the message. It connects with something inside of them. Or the ones who leave surprise little gifts on my doorstep, or shoot me a text to check in because I’ve been too quiet, or send a funny or sweet or inspirational meme, because it made them think of me. And the rare few who take the time to send a private message to say ‘I see you and feel you, your words touched me, you’re growing, you’re making me think and feel, you touched me.’  Whoa. THAT’s what it’s all about. The friend, the friend of a friend, the acquaintance, the stranger, who reaches back because my words touched something in them. And they just couldn’t help but speak up and let me know.

Connection. BAM!

That, my friends, is what it’s all about. It’s soul-saving. It is. I’m proof. And I know you out there are proof, too.

So, THANK YOU. I hear you. I see you. I hold space for you. We’re all in this crazy messy beautiful life together. And for that I’m thankful. Because I know I couldn’t do this alone.

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7 thoughts on “connection, authenticity, vulnerability…oh my!

  1. EB Wexler May 15, 2015 / 5:40 pm

    wow. gorgeous. and inspiring! thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ulli Stanway May 16, 2015 / 12:36 am

    You are amazing beautiful lady ❤ your writing is powerful, raw and beautiful at the same time. So proud and honoured to be here with you. Much love ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. karriehiggins May 18, 2015 / 12:31 pm

    Connection! Yes, yes! I have been craving real connection, too. So glad to have connected with you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. barbarapotter May 19, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    So much power and love to “connection”. Great essay Melissa.

    Like

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