Hello. And welcome to this bright new space.
Most people I know put up a corner on the big old web to display their best work; to sell their brand maybe, or to kind of establish who they are and what they do well. I’d love to be able to do that someday, but I don’t think I have as much successes to talk about as I have failures. I mean, we all do. But it’s an awkward truth we don’t talk about so much. The not-so-glittery stuff. The heavy things. That’s what I write about.
When I first decided to put up a blog, I was on my way home and Ingrid Michaelson’s song came on. All the broken hearts in the world still beat/ Let’s not make it harder than it has to be. There was something in the air that night, or maybe it was the things I’d been thinking about that day, but I was feeling triumphant. Light.
I was thinking about all my heroines, Ingrid among them, and how I love them because they went straight to the heart. They start by doing something wonderful for themselves and in the process they end up saving people, saving me even when they don’t know I exist. They just tell the truth about what’s in their heart and trust that it will find its way to the right people. Right then and there I got the feeling that that’s what I wanted to do.
See, I’ve had a long, drawn-out battle with sadness and self-love. It started many years ago when I broke my own heart, and I haven’t been the same since. I mean, who is? Breaking open means so much spilling and losing, and rearranging the parts before you get to close up again. I closed up well. It wasn’t pretty, and it left me with trembling hands and a heart too fickle to open up or let go.
But I went on to write about the heavy things. I did it because people read the things I told them and they told me it made things feel lighter for them. Which made my load lighter too.
What I know is that the hands and the heart, they’re parts that learn. They’re also parts that heal after breaking, which is why I’m trying to teach them to not be afraid. I’m trying to teach them to heal stronger and softer at the same time. To wear the scars well because the scars make us write, and the writing helps us heal. And the healing, well, let’s just say it’s the best part.
“I love who I’ve become because I fought to become her.” (Kaci Diane)
Last year, I set my heart on really getting better, once and for all. I tried different things from getting more exercise, to talking to a professional. These things helped, but I’d always crash and find myself in flames again. Sometimes I think I’ll never get better. Sometimes I think that people were right when they told me I’m insisting on writing myself a sad story. Other times, I realize that recovery is not a result, but a process. Just like how failures aren’t endings but opportunities to try again.
I put up this space so I can document the entire roller-coaster ride of falling and getting back up again. I want an honest reminder that I fail, but I want a positive reminder that I do get back up. I want to come here and talk about the things that happen to me and how they make me feel. I want to talk about all the ways I tried to love myself today, and I want you to know about the days I couldn’t.
On Valentine’s Day
Over the years, I started to make this day about searching for other kinds of love: ones that overpriced roses and chocolates couldn’t dare represent.
One of the first things I did in high school was declare (to no one in particular) that I would stop celebrating Valentine’s Day. It must have been a silly reason — some childish attempt to look brave, sophisticated, or different. I wanted something to feel strongly about; countering a popular holiday seemed like a good place to start.
Thankfully, it didn’t last, and I began greeting February with pink hearts and dresses again. But I also started doing new things, like sending friends flowers. Or tying love letters to floating balloons. One year, I wrote love letters to myself.
They started out as apologies, for my emotionally abusive relationship with myself, for the neglect and the dislike; they soon became thank you notes, for not giving up on myself after all of it. I wrote honestly and clearly about the difficult things I knew to be true, until it became easier to write about the things I had trouble admitting. Like anything else, I put it all online for people to see. And when they saw it, they embraced me.
I found some of my favorite people in the world just like that: by being honest about the terrible things, and letting them decide if they like me anyway. Spoiler: most of them do. And they are 100% part of the reason why I’m going to be okay.
TL;DR – Valentine’s Day has become about finding the right places to put my love in: myself, my friends, the thin trails of goodness I may still see in the world. And I’ve learned that one of the best ways you love is through honesty: tell the truth about the things that feel madly important to you, and you’ll find that it’s important to somebody else too. It becomes a wonderfully healing place for everyone who steps into the circle.
I’ve always wanted this big empty space where anyone could come in and automatically find what they were looking for. Comfort, support, validation. Someplace you could pour out all of the bad and pick up a little good. I want so badly for this to be that place. I want this to be a place where people tell the good, loving truth about the things we don’t talk about but really, really want to.
It’s going to take time and I’m going to need some help, but it’s going to happen. I’m going to get better, and I’m going to help people.
Just watch this space.