Why is it so hard for us to lay our souls bare—-to expose our deepest griefs and yearnings? What are we afraid of? Why do I feel something close to shame when I talk about my sadness? I wrote this several days ago, but have been unable to hit that “Publish” button. But if I don’t, then it would seem that I don’t believe the words I write. So if you’re reading this right now, it means I finally had the courage to click “Publish.” It will also mean that I’m sick to my stomach, as I always am when I put myself out there like this. But I guess it’s better to risk your heart than to close it…
When I first started blogging, it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. I didn’t give a lot of thought to what my objectives were other than a desire to revive my dormant writing muse. As time went on and I began to post on a regular basis, I was genuinely surprised to realize that people out there were actually reading my stuff. And every so often, someone would tell me that something I’d written had moved them or changed their thinking or, best of all, given them hope.
Of course, it thrilled me to think that, with my words, I could encourage or maybe even enlighten someone. Or make them laugh. But I’ve realized over time that it is most important to me that my blog be completely true to who I am, whether I am feeling happy and hopeful or sad and lonely.
Now that I think about it, I think maybe THAT’S what I really want, more than anything. To help people feel less alone. I know how it feels to feel alone. When I was small, I felt alone when my oldest brother abused me—physically and otherwise. Thank God he stole a car when he was fourteen and was sent to reform school, giving me two years of peace. Well, not complete peace. My sister was prone to inexplicable rages and almost killed me twice. Daddy had a real hard time pulling her off the second time, and I passed out before he could pry her fingers from my neck. He said later that had he not been there, she would have surely killed me. I think my parents did the best they could, but they were overwhelmed. Mama always said I practically raised myself.
But had you seen the girl I was back then, you never would have known all this. I had plenty of friends because I was always smiling or laughing or trying to make others laugh. My uncle called me “Smiley.” But I remember that sometimes I’d be in the middle of a group of my friends and suddenly be seized with the most overwhelming feeling of loneliness. But I never told anyone. Because I was Smiley—the girl who was always happy. And the world loves a happy girl.
I can’t help but notice that I get the most comments when I write a happy or cheerful post. And who can blame you? Lord knows, we need all the positive we can get these days. I myself am drawn to positive people because I think there’s always something to hope for and I believe that almost always, joy follows sorrow. And it’s a lot more fun to write a happy post. But sometimes I do feel sad. Or angry. Or lonely. So I reach out with my words, knowing that it’s not always just the positive posts that help the lonely feel less alone. Sometimes it’s good to know that others feel sad or angry or lonely, too—that you’re not the only one. So maybe sometimes even my less cheery posts might help someone out there to feel less alone; to know that it’s okay to feel that way and that there are those that love you whether you’re feeling happy or sad.
Please know that I don’t mean this at all as a rebuke to those that don’t comment on my angry or melancholy posts. I’m sure you have good reasons why you don’t, and that’s okay, too. Perhaps it’s because YOU are feeling sad. But I do want to thank those that do. I think you understood that my last post wasn’t just about poor customer service, but about how awful it feels when another human being treats you unkindly. So thank you. For accepting me as I am and for helping ME to feel less alone. I am grateful.
But really, I’m writing this to that little girl named Beth from so long ago. The one with the stubby hair and wide crooked smile that never stopped. For Smiley. I’m writing this to tell her that I love her whether there’s a big smile on her eager freckled face or big tears flowing down it. I’m writing this to tell her that it’s okay to feel sad. But that she should never feel lonely. Because even though sometimes people will turn from you when you’re sad, there are always those who love and embrace you for who you are—no matter how scarred or broken. There are always those who will extend a hand of kindness—whether virtual or real—to let you know that you are not alone. You are not alone.