After sharing a personal letter I wrote to my mom a few days ago, I started to ask myself why I share what I write. My writing is incredibly therapeutic for me and being able to put down my thoughts really helps me when I am processing so many conflicting emotions. While I know the process of writing is helpful, I start to question why I feel the need, desire to share these writings with others.
Of course as someone with anxiety, I start to question my motives and immediately started to question if I am doing it from a self serving place. I wondered if I am doing it for the comments… the likes… the attention. While these are not easy questions to ask myself, I felt it was necessary to understand my motives and my desires.
If I am totally honest, of course it is nice to get comments and likes about what I write. It is nice to know someone is reading my thoughts and find value in it. Of course I check to see how many people have read my blog…. But I don’t think this is the only reason I share.
As I started to question my motives, my mind went back to about 19 years ago when my mom had only been dead about a year. I remember sitting in a church group and being told how strong I was for how I handled my mom’s death and what a remarkable story I had. I remember thinking, I don’t want to be strong anymore, I don’t want to be this testament for others about how to handle things. I knew on the inside I was dying while on the outside everyone thought I had everything together. Because my identity had been shaped by being the strong one, I didn’t feel like I could be honest about my real and true emotions.
It took over a decade and two years with an amazing counselor to learn to be honest with myself and others about my experience. I learned I could be honest about struggling and still be strong at the same time. I learned I could be happy with my new life and still miss my mom. I learned I could feel guilty about my mom’s death while logically knowing it wasn’t my fault.
As they experiences came to my mind, I realized I share my story not for the likes and comments (even though they are nice) but because I don’t want anyone else to feel alone in their struggle. I don’t want one person to feel like they have to grieve in silence for fear they are doing it “wrong” or not being “strong.” I share my story because 20 years ago it was a lonely journey for me and I hope my words can help someone not suffer alone.
I don’t think my words are magical, or can stop intense pain. What I do know is that when we feel like someone else understands, we don’t feel as lonely. My hope is by sharing my journey I can help someone see a flicker of light during a dark time.