Trigger warning: brief mention of depression and suicidal thoughts.
Not so long ago, I stood hopeful, on the brink of a new project meant to bring hope to many lonely souls. I breathed the fresh air of life, relearning what it meant to live. I held my head in the confidence that I was part of something beautiful, something big. That my life would truly make a difference for someone.
Now I see that dream taking off. I see so many working towards that amazing end, and half of me thrills at the sight.
The other half stiffens in fear, because I had not realized.
I had not realized how inadequate I am.
I had not realized how very small and insignificant my story is in comparison to the stories those that have joined me. I told others joining me that it doesn’t matter if their story isn’t “impressive,” if it isn’t one of massive struggle, pulling themselves out of extraordinary pain into a new, thriving life. And I still believe that.
But for me, I am not certain. I look at myself in the mirror and ask myself what I could possibly have to offer. What have I overcome? I have a good life. I have always had a good life, though there have been times enough when I have not recognized it. I have a wonderful family. I am pretty. I am smart. I have all the opportunities in the world.
But I am not the sort of person you look at and think, “There. There is someone that will truly change the world.”
Because people that change the world are not people like me. Not people that have everything handed to them. Not people that are born to easy situations.
People that change the world have to struggle to do so. They fight not only for their own good, but for the good of everyone around them. They rise from the worst possible situations and learn to shine brightly, a beacon for everyone around them.
I am not one of those people. I have not had to fight. Or, if I have, my fight has not been like the fights of those around me. The other authors here stand tall, strong in their brokenness.
Meanwhile, I stand in their shadows.
I could dig back in my past to unearth something that might come close, something that might make my story inspiring. Like the time we moved, and I broke. Like the times my insecurity held onto me so hard I could barely breathe. Like the time when I, for no reason I knew of then or now, flirted with the idea of taking my life, never telling anyone about it.
But what are those to me now? I am healed. The pain from those times are nothing but distant memories. I no longer struggle with them. And though I consider it, I debate over whether I should speak of them. After all, if they are so far in the past for me and no longer hurt, why should I dredge up the past? Why should I reopen old wounds?
But then, mightn’t talking about it help someone? Do I even remember well enough to speak about it accurately? Does speaking about it necessarily mean opening up old wounds? Can I not portray my healing alongside it?
What about the present? There are things in the present I experience as well, things that are worth noting. Things that are worth delving into. Should I ignore those at the expense of my past?
At the same time, my present is often dull. I chafe against the daily grind, wishing for times when I felt things more intensely, more deeply, be those feelings good or bad. Some days I would give anything to feel something other than my normal feelings.
I suppose it just comes down to balance. Balance. That elusive art of keeping opposing parts of my life equal. Would that I was better at it. But what else can I do but try?
But thing is, even though I know I must learn this balance, learn to enhance my writing and use it to tell my story, I almost want to hold onto this insecurity. I want to hold onto it because, when my life seems to pale in comparison to those around me, an insecurity over not struggling might be enough to justify my being here on this blog.
And I know that’s not true. The things I’ve been through are not nothing, even though I’ve healed so completely that they no longer hurt me. If anything, it gives me a reason to be here, to show that such things can be overcome, that a full life can be led after them.
But oh, holding on is so tempting. Because I am afraid.
Afraid that, without a current struggle, I will be no good to anyone. To you, my dear reader. And that is the last thing I want.
Please, please, don’t let me be useless to you. I promise I will do my best by you. I will do everything I can to help you. I will show you you are loved.
Because, even if my scars are old and faded, even if my story is not as impressive as others, I have learned well how to love. Through the remnants of my brokenness, I will love, and I will listen, even when I do not know what to say. Perhaps this is the very reason I have grown up as I have: that I might learn to love well enough to show that love to others.
With all the love I can offer,