i received the most amazing facebook message last week. it brought tears to my eyes but it also opened them. oh my, it opened them.
it’s one of a number of personal messages (ie: not public comments) i have received from people regarding this blog entry – the entry which explained how difficult i found high school, how the experience had influenced me and how i needed to let go.
it was a piece of writing i felt obliged to ‘pen’ for my personal growth. but it was also very hard for me to post, as i explained at the time, because it made me feel so vulnerable. so much so i titled the entry ‘must.not.delete’. a challenge to myself.
within hours i knew i would not delete it thanks to the first blog-related email to find my inbox. it was from a friend who applauded my courage but, more importantly, confided in me the depression she had once suffered and still worked hard to control. she told me my words had helped her feel validated and that she was sure they would do the same for others. it was a really lovely thing to read, especially from such a beautiful person, and her suggestion that my blog – or that entry at least – would make anyone, anyone at all, feel a little better about themselves made it so very worthwhile.
the message i received last week was not from a friend, as such. it was from a ‘blast from the past’. someone i haven’t been in touch with for years but have been reunited with through social networking. when i saw her name in my inbox i got a little frightened. my instincts told me the message would be related to my blog. probably because the sender was one of the people i spent years being intimidated by. i read anxiously, waiting (although, knowing it was an unreasonable thought) for the ‘you’re full of shit, get over it, it was 10 years ago’ tirade to start.
it didn’t start.
she had only kind words to say. she told me she liked to visit my bog when she got the chance and enjoyed the read. then went on to explain she’d just read the aforementioned entry and could not help but get in touch. she then confided that she spent many of her high school years feeling exactly the same way. intimidated and fearful. self-conscious and desperate to impress.
i was stunned. i had no idea. she had always seemed so confident. to be honest, as well as feeling intimidated by her, i was jealous of what i perceived to be her self-assurance.
she went on to explain her regrets. primarily, that she had worried too much about impressing the wrong crowd.
they could have been my words.
i have acknowledged before that bullying is a food chain. to keep yourself off the bottom, i guess you’ve got to make your way up. so, knowing what it’s like to feel so downtrodden, how could i possibly begrudge someone working towards promotion?
i replied and thanked her for her message. but i’m not sure i effectively expressed just how attitude-changing her words were. because of her email, i now feel like i actually understand – rather than just trying to. i feel like i can do so much more than forgive. i can also empathise. and i think being able to empathise is going to make it so much easier to move on.
one more thing. she started her email with a disclaimer - just as i would have. she warned what was to follow might seem ‘ridiculous’. it most certainly wasn’t but i’ve explained that already. but what i wanted to add is no one should have to justify the desire to write. i am passionate about that. the written word is powerful and, as i am currently proof of, therapeutic. if you ever feel the urge to sit and write - whether the words are for you or someone else, whether or not you’re on your spelling-and-grammar game - don’t second guess yourself. just do it (swoosh). do it, do it, do it. and feel it.