I was washing the breakfast dishes today and it occurred to me that all we have to give to one another are our experiences. We clothe them in so many costumes. Sometimes to hide our insecurities. Other times to monetize them. Occasionally we wrap them up in pretty little packages, send them out to the world and hope someone can use them to find a way to through the pain of their own existence. It’s that last one that led me to writing and exposing my own pain and suffering.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m also monetizing it. I put everything behind the paywall. But it’s not really for the reason you might think. The actual truth of the matter is that I don’t need the money. And no, I’m not independently wealthy. I’ve just decided/realized that I have enough. More doesn’t add anything to my life. At this point it’s just another number. Like my weight or my age. As long as it’s enough, I’m good.
No, I put it behind the paywall because I use those numbers to tell me if anyone really wants to read what I write. I used to think I wrote for me. But I don’t. I write for you. And if you stop reading, I’ll stop writing. It’s actually the community I seek. I read way more than I write. Even if everyone stops reading my stuff, I’ll keep reading theirs. Because I get to experience their lives through their writing. And that’s very valuable to me. I hope what I write is valuable to others. If it’s not, I’ll probably stop writing. At least for a while. I seem to always come back around to it for another try. Is that seeking attention? I’m not really sure.
Anyway, what do I have to teach you? It’s just this: tell your story. To your children, to your grandchildren, to random strangers on the internet. To the people you love and to people you don’t even know. It’s the only thing we really have that is both uniquely our own and holds actual value beyond the length of our own lives.
It’s through telling our stories that we learn who we actually are. Only when we revisit the things that happened to us and our responses to those events can we expose our own truths. And yea, our own strengths and weaknesses. It’s actually why many people go to therapists. To talk things out and get a different perspective. I’m not a therapist but in my limited experience all they really do is get you to face your demons and the emotions that are triggered by those demons (“and how did that make you feel?”).
I found that writing here filled that need for me. If it’s too much for you to face, do it under an alias. I’m absolutely convinced I’ve learned more about myself by writing here than I ever did sitting in a therapist’s office. Occasionally, I cringe when I read something I wrote long ago. Often I tear up. Sometimes I feel very, very exposed. And it’s all good. I’ve grown as a human in so many ways by telling my stories. Having an audience of real people has given me more valuable feedback than those therapists could ever provide.
I believe everyone should tell their story. In the grand scheme of things, it’s all we have to give.
Thank you for your time.