I don’t think people truly understand why I write. How can they, when I’m not always sure of the reason myself.
I never wanted to be a writer. There were many things I’ve wanted to be:
- Surface Warfare Officer
- Forensic Accountant
All of these careers were–at one time or another–a passionate dream within me. These lofty goals drove me to be my best. Unfortunately, they often got the best of me.
But writing? That one never made it anywhere near the list. Maybe that’s a good thing. Since my aspirations have a tendency to ultimately become my downfall, it’s better that this remains a hobby.
I’ve had people tell me a variety of things about my writing. And my life, for that matter.
Mostly, they say that I’m lucky. Which floors me. Lucky? I’m sitting in 12-step meetings because I’m lucky? Signing myself into treatment for the gazillionth time because I’m lucky? Seriously? You call this luck?
I can think of one situation in particular. A young woman was confiding in me after a meeting. She spoke of her struggles and the life-changing decisions that she was now faced with. I shared with her my own experiences and she shook her head. She told me we were different. Told me that I’m lucky my life crumbled in the spotlight. That I didn’t have to hide my struggle because people saw it firsthand. It was justified. Understandable. Accepted as a cruel twist in the plot that was my life. She called that luck.
I don’t know whether or not she’s right. There is some truth to her statement. She made an undeniable observation. One that caused me to think. For months now I’ve been thinking. Turning her words over in my mind. In my heart.
They say that secrets keep you sick. My life fell apart in such a way that there really were no secrets. No hiding the destruction. And maybe that was a gift. With nothing to hide, I was able to heal. But there’s always something to hide. Even in the spotlight there are costumes, masks, and makeup. I’m certainly guilty of trying to act my way through life’s great tragedies. Yet still, she had a point.
With my luck comes a responsibility. My struggle is accepted by many. At times it is even respected. Yet there are many who hide their struggles. They are ashamed and embarrassed. They feel their struggle is not justified. That there is no satisfactory evidence for the legitimacy of their struggle. They think they don’t deserve support. They feel unworthy of help. Of healing. Of freedom from their struggle.
I don’t care what your struggle is. Wether it involves drugs, alcohol, food, pornography, perfectionism, codependency, grief, or any other form of oppression. Your struggle is real. It is valid. It is unique and sad and hard. Man, is it hard.
You might not see the luck in your struggle. And that’s ok. But at the end of the day, you have 2 choices: give up or fight. I challenge you to fight.
I’m currently running a Teespring campaign. I’ve designed a shirt that can be purchased in 3 variations: short-sleeved (grey for $15), long-sleeved (black for $18), and a hoodie (hot pink for $25). The shirt was inspired by the countless people I’ve encountered who’ve decided to fight in the midst of their struggle. People like you.
I’m hoping the luck that has allowed me to reach people through my writing will help bring awareness to a worthy cause. That it’s ok to struggle. That mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. That you are justified and accepted in your struggle. And that you have the power to fight.
The profit line is small on this campaign. Half of the funds raised will be donated to organizations that provide healing environments for those who struggle with life-controlling issues. The other half will be put toward the development of this website so that more individuals can come to know that they are not alone in their struggle.
I encourage you to become part of a movement. Visit www.teespring.com/reali and order your shirt today! The shirts will be printed and delivered in time for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 22-28, 2015), but know that they were not designed solely for this event. The shirt is representative of both my struggle and yours.
Thank you for your support of this cause!