Sabbath morning. I lay in bed wanting more sleep as it eludes me. I’m in “a place”. That is the best description I can give it. “A place” is where I am contemplative, emotional, and in a struggle. I am not afraid in this “place”, I’ve been here before.
My phone pipity-pops a text message. Reluctantly I pick it up. The black words written on the gray bubble say something like, “it’s too much, she’s writing my story.” Reading a memoir the person on the other end of the text is overwhelmed with validation as each paragraph unfolds. A sense of peace and connection, a knowing that “I am not alone”. These two share the bond of common experience, even though they do not know each other personally, have never spoken face to face. They know each other’s bruised and broken heart.
My memory takes me back 30 years, it’s Christmas Eve. We have three little girls in the house this year. Elizabeth, my sister, and Melissa who are both 5 or 6, and Kira, my neice, who is about 2 or 3. Melissa is my neice’s sister. No blood relation to us, except through Kira and she and Elizabeth, being the same age, are good friends.
It’s dark outside and all the girls are bathed and clean, wrapped in their warm pajamas. The tree is all twinkly with presents bursting out underneath. The gifts get passed out. Elizabeth and Kira get a gift, as does Melissa. More gifts are passed and received. Melissa gets one maybe two more, but Elizabeth and Kira get more and more and more. As this happens Melissa in her sweet childlike tone says, “what about me?” She repeats it over and over, “what about me”, “what about me”. It’s not a harsh, foot-stomping demand. Her voice is quiet and sadness punctuates each word. “Do you not see me?” “Am I not important?” “Don’t I matter too?”
Those words echo in the darkness of my “place”. While I’m grateful my friend finds validation and connection in the story being told. I lay on my stomach in my bed with my head buried under my pillow saying, “but what about me?”
I feel so alone right now. And in that aloneness I’ve been hiding. Actually, I have been hiding for a long time, so long I can’t remember when I started. Maybe, just maybe if I heard or read my story in someone else I’d be less scared to come out of hiding. It reminds me of the old 70s song, “strumming my face with his fingers, singing my life with his words. Killing me softly with his song, killing me softly, with his words, telling my whole life with his song, killing me softly…with his song.
If someone, out there, was singing my song, my story…I could come out from whatever it is I’m hiding behind because I know I would not be alone. Someone else would know and feel it too, and understand. The song is not of a slow death, it is a releasing the chains of isolation and hiding.
The thought occurs to me, why does someone else have to be the author writing a story I can relate to? Writing for me so I can come out of hiding because I can identify with their experience and emotions. What if I, yes me, what if I came out from behind the curtain, stepped toward the desk, grabbed the paper and pen and wrote my own story.. My story in My voice.
Glennon Doyle Melton calls us Truth Tellers. I am going to tell my truth, in my story, using my voice. I’m hoping that in the telling I will empower myself to quit hiding and to come out in the light and be seen as I am. And while i’m telling my story for me, because I need to, perhaps as a bonus someone out there can find solace and comfort in my words and not feel so alone.