I recently started following Humans of New York on Facebook, and even though it’s been a relatively short length of time, reading pieces of other people’s lives has been an enlightening and very human experience. We like to tell ourselves that we’re aware that there are people out there who are vastly different from ourselves, and we might even have trained ourselves to allow for considering them in our own thoughts, but to see a snapshot of someone else – their pain, their struggles, their purpose, the things that make them smile or twitch – creates a vivid picture of humanity. I can only imagine what an experience it is for the people being interviewed – sometimes they talk about things that you know they’ve kept to themselves for a long time, probably because their friends and family are tired of hearing about it, or they know no one is going to be able to understand.

I’ve often wondered what I would tell a stranger, if I were approached and asked to talk about myself. It’s kind of a tipping point, mentally: do you share things that are so unique to you that everyone else walking their own path will never be able to relate, or do you cocoon yourself in the protective silence that we’ve all learned to use?

20160308_104635editedMy husband and I lost our daughter in April of 2014. There were complications with the birth, and I almost died too, and I’ve been really broken since. I haven’t gone back to work, and I’ve lost practically every friend from before, and to make it all worse, I’m practically infertile now, so I can’t even get to my rainbow. But my garden was gorgeous last year, and I’ve been writing a lot. I’m working on a novel. Well, several. I’m okay being by myself; the further into my grief journey I go, the more I find other people wanting me to act happy and be like I was before. Wearing that mask is exhausting and strains my trust of others. So I just don’t go anywhere.

I tried not to think too much about what I wanted to say; I just followed the thought train through and typed it out. What would yours look like?


5 thoughts on “Self-Evaluation

  1. I followed Humans of New York on Tumblr for a while, and the stories are so interesting and yes, sometimes heartbreaking. But that’s life, and if the stories help others to understand and listen to their fellow humans more, than it’s definitely a good thing. Such a good idea for a blog post.

  2. Pingback: The Thursday Three #22 | Maggie Madly Writing

  3. *hugs* I can’t even imagine your struggle or some of the other struggles that I’ve heard people go through. But then again, many people probably couldn’t imagine going through some of the things I’ve been through. I think most of us have some unique struggles. And in some ways, it’s good to share so that people have a better understanding. In answer to your question about whether or not I cocoon myself when people ask about me, my answer is yes and no. I don’t volunteer the sad things unless the conversation leads that way. I try to be positive when I tell people about myself. Sometimes it is exhausting to wear that mask, but grief is also exhausting. And sometimes wearing that mask is the only way to keep from falling into an abyss.

    • One of the things I’ve been telling myself a lot lately is that it’s okay (and healthy) to not focus on just one part of myself, and that it’s okay to let something other than the grief be dominant when talking to other people. But you’re very right, each journey is unique and personal. The best we can do is be gentle, kind and supportive to each other. ❤

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