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?
My 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?