One privilege, I know I have, is that I have never had a problem talking about my life. Not really. If the void was open to answers, I have been rather prone to peeling back the curtain and letting everyone who wanted to see what was going on inside of me.
I like the void. I find it comforting. It’s always harder to tell your story when you have a smaller audience. You start concentrating on that one person’s reaction rather than the story as you know it. It can muddy things.
True to my title, I suppose, I’ve always played better to a crowd.
I “overshare” as some people say.
It’s not for everyone. Not everyone feels safe to do it–in truth, not everyone IS safe to do it–I’m fighting for that to change, but we have to be honest at the current predicament of the world. My own country is staring down a Neo-Nazi regime… And there will be those, rightfully so, too scared to tell their story, no matter how much the world needs to hear it. Knowing each other’s stories is how we kill fear–it’s how we grow empathy.
We connect the dots.
It’s why I tell stories. Some are mine to tell, some are borrowing my voice so they can be told.
There are many reasons, I feel, that it’s important for me to try to be as genuine with you as I can about my own personal story and who I am. But I think the one that I keep at the forefront of my mind is that there is a tendency in our society to shy away from trying. Apathy. For ourselves, for the world, for our neighbors.
Nearly half of America’s eligible voters didn’t vote. That level of apathy astonishes me. So much at stake. So many people dependent on the outcome.
This is not isolated to politics, we see a general abhorrence for caring even in our casual day to day. We call people desperate when we see them “trying too hard”. “Try hard” is an actual insult thrown around in gaming. You’re not allowed to want things that much–it somehow makes you pathetic.
“Don’t let them see you sweat.”
It’s as if our mere existence is expected to be without strain or struggle. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s just a grander scale version of speaking a placative “I’m fine” rather than admitting how you’re genuinely feeling upon being asked how you’re doing. Keep it clean, keep it effortless.
But it’s not. Of course, it’s not. Sometimes getting out of bed isn’t even effortless. Smiling, in point of fact, has been a choice that I have made since I was very small. It’s far easier now to see the good things, to find kernels of happiness in the darkness. But it’s never been effortless.
Writing, creating, filming, loving, sharing–living.
Is. Not. Effortless.
There are days, if I’m being perfectly honest with you, in which I feel I’m literally straining to exist. Stretching my arms out in order to continue persisting.
Some days it’s a little easier, others its exhausting. And I say this as someone who is, by all accounts, perfectly healthy. I can’t imagine how that struggle would multiply if I were also battling mental illness or physical disability or chronic pain. Yet I have seen amazing artists create such beautiful things through all of that.
So it’s important for me that you know, even as a healthy human being, that I’m not a one woman army. I want you to know how many times I’ve needed to ask for help. I want you to know how many times I’ve stumbled or just completely collapsed.
Because I want you to know it’s okay the next time you need to do the same. You can put all your might into something. You can want something so much you think you might burst. You can fail.
You’re not weak.
You’re not alone.
So please try. Care “too much.” Fight. Go for the thing you’re terrified you won’t get. Just TRY.
It’s never effortless.