By Melina Lynne • July 07, 2016
I had been in an abusive relationship. Admitting it to myself had its own difficulties, not to mention opening up to my family and friends. Now I had the crazy idea of writing it all down and sharing it with the world. Well, I won’t get too carried away... It wasn’t the world, but all my friends on Facebook and anyone who happened to stumble across my online blog.
That was just over a year ago, and I look back on it now and consider it the scariest, but best, thing I have ever done. I had hoped, if nothing else, that I would feel free from the dark secret that had held me down for so long, but I got so much more. I could never have imagined the positive that could come out of such a circumstance, the strength I could give someone else, and the strength I would feel—just by being honest and laying it all out there.
Telling our story is never an easy thing because it is always filled with bumps, curves, intersections, caution signs, and four-way stops. For some, it is just about sharing the facts of what happened. For others, it’s more about sharing the insight and wisdom gained. Regardless of how it is approached, storytelling of this kind can have a huge impact on humanity.Imagine if you gave someone else the strength to face some of their biggest fears by sharing how you overcame yours.
Imagine if just one person would feel less alone if you shared your history of mental illness. Or imagine if you gave someone else the strength to face some of their biggest fears by sharing how you overcame yours. It may not seem like a big deal, putting pen to paper (or these days fingers to keyboard), but for someone else it can and will make all the difference in the world.
I remember the first memoir that I read that really hit me hard: Lucky by Alice Sebold. The facts of the story are horrible to read—a young girl dealing with the aftermath of her rape—but the story it told of her humanity was so beautiful, and so touching, that I have never forgotten it. Her courage became a beacon for me when I was fighting my own battle.
Many people have had the courage to share their stories with the world, stories of hope, courage, wisdom, thankfulness, expression, learning, and acceptance. The process is never an easy one. I am sure authors such as Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle), Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), and Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie) will tell you that many a word was pounded out on the keyboard with thoughts of embarrassment and vulnerability in the forefront of their minds. Questions like, “Do I really want to share this?” and “Will it matter?” bounce around their heads like pinballs in a machine. But they kept pushing forward, and now their stories sit on the bookshelves of readers like you. Readers who have, hopefully, learned something about the resilience of humanity, that you are not alone, and that you too will make it through to the other side, hopefully with a few laughs along the way.
So keep reading, and don’t forget that you are the reason these authors wrote it all down in the first place. These books are a reminder that stories are not always here purely for entertainment’s sake, although that is the reason most of us turn to them. Sometimes, they have something important to share with us: a journey of rediscovery (Eat, Pray, Love), a reminder to stop and reconsider our priorities (Tuesdays with Morrie), or the thought that we can find reasons to be thankful in difficult times (The Glass Castle). Sometimes, it can be just what we need to hear, exactly when we don’t know we need to hear it. So keep reading, and don’t forget that you are the reason these authors wrote it all down in the first place.
What about you? What authors have helped you feel less alone or get through difficult times by sharing their own stories? Has opening up to others in writing helped you get through your own experiences? We’d love to hear your thoughts.