I had two very different responses to my blog yesterday. Before talking about them, I'd like to explain how the post came to be written. I got up, had a good morning, got on the bus, the driver was wonderful, the ride was going quickly, we turned a corner and WHAM!! Out of no where came this flood of words, memories overwhelmed me of the times, mostly while young, that I was brutally bullied - the words that were spat out at me - the bruises left on my body - the names, the taunts, the purposeful cruelty. It all came back, I couldn't stem the flow. When I arrived at work I felt beaten, exhausted and ill prepared to face the rest of, what was to be, a very busy day.
I decided I'd write the experience out. It came to me that I'm not alone. That there were others, riding on different buses having the same experience. That there were people vastly different from me who were hearing words that aren't far enough away in time to echo. I wanted to write this experience as my way of saying, "Me, too. It happens to me too." Sometimes I want to feel normal when something happens that makes me feel abnormal.
The first reaction was one that came in an email suggesting to me that I really need to have better boundaries in what I share on the blog. The writer suggested that I looked both pathetic and attention seeking in how I presented myself and the bus ride. They were saying this, they said, because they thought that someone needed to tell me the truth.
I still haven't replied.
The second reaction was a conversation I had with someone who'd read the blog and we sat and shared about these experiences. If nothing else came from what I wrote, I'm glad of this conversation. I needed it. I'm not sure if he did, but I did. It was amazingly supportive to speak honestly about the gruelling and sometimes punishing nature of what it is to be different - or seen as different. After we talked I simply felt better. Less alone. Here I thought I'd shared this so others wouldn't feel alone when assailed by voices that visit with vengeance. But it was me who needed to feel less alone.
I know that some find some of my writing too personal and question why I share as much as I do. I get that. I understand but, remind myself that this is my blog. It's where I record my life, it's where I seek community, it's where I feel a responsibility to be authentic and real. To that end, I chose to write what I wrote - knowing that I was letting people into a very private and very painful moment.
My hope is, always, that what I write matters, and that the words connect with others who share similar moments in different lives.
Community happens when just one other person says, "me too."
I found community yesterday.
And for that, I give thanks.